Tegami Bachi 7

April 11, 2012

Hiroyuki Asada – Viz – 2011 – 13+ volumes

I had all but given up on this series. The artwork is really great (which is something I almost never comment on, so take my word for it that this series has some unique art), but the stories about heartfelt letters that Lag Seeing has to protect and carry… they were just too cheesy, and weren’t all that touching after they’d been repeated over and over again. When not even Gauche Suede’s re-appearance managed to get me excited again, I threw in the towel. Tegami Bachi just wasn’t for me.

But I tried one more volume, and I wound up liking this one. Go figure. It’s more plot and character-focused than the one-shot chapters usually are. Lag and Niche wind up in the town where Niche was born, and we find out both the legend surrounding the Children of Maka, and the real story behind them. We also get to meet Niche’s sister, and she talks about the gigantic insects, the insects encased in amber, Lag’s eye, and what Lag may or may not be. There are still only hints about Lag, but we do find out everything there is to know about Niche.

This one was less sentimental than usual, which might be why I liked it. I thought the approach to telling two sides of the same story was very interesting, and it also served its purpose of turning the townspeople against the Children of Maka and turning the Children of Maka against the townspeople. Unfortunately, it’s easy to hate Niche’s sister, and her motivations for acting seem to be based on… instinct, rather than emotion. It’s an interesting contrast to the rest of the characters, who are driven on almost nothing but emotion.

There’s a little bit of action, which always looks great in this series. Bonus points for being an action scene between Niche and her sister. The character designs and battle methods are more interesting than simply firing a gun, and the art makes them look even more spectacular.

I’m not sure if this volume redeemed the series for me, exactly, but it did get me interested in Lag’s origins once again. While I’ve more or less lost interest in the quest to save Gauche’s heart, I do want to find out more about Lag. There was also a separation between Lag and Niche at the end of this volume. It’s implied to be a brief separation (she simply needs to recover from injuries), so maybe it’ll just be one chapter she sits out. But there are lots of places a dingo-less Lag story could go, so I also wonder if maybe she’ll sit out a little longer.

Better, much better than the usual volumes lately. I’m interested again, and may grow fond of it if more volumes advance the plot rather than deal with the sentimental letters. Then again, the latter is kind of the theme of the series, so I’m probably just reading it for the wrong reasons. Still… I can hope. I’ve got two more volumes to try out and see if it continues to my liking.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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