Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: WORLD TRIGGER Volume 1


CARTOONIST: Daisuke Ashihara
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
EDITOR: Hope Donovan
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7764-7; paperback (October 2014); Rated “T” for “Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

At the age of 27, Daisuke Ashihara's manga, Room 303, won second place in the 75th Osamu Tezuka Awards.  World Trigger is Ashihara's second manga to run in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump.

World Trigger is set in Mikado City.  One day, a gate to another world opens in Mikado City, and invincible monsters emerge from the gate.  They destroy much of the city and kill hundreds of citizens.  These monsters are called “Neighbors.”  An elite band of warriors, the Border Defense Agency or “Borders,” for short, co-opt Neighbor technology and now fight back against their incursions.  Osamu Mikumo, a 15-year-old high school student, is a Border trainee.

In World Trigger, Vol. 1 (Destroy thy Neighbor!, Chapter 1 to 7), Osamu meets the new student at his school.  He is a blond-haired, 15-year-old named Yuma Kuga.  Yuma is new to the ways of Japan, but he is feisty.  He is also a Neighbor.

The World Trigger manga is a typical shonen manga in that it has a boy hero.  It is atypical in that its boy hero is not really good at his chosen heroic profession.  A member of his organization's natural enemy is also his friend.  That new friend also covers for Osamu during an incident that makes Osamu look like a giant-killer, which he is not.

World Trigger Volume 1 is straight-forward and easy to follow.  Creator Daisuke Ashihara is clever in the many different ways in which he inserts back story, terminology, science, and technology that the readers need to know in order to understand World Trigger.  Lillian Olsen's breezy translation picks up on the story elements that readers need to know and also on the series' comic tone.

I like Ashihara's loose, slightly-unpolished art style and his clean compositions and storytelling.  This first volume is surprisingly and highly entertaining.  Is it fluke?  I hope not.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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