Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Twin Spica Volume 4

By Kou Yaginuma. Released in Japan as "Futatsu no Spica" by Media Factory, serialized in the magazine Comic Flapper. Released in North America by Vertical.

This volume of Twin Spica, while still starring Asumi, does flare out a little more to show the others in the ensemble cast. Asumi's main role here is to once again find that things are not going to be as easy as 1-2-3, as we find that as physically powerful as she is, she has a weak left hand grip as a result of the accident with the spaceship. This, of course, is a problem when you are trying to maneuver through space. We also meet a young man from a different school, who not only despises the space school for unstated reasons (though it's suggested it's because the school gets tons of funding that people feel would be better spent elsewhere), but also reminds her of her middle school 'boyfriend' whose death we saw in the previous volume.

Of the other characters we see in depth, Mr. Lion was the one that most surprised me. Dead mentors generally don't get many opportunities to grow and change, but as Mr. Lion is thinking about who Marika reminds him of, he is reminded of a time right after he died, when he helps his estranged father on a long hike (and, as it turns out, it's the beginning to an even longer journey - this flashback is clearly meant to evoke Asumi and her mother in Volume 1). His father, of course, is heartbroken at his son's death, and even though he doesn't know who Mr. Lion is, he still pours his heart out. Having Mr. Lion as a regular in the series allows us to take a very interesting look at death and those left behind, which so far is one of the main themes of Twin Spica.

The other character we see more of here is Marika, and while we don't get a complete backstory, we do see a few things that show us there's a lot more going on here than just a lonely rich girl and her overprotective dad. The dad is back here, offering her medicine which she refuses to take. I'm trying not to spoil the revelations here, but clearly they point to something bigger than I was expecting, and intrigued to see how it gets handled. That said, Marika is still, at heart, a lonely rich girl, and the scene of her trying to ask Asumi if she wants to go to the New Year's temples is adorable.

After a short 6-page side story showing a young Fuchuya being told to watch over the middle-school Asumi, who has trouble making friends, we get what may be the first unrelated short story of the series, about a man and woman who dated years ago meeting in Tokyo as adults. Of course, it has themes of spaceflight as well, and I had briefly wondered if the hero was meant to be Mr. Lion at a younger age. Certainly the heroine looks a lot like I suspect Asumi will as an adult. As with most of Twin Spica, the story evokes bittersweet yet sentimental nostalgia.

This series is never going to be full of big gosh wow moments, but I doubt anyone reads it for that. It's a peaceful, understated look at spaceflight, with appealing characters and a good sense of pacing. While it may drown in its sentiment a bit much sometimes, honestly I wouldn't have it any other way.

No comments:

Post a Comment