TegamiBachi Vol. #02 - Mania.com

Manga Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1421529509
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: TegamiBachi

TegamiBachi Vol. #02

TegamiBachi Vol. #02 Manga Review

By Christopher Nadolski     April 13, 2010
Release Date: March 02, 2010

TegamiBachi Vol. #02
© Viz Media

Let's have a look at that heart, and I don't mean surgically.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Hiroyuki Asada
Translation: JN Productions
Adaptation: Rich Amtower

What They Say
Lag is close to becoming a Letter Bee! On the way to his final interview at the National Postal Service, he found a dingo: Niche, a feral young girl with shocking strength and hair made of golden swords. Now, as they approach the bridge to the middle-caste district, they stop to rest in Kyrie, a desperado town. They meet Nelli, a friendly young man who shows them to an inn. Nelli's so helpful that neither Lag nor Niche notice him steal Lag's Crossing Pass!

The Review

Lag Seeing is back on course to Yuusari for his Letter Bee interview, after a most fortunate detour which earned him a special place in the heart of Niche—now his Dingo. Together they arrive at the last town before the crossing into Yuusari—Kyrie, the forlorn "Dead End" town which serves as the backdrop for the drama about to unfold: Nelli, a native of Kyrie who harbors a secret vendetta against all Letter Bees has set her sights on Lag—especially his crossing pass! Her grudge seems rooted in a deep-seated misunderstanding about former Kyrie resident Jiggy Pepper. Several pages of tearful characters and expositional flashbacks convey the bitter scenario of resentful small-town folk (namely Nelli and little brother Nello) "left behind" by a rising star. 
After nabbing Lag's crossing pass on the streets of Kyrie during the chaos of a clumsily handled Letter Bee hate-riot, Nelli's aim is revealed: she's angrily hunting down Jiggy Pepper, intent on giving him a letter—the sealed (and presumed spiteful) last written words of the then dying little Nello. Nelli arrives at the crossing, but to no avail as she gets smoked out by the gatekeeper who cannot verify her identity. Lag and Niche, having caught up to Nelli, arrive just in time to witness the giant lizard gate-guardian rampaging around, sending Nelli flying and dislodging Nello's letter. Lag—that ever-faithful respecter of all letters—attempts to save it, and as his outstretched arm strains toward the letter, a fragment of his heart (magically converted into a bolt) or "shindan" launches out of his hand, collides with the letter and magically broadcasts its contents to all in range of the resultant explosion of visualized memories and emotions.
Nelli's misunderstanding is exposed as she finally sees the true feelings of Nello, apparently beholding the substance of the letter for the first time. Not the hateful rant she seemed to expect, it's instead a tender, well-wishing farewell from the dying boy to his idol. Thrilled with his newly discovered ability to reveal the true heart behind things, Lag next sets out to uncover Jiggy's intent, eventually firing another shindan at the town Church's bell—which was Jiggy's gift to Kyrie. Nelli again realizes her mistakes as she see's Jiggy's love for the people of Kyrie in this symbol which he hoped would inspire them and draw their eyes Heaven-words. Her heart now completely softened to the work of Letter Bees everywhere, Nelli sees Lag and Niche off over the crossing to Yuusari.
In the volume's final chapter, Lag begins his interview process alongside rival candidate (and jerk) Macky. The test to deliver an actual letter through Gaichuu—giant armor-clad insects—infested areas pushes Lag and Niche to their limits, as they struggle to overcome one particularly monstrous Gaichuu centipede. But with some resourceful team tactics, the two emerge triumphant, though in the end, the letter is mostly ruined. Arriving at the letter's destination, they learn that Macky has beaten them to the delivery. Another Letter Bee, the observer for the test, asks Lag to use his ability to determine the heart of Macky's letter which he does, revealing that the letter is a fake, thus making team Lag the only viable candidates for acceptance to the position of Letter Bee!
In Summary: 
What happens when you unveil the intent behind people's actions and get to the heart of a matter for all to see? Tegami Bachi Vol #02 continues to explore and ponder this question through many (and sometimes overdone) teary-eyed characters with themes of stony hearts softening in the light of poignant revelations. At times it can be an emotional rollercoaster, but it's also a heart-warming journey packed with fantastical concepts and imagery.


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