Tegami Bachi 5

November 10, 2011

Hiroyuki Asada – Viz – 2011 – 13+ volumes

While I still love the art in this series, I find that I’m less enamored of the story with every volume. And that I wasn’t impressed this time around is a bad sign, because Gauche Suede reappears, something that we’ve been looking forward to since volume two.

It’s a little too sappy for my tastes. At the beginning of this volume, Lag is still helping the rogue town defeat their monster, but of course a monster defeat only means a sentimental flashback for at least one of the characters, in this case the side characters that had pretended to be “the man who could not become spirit.” After this, Lag runs into Gauche, but it does not go as he imagined, and he runs back to the Letter Bee home base, heartbroken. He cries for awhile, and this drives Niche and Steak away. Niche is upset that she let Lag get hurt in Honey Waters, and thinks she needs to leave him because she can’t cheer him up and there’s a better dingo out there for him. This leads us to a side story about a family that falls in love with Niche, and this story is full of all sorts of feel-good moments.

Lag is so sad, in fact, that they have to throw a party to cheer him up and remind him that he’s not the reason Gauche is the way he is. Gauche’s sister has to console him. This is not the kind of main character I can root for. Lag is too much of a crybaby. This series is trying so hard to pull my heartstrings, and it just isn’t working. It’s too obvious. You can’t be sad and weepy all the time. It worked at first, since Lag needed something sad to inspire him to become a Letter Bee, and yes, even Gauche disappearing is within the realms of believable sadness for me. But Gauche coming back like this? The fact that a sad story goes along with every letter? Every monster slaying? That this volume consisted of nothing but sad stories and consolation?

It breaks my heart that the story is so weak, because the premise is still wonderful, the setting is amazingly detailed, and the art is worth seeing. I’ve got… two more volumes of this series yet to read before I’m caught up to the current English releases. If it hasn’t turned around by then… I’m sorry, Lag Seeing. You’re just not enough of a manly man for my taste.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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