Reborn! Vol. #12 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The tournament progresses, but can the Vongola champions dig themselves out of their hole?
Writer/Artist: Akira Amano
Translation: JN Productions
Adaptation: JN Productions
What They Say
The battle between the Varia assassins and Tsuna's "family" for the Vongola rings is on! Tsuna's intervention on Lambo's behalf has caused forfeiture of both their rings, so it's up to Gokudera to hold up the side. He gives it his all, but the Varia are proving themselves masters of not playing fair and appear to view the rules, such as they are, as applicable only to their opponents!
I can't say I was pleased when I discovered that a turn toward the serious had taken place, or when from that point Reborn! began to develop into a tournament fighter, complete with training intervals and fanciful fighting techniques. But so far it's working out better than I expected. Even though the tone has darkened to the point where I sometimes think I'm reading a different series, Reborn! hasn't forgotten who the characters are. It's those core personalities, and the way they measure up to the challenges they face, that have kept the story from feeling like something wholly other. The fights are more violent than I feel they should be, but they sure keep me turning the pages.
As you'll recall, the end of the last book left of with Tsuna just about to intervene to save the battered Lambo after his battle turns in his opponent's favour. There are consequences to Tsuna's actions. It's proof of his growth not only as a person but as the Vongola leader-in-training that he accepts them. He still needs Reborn's assurance that he's done the right thing, but once he gets it he has no regrets. Regardless of the outcome, he acted out of concern for his family, and that is an encouraging sign.
The next match of the tournament is Gokudera's turn at the plate. His fight is one of the best so far. This is largely because it feels like it has some serious planning behind it, as well as a pretty neat gimmick in the hurricane turbines strewn throughout the battlefield. Gokudera has to call on all of his training to match his opponent. And what's more, he's got to learn to think ahead of his opponent and come up with ways of countering his tactics. I never would have expected Gokudera's fight to be the one most dependent on strategy. I guess that means Reborn! isn't going to run out of surprises anytime soon.
I suspect that fans of Reborn will be divided on the series something like the way M*A*S*H fans are divided on that show. One group of fans will split the series into two phases: the time when the series was all comedy filler and the time when the series started to get serious about telling a story. Another group of fans will make the division differently. They'll call the two phases "when the series was funny, and when it wasnt." I can see something in both points of view; but in the end I have to say I like the early volumes better. Those were just more fun. On the other hand Reborn! is now a more exciting read. And the cliffhanger at the end of this volume promises plenty more excitement for next time.
For those of you keeping up with such things, the extras for this volume are some gag strips about the Varia 's summer vacation activites, and, naturally, another Haru-Haru interview segment, this time with Ryohei.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Home Tutor Hitman Reborn!