At long last!
It took a while, but my copy of Twin Spica volume 7 finally found its way into my mailbox last week, almost two months after it hit the streets. Was it worth the wait?
Well… yes. Yes in the sense that Twin Spica isn’t a story where you could just pick up random volumes and be able to get into what is happening and enjoy it (lulz, Inu-Yasha). However, I did find it to be a weaker and less enjoyable volume than previous ones.
A lot of this has to do with the priorities of the volume. I honestly am not a big Marika fan. As the cold, quiet girl, she has an uphill battle to be interesting; there are just too many of this type out there. And her issue – she’s a clone! – was fairly obvious many chapters ago, so it isn’t much of a reveal when she fesses up. Yes, its nice to see that her friends simply don’t care, but did we really expect them to suddenly turn their noses up?
I also am not a big fan of the Marika storyline because, well, in such a down-to-earth manga, it sticks out. And, yes, I know, this is a story in which one girl sees a ghost in a lion suit and interacts with him frequently, but that element is approached in such a calm manner that it hardly requires a suspension of disbelief. However, Marika? Well, maybe her being a clone alone would’ve been permissible, but that she remembers things from her “mother’s” life is hard for me to swallow. And her “mother’s” tie-in with Mr. Lion’s own past is a little too convenient.
This volume also demonstrates the fact that Twin Spica thus far has one interesting protagonist, and many less well-developed ones. Asumi is a great heroine. It helps that she is a decently atypical one, a lifelong outcast with a nevertheless sunny outlook and a very strong sense of confidence and will. And its so refreshing to encounter a young, female protagonist who is so driven and has reaped the benefits of it. I say this with things like Kare Kano and Special A in mind, where the ultra-hardworking female lead just cannot manage to be as good as or best her male counterpart, which in a way are the worst of both worlds. But I also say this with the slew of works featuring underachieving female leads that have marched off the assembly line over the years. Isn’t it so nice to have an ambitious, smart, and dedicated young woman as our protagonist for once?
But if Asumi has been lovely thus far, everyone else is fairly hazy. Kei is absolutely in the worst shape, but Fuchuya and Shu are hardly much better. With Fuchuya, the greater degree of knowledge is borne largely from his having grown up with Asumi. Marika gets more development than the others, but she’s still far behind Asumi and still not nearly as engaging.
However, we aren’t even halfway through yet, so there is certainly time to explore these supporting characters more. Nevertheless, it is an item to keep in mind.
I’ve sounded very negative about this volume, but I did still enjoy it, and am eager to read volume eight (woo! three weeks!). I just don’t think it was as strong as previous volumes have been.
On another note, I noticed on the back cover that there was a blurb which basically implied that Twin Spica is a children’s manga. This was a bit odd to read, as I’ve never gotten that sense at all. It is a manga about children, but there’s this vague nostalgia tinge to it all which makes it seem more that an adult would enjoy it, not a child. Either way, it isn’t a manga that was written for children; it was published in a seinen magazine. Even without knowing this, though, the short bits at the end of anecdotes from the author’s life make it pretty clear that the intended reader is an adult.
I really like these after story bits. They make me feel rather nostalgic myself, as silly as that may sound coming from a twenty-two year old, even more absurdly when I truly consider what an unpleasant experience a good chunk of my adolescence was for me overall. But Yaginuma captures those often bittersweet moments we all experience with such grace that it seems as if he hits on all those exact things that I remember with a bit of a smile and a touch of a broken heart, if you’ll excuse me for being maudlin.
Having said all that, I feel myself longing to re-read the first six volumes. I’ll queue up the torrent for the anime and read while I wait. Will July 12th get here any sooner?