TegamiBachi Vol. #04 (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The search for Gauche leads to a run-in with an antigovernment faction.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Hiroyuki Asada

What They Say
Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu--colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

A Letter Full of Lies Lag, now a Letter Bee rookie, meets Dr. Thunderland, Jr. a peculiar man who collects and catalogs the various Amberground species. When the doctor takes a particular interest in Steak, Lag and Niche have to hustle to keep him off the doctor's dissection table! The ensuing chaos pays off for Lag when the doctor reveals that Gauche - Lag's missing hero - paid the doctor a visit before he disappeared.

The Review!
Having resolved to bring Gauche back to his sister, Lag gets his first lead from an unlikely source: the Beehive's doctor, Thunderland, Jr. Incidentally, Dr. Thunderland, Jr. is the son of Dr. Thunderland from the manga's post-story reference notes, and Thunderland, Jr.’s character definitely fits in the tradition of the mad scientist. But like many characters in Tegami Bachi, there's more to him than his "Corpse Doctor" reputation, and through him, we get another flashback of Gauche, who continues to remain a vital part of the story despite not having reappeared since he delivered Lag as a letter.

At Thunderland, Jr.'s behest, Lag goes in search of a strange person that Gauche encountered just before he disappeared: The Man Who Could Not Become Spirit. His investigation takes him and Connor to a settlement held by an antigovernment organization, and things immediately get dicey for our Letter Bees. Apparently, Amberground is not without pockets of dissent, where conspiracy theories about the Gaichuu and distrust of anything related to the government, Letter Bees included, abound. While Lag's personal mission is to find Gauche, he's getting glimpses of the darker side of the government, adding an element of political unrest to our science fiction story.

In summary:

Lag's determined to find Gauche, but the search for his missing friend takes him into territory particularly hostile toward Letter Bees. Fighting Gaichuu is something Lag expects as part of his job, but with all the antigovernment sentiment he encounters, it looks like he'll be battling more than Gaichuu in his efforts to unravel the mystery behind Gauche's disappearance.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1421529521
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: TegamiBachi