- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; Original ed. edition (September 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781421529134
- ISBN-13: 978-1421529134
- ASIN: 1421529130
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tegami Bachi, Letter Bee, Vol. 1: Letter and Letter Bee Paperback – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Gauche is a young mailman, a letter bee; accompanied by his dingo Roda, he make deliveries through a land of darkness with little travel between outposts. His first package is, unexpectedly, a young orphan boy who must be taken on a 10-day journey across wasteland inhabited by metallic insects. Together, they learn more about each other's motivation: Gauche works far from his sick sister to make money to heal her, while the boy, Lag, is trying to find out what happened to his mother. Gauche takes his missions seriously, knowing that his letters (whatever their form) are connections between people. They carry heart, the key motivator of the series. In the second story, five years later, Lag is following in Gauche's footsteps with a delivery that echoes his past, a girl with mysterious abilities. This adventure includes both exciting action and touching emotion. The simple premise is easy to grasp, but has potential for almost any kind of story as the series continues. The art has a detailed sense of world-building with distinctive character appearances. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Hiroyuki Asada made his debut in Monthly Shonen Jump in 1986. He’s best known for his basketball manga I’ll, which also ran in Shonen Jump. He’s a contributor to artist Range Murata’s quarterly manga anthology Robot. He’s also a member of Aquarius 3 with Shoji Tajima and Takeshi Obata. Tegami Bachi/Letter Bee is his most recent series.
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The story is very heartwarming and touching. Each story is filled with care and love that is not uncreative at all. Hiroyuki asada is a really great mangaka and don't judge this book by the cover. The art ic clean and at first may take a little getting use to but it is very unique and will grow on you. I at first was also wary because i'm pretty picky with books because of the art sometimes. Trust me, it will instantly become your one of your favorite series. In fact it's getting to be pretty popular and their is even an anime being made. I suggest you get your hands on this book now or you'll regret it. :D
A letter bee named Gauche Suede (and his faithul dingo) comes across a small boy in a burned-up house, soon after his mother has been stolen by mysterious strangers. Since the kid has a postal sticker stuck to his back, he officially counts as "a letter" and must be delivered to his destination -- his aunt's house in a far-off city.
As they travel through a star-studded wasteland, Lag begins to learn about the world of the letter bees -- the insectile gaichuu that attack them, their "heart" (or memory) shooting guns that are the only weapons that can take out the gaichuu, and their determination to take any letter to its destination. He and Gauche also start to bond, and learn one another's secrets and sorrows.
Skip ahead a few years: Lag is on his way to become a letter bee, despite his lack of a dingo. But then he stumbles across a strange little girl in a niche at a train station, with a sticker on her arm. Naming her Niche, Lag takes the reluctant girl to her destination (after jamming some baggy boxers on her), but discovers that she's a creature even stranger than he once thought -- even more so than he is.
"Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee" is not a manga for people who like nonstop one-on-one fights or high drama -- it's a gentle, quiet little story with plenty of heart and poignancy. And Asada's artwork makes it a lovely experience -- he fills out the story with starlit night skies, quaint little villages, childlike round-faced people, and shimmering eruptions of "heart" that light up the desolate landscape.
The only real problem with the first volume is that the first half is a bit confusing -- I initially thought that Gauche was going to be the protagonist and titular "letter bee," but it turned out to be Lag's journey instead. But Asada keeps things interesting and moving along at a nimble clip, with moments of humor (Niche in her baggy boxers) and action (attacks from the gaichuu). And he injects some distinctly fantastical elements to his protagonists, which ought to be interesting in the future.
Despite one odd aspect of himself, Lag seems very much a normal little boy -- he's haunted by the mysterious loss of his mother, and later shows great compassion and courage (much like his mentor Gauche). Niche is a murkier character, since her emotions and past are are strange as her magical body -- especially since she hardly ever changes expression. But she seems to be warming up to Lag.
"Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee Volume 1" is a bit confusing in its first half, but it's a charming, magical story interlaced with uplifting moments and sorrow.
In a land of perpetual night (called Amberground), there is no sun. The world is heated from something called Spirit Amber, which is a source of energy that is buried deep beneath the ground. Light (low as it is) seems to come from either the stars in the sky, or a small man-made sun that hovers above the capital, Akatskui (which is restricted only to the "elite" and those with a special Capital Crossing Pass).
An eighteen-year-old man named Gauche Suede, along with his dog, Roda, travel from place to place to deliver messages. This position is called a Letter Bee (basically, they are a postal service). Gauche comes across a town that has been burned down, and to his surprise he finds a package in the form of a young boy (named Lag Seeing). On their journey, both Gauche and Lag inadvertently (and in a strange way) exchange glimpses into each other's hearts. They form a bond, which five years later, brings Lag to go off on his own to become a Letter Bee himself.
However, that is not Lag's main goal. You see, the elite of Akatskui captured his mother, and now he seeks to find a way into the Capital. Gauche promised Lag that he would look into the issue, but there was no word from him over these past five years (after Lag was safely delivered to his aunt). Therefore, Lag goes out to have an interview to become a Letter Bee. In the process, he comes across a strange animal-like girl who he ends up helping, which causes him to miss his interview. But in doing so he gains one of the Letter Bee requirements, a "dingo" (a companion, usually a dog, that has a contract with the Letter Bee).
There is a lot I left out in the overview above, but I did not want to give away too many spoilers, even if I did, there is not enough room to list all that went into this story. One of my requirements for a great story is that it has to have heart. This has that and more. I was refreshed to find a manga with artwork in the elegant and clean style that I appreciate so much. But that's not all. I love the characters, and a story about a dark world without any sun? It can't get any better for a speculative fiction buff. I am thoroughly looking forward to reading the next one once it comes out.
Things to consider:
This is rated "Teen" from Viz Media, but honestly, I can see it being appropriate for younger. There is the typical action violence, but it is done without any gore, and there were no inappropriate nude or sexual scenes. The closest was where Lag sees that Nichi is a girl, but this was done in good taste. Now, I cannot say anything for the series as a whole (as they are not yet released in the US), but this one gets a preteen (tween) safety stamp from me.
James D. Maxon
Author of Traphis: A Wizard's Tale