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Twin Spica, Volume: 01 Paperback – May 4, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While replete with giant robots, alien invasions, and incredibly creative mecha that fires the imagination, many Japanese sci-fi entries use their fantastic trappings as an accent to the fascinating and all-too-human protagonists of their narratives. This effort from Yaginuma (Asumi) utterly involves readers in the dreams and ambitions of young Asumi Kamogawa, and it's easy to see why the series was a smash hit in its native land. Thirteen-year-old Asumi lives in Japan in 2024 as the country's space program is resurrecting itself in the wake of a launch tragedy 10 years earlier, and Asumi aims to be among the first wave of young astronauts to take Japan into the stars. Raised by her construction worker father, Asumi is the apple of her dad's eye and he will do everything in his working-class power to make her dream of attending the Tokyo Space School come true. The relationship between father and daughter is very moving, and Asumi's interaction with her equally ambitious schoolmates is also compelling stuff. There's no action to speak of, instead each page contains more genuine emotion than an entire space fleet's worth of similarly themed stories. Opening with a strong introductory volume, this series shows great promise and bodes well for future installments. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

A Publishers Weekly Big Graphic Novels for 2010 selection!

"Twin Spica is told with an uncommonly graceful blend of optimism and melancholy. Artist Kou Yaginuma takes his sci-fi premise seriously, and he treats his characters with warmth and intelligence. Strongly recommended."--The Comics Reporter

"Twin Spica is a pleasantly unexpected tear-jerker that hits the nostalgia key for those of us of a certain age who wanted desperately to go to space camp, even after the Challenger explosion."--Erin Finnegan, Zero-Gravity Bride & Publishers Weekly

“[Yaginuma]’s work fuses Twin Spica with both a sense of childhood nostalgia as well as encouragement to venture beyond. Replace ‘space exploration’ with the goal of your choosing and you have the recipe for an inspiring parable of progress… It’s refreshingly divergent from the majority of the manga on shelves at the moment.”—Otaku USA

Twin Spica is grounded in realism, and takes slow, purposeful steps in laying out its story, illustrated in a classic style that avoids both outrageousness and cutesiness. Because the work is a natural charmer with a protagonist you care about deeply shortly after the outset, this first volume gets you hooked in no time; the remaining 15 can’t come out fast enough.” —Bookgasm

“Kou Yaginuma has created a fascinating alternate future for Japan, where tragedy becomes the foundation of both the protagonist’s story and her country’s entry into the space race… Asumi’s single-minded dedication to her childhood dream is admirable. As soon as I finished this book, I found myself already longing to read more.”—i ♥ manga!

“With art that would make Studio Ghibli proud, this story moved and impressed me. I look forward to more volumes from this series with anticipation. A+” —About Heroes

Twin Spica may be the book to really keep an eye on this year.” —Wednesday’s Haul
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Product Details

  • Series: Twin Spica (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934287849
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934287842
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James S. Taylor on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the early Twenty-First century a disastrous malfunction sends a Japanese space launch straight into the middle of Yuigahama city, leaving both burnt out wreckage and lives in its wake. Despite this, Asumi Kamogawa grows up there dreaming of piloting a rocket and journeying into space. As a teen, her childhood dreams will run into difficult realities: other potential astronauts with differing motives, the pressure of attending an academy where only a few will graduate, and the fact that a town that has suffered such a tragedy leaves scarred lives looking for revenge.

If I can emphasize one thing: do not let the covers fool you. Yes, they are a hard sell: they look sweet and like it is a series for children. Yes, there is a talking lion-man. Yes, I almost didn't buy it for those reasons, too. However, that would have been a big mistake. Despite the age of the main characters, it is not a childish manga any more than Miyazaki's anime, to which Spica has drawn comparisons, is merely for children. This is a book about hope and seeing dreams come to fruition, despite a context of pain and tragedy.

The first volume should have you hooked, but if you're not convinced by the end of the second, well, I worry about the state of your heart.
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This manga exceeds all expectations. The art is beautiful, the story is magical, and the dreams of a future "rocket driver" makes you believe in your own childhood dreams. You dont have to be interested in space to like this graphic novel, it is for all ages and up. Every moment is breath taking, and makes you want to keep reading. I know I had a de ja vu, reading about this sweet girl and her ability to achieve her dream despite "what people would expect of her." Sometimes you just have to believe to make it happen, if you want your dreams to be real. That is the main point the novel tries to relay.
Trust me, you will want to read volume 2 and on! This has become my favorite series.
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By zac on June 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
to sum up the story theres an unusual 13 year old girl who has an imaginary friend (or possibly a ghost) that she talks to and she trains and goes to astronaut school. i liked it and bought the next 2 volumes
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Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

I think you could say I read my fair share of manga, and as time goes by I'm reading more and more; it has become one of my reading passions. I don't think I've ever been this enthused about a first volume since I've been reading manga. Absolutely brilliant! First off we have an utter realistic science fiction story, set in 2024, about a 13yo girl, Asumi, who wants to be an astronaut and takes the exams to enter space training school. Her mother died shortly after she was born when Japan's first ever completely Japanese made fully-manned rocket was unsuccessfully launched and crashed into a city causing many deaths. This rocket was named The Lion, which becomes a theme carried on in the story. Now Asumi and everyone who passed the space school entrance exams have been taken to the school and put under a 7 day confined space test in groups of three. What happens is an amazingly well-written science-fiction story.

While the present story is going on, we also learn much about her character and back story through frequent flashbacks to her childhood. It is at this point that an edge of fantasy, or perhaps magical realism is added to the plot, as Asumi had an invisible friend growing up called Lion, who looked like a man with a lion mask on. Now whether he was imaginary or a ghost from the past is something that is explored and though it sounds strange becomes integrated seamlessly into the story.

Asumi has been characterized with insightful skill, the reader gets inside her head and learns what makes this girl tick, what she feels and how determined she is.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
In the not-so-distant future, a young girl obsessed with the stars applies to join the first class of the Tokyo Space School. After passing the first round of tests, Asumi Kamogawa joins the rest of the applicants in a week-long test of her behavior when left in close quarters with two other girls near her age. Although naturally cheerful and easygoing, the stress of the exam triggers memories of the tragic death of Asumi’s mother, who died from injuries sustained when Japan’s first manned spacecraft crashed into a populated city only seconds after blast-off.

This is a really well-crafted story that finds that perfect balance between tugging on the heartstrings and sucking you in with charming, well-developed characters. Asumi is generally good-natured, but just quirky enough that you want to learn more about her. Early in the story, she is seen talking to a lion-suited figure that looks like a theme park mascot. Is it male or female, real or imaginary? The reader is left guessing.

The horror of the spaceship that crashed into a city, killing thousands, casts a shadow over much of the story while tying the flashbacks in with the main story of Asumi’s trials as she applies for the space program. The tragedy also allows a layer of the supernatural to infuse the story; in one of the flashback stories, a younger Asumi must draw her mother for a school assignment and cannot remember what she looked like, but when she falls into a river and nearly drowns the child wanders the underworld for a time, eventually encountering her mother one last time.

The artwork is simple, almost child-like at times, but infused with a warmth that invites you to keep reading. It is sweet without ever crossing over into saccharine territory, reflecting the comforting heart at the core of Twin Spica.
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