TEGAMI BACHI Vol.1 Hiroyuki Asada’s Steampunk Series Review
Reported by PK Eiselt - 10:04 AM on September 16, 2009
TEGAMI BACHI Vol.1
Hiroyuki Asada’s Steampunk series Tegami Bachi first appeared in the pages of Monthly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan and is now being brought to Western readers by VIZ Media’s SHONEN JUMP.
This unique story blends visually captivating motifs, an inventive mix of antique and futuristic technology, with the adventures of a boy who runs deliveries across a strange fantasy world.
Tegami Bachi stands for “Letter Bees” a brave corps of messengers, who risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected. Amberground is a world covered in darkness, with only a single man-made star to cast light over the land (and even then, primarily only for the rich).
The story begins when a young and determined Letterbee, Gauche comes across his new assignment; deliver a package to one of the far outlands of Amberground. In order to succeed, Gauche must brave the unending night, treacherous terrain and terrifying Gaichuu--colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The catch is that this package is actually a young boy, by the name of Lagg Seeing.
As the two make their way across the land they form a cautious bond as their determination and drive are tested to its limits. Survival and a safe delivery will only be achieved by working together.
Asada’s style is deceptively simple, what seems straight forward and even stagy at first develops a rhythm. By the end of the first chapter the reader knows just enough about the characters to be fully vested in their fate while still leaving plenty of mystery and intrigue to make the world compelling.
Asada’s artwork is striking and visually impressive. His use of deep blacks and lush line work create mood as well as intricate detail when necessary.
Although the prose takes a little bit of getting used to (I suspect this has as much to do with the translation as it does with Mr. Asada’s style) the reader is soon captivated by the challenges that the heroes face. Near the end of Volume 1 the book dips dangerously close to over the top melodrama but even as the tears flow (and they do) they feel earned. I never felt cheated or manipulated. The tone of the story is suitable for young readers but still has enough depth to keep older readers interested.
Volume 1 collects chapter’s 1 and 2 of the saga, and I for one am looking forward to future chapters.
Tagami Bachi is published by: VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the North American debut of the new steampunk/action manga series TEGAMI BACHI: LETTER BEE on September 1st. The series, rated ‘T’ for Teens, will be published under the company’s SHONEN JUMP imprint and will carry an MSRP of $7.99 U.S. / $9.50 CAN.
TEGAMI BACHI © 2006 by Hiroyuki Asada/SHUEISHA Inc.
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