Reborn! Vol. #07 (

By:Ben Leary
Review Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Akira Amano
Translated by:JN Productions
Adapted by:JN Productions

What They Say
Tsuna is targeted for assassination, so a weapons tuner for the Vongola Family arrives to upgrade Reborn's arsenal. This winds up creating a fair amount of chaos, but it's summer and Tsuna soon finds other distractions -- learning to swim, taking part in a summer poetry contest, racing into the ocean to rescue a girl in distress, and defying a ghost bent on taking him to the "other side"!

The Review
One of the pleasures of reviewing (there are not many) is that it often surprises you with books that you ordinarily wouldn't have given the time of day to. Reborn! is a good example of this. When I first heard of Reborn! I did a bit of checking into it, as is my habit, and found nothing that attracted me to the series. It sounded like a weird, violent, toddler mafia action series - and the goo-goo character art, plentiful weapons and Shonen Jump Advanced 16+ rating all seemed to support that. But then I actually got the book in my hands and read it. It was then that the unexpected happened. I laughed. Frequently.

For it turns out that Reborn! isn't violent at all. It's simply an episodic comedy series, and a very good one, at that. In fact, outside of Gon, this is the best single volume of episodic comedy I've read since Sgt. Frog. Come to think of it, this series reminds me of Sgt. Frog in several ways. The mafia (and by the way, it is the mafia, not the yakuza) has almost the same function as the aliens and miscellaneous sci-fi elements in Sgt Frog: it's all just raw material for the jokes. Many of the plots are dependent on the cute, practically SD characters who would probably be mascots in another series. Everybody is cartoonishly nutso - the hero and the love interest supply the normality needed to throw everyone else into relief. And Reborn! has the same sunny all-in-fun outlook. Even the psycho would-be killing machines usually turn out to be nice guys once they have a few chapters to settle down.

I can't think of a way to describe Reborn! without making it sound gimmicky, because gimmicky is just what it is. But it succeeds because the gimmicks are used very, very well. A lot of the stories are going to come down to Reborn shooting Tsuna with one of his special bullets - a "fighting" bullet to help him take on a bully, a "spring" bullet to make him survive a fall, etc. - but watching it happen is such a blast you still look forward to it even when you see it coming.

This volume of Reborn! is expertly realized comedy, and one of the best purely entertaining comics I've read in a long time. I haven't heard much about this series, but if the rest of the volumes are as good as this one, it could turn out to be one of the best gems in the Viz catalog. That and the low price make it well worth a look.

For those of you keeping up with such things, the one extra at the back is a Haru interview segment with Takeshi.

Note on the age rating: This seems to be another of Viz's mystery T+ series. There's really nothing much objectionable, unless you'd flip out over the idea of toddlers carrying guns. Despite trips to the swimming pool and the beach in this volume, there's no fan-service. Even the language is pretty clean.

Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 7.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1-4215-1664-6
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Faust Anthology