Astro learns the truth about his past, but will it shake his convictions?
Art/Story: Kouhei Horikoshi
What they say:
Spunky slum kid Astro gets the chance of a lifetime to end the chaos ripping apart his alien-invaded home planet when the playboy prince switches places with him. Now Astro has become Prince Barrage, a boy charged with the duty of restoring peace to the planet… and given an all-powerful magical spear to do it!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Chapter 14 “Crooked Sorrows” & Chapter 15 “All Around Showdown”
How do you close up what was most likely going to be a very long series in just a matter of chapters? Barrage is going to try to give some sort of closure in a very brief span of time, starting with explaining Black’s backstory.
It turns out Black used to work for the King, and is the one responsible for swapping out Astro for a fake prince Barrage. Yes, Astro is the real prince, and the other was just a fake made from dark energy. Wow, those dark energy powers were really powerful, no wonder Black was the end boss! Astro is having a hard time believing all of this, but it explains why Black was keeping his eye on Astro and what Black’s ideals were at the time. He had wanted to save Astro from a life of confrontation and war.
It doesn’t do a very good job explaining why Black went from wanting to end all of the wars to wanting to annihilate everyone. He writes it off as saying he watched everyone become corrupt and not worth saving, ignoring the obvious hypocrisy in that statement.
While Astro dangles in Black’s grasp, Tiamat remains pinned on the ground below and is about to be stomped when Tiko arrives with her space whale. This is what is ultimately disappointing about this series ending, because watching Tiko and Tiamat team up to take out Tadpole is immensely satisfying, and these two could have made a great pair.
Astro makes his decision to stop Black, even if he is family, but against such a powerful force it doesn’t look like he’d stand a chance. However, Tiko’s move against tadpole inspires Tiamat to pull the same stunt against Black, to very mixed results.
The next chapter is the final one, and we shall see what the end results of Astro’s struggle will be and who survives this confrontation.
Release Notes: This VizManga.com edition of Barrage is a part of the Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, as viewed through Viz’s online reader.
There’s some good action is these two chapters of Barrage, and the author manages to keep the exposition dumping to a minimum while tying up the narrative. We even get the arrival of the space whale and a few clever tactics mixed in with the action. There’s only one chapter left, and I’ll be sad to see this series go.
Grade: B +