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Twin Spica, Volume: 01 Paperback – May 4, 2010
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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)
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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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Top Customer Reviews
And then I'll come across a series (or standalone manga) that reminds me of why I fell in the love this particular storytelling art form.
"Twin Spica" is one of those series.
Writer/artist Kou Yaginuma's story of a 13 year old with aspirations to go to the stars seems simple enough. But set against this dream is a tragic accident that is part of her history that makes the dream more complex than it seems.
Asumi, the 13 year old heroine, has secretly taken the exam to go to the Tokyo Space School. Her only confidante in this undertaking is her semi-imaginary friend, Mr Lion. She has not told her single parent father of what she has done.
Even in this little scenario (her father finding out what Asumi has done), the reasons for her actions and her father's actions do not look as they seem at first. This theme permeates throughout this first volume and that's the beauty of it. Yaginuma recognizes that the most dreams and aspirations come from a place that is both simple and complex.
As the story unfolds, Asumi goes to Tokyo to participate in what seems to be an initial test for suitability to the school. Again, what seems straightforward becomes more layered.
All in all, this is a wonderful start to an intriguing new series and I look forward to more volumes of this series.
I also enjoyed how it interwove real historic events with imagined future events, along with lovely interpretations of the afterlife. The conflicts portrayed with the main character's parents and friends at school feel very real and relatable. I found myself surprisingly touched by the end of this volume, and I really look forward to reading the rest of the series. It's the sort of book I wish I had as a child, and I will definitely share this with my little relatives.
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.
Trust me, you will want to read volume 2 and on! This has become my favorite series.