Story: Hiroyuki Asada
Art: Hiroyuki Asada
Translation/Adaptation: Rich Amtower
What They Say
With Lag out sick, Aria Link, second in command at the Beehive, takes over the job of delivering his letters. But even with Niche at her side, Aria finds that Amberground has become a dangerous place. Can she defend herself armed with nothing but a violin? Meanwhile, Lag’s illness takes a strange turn…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
What a wild ride Tegami Bachi has been on lately. We got to learn a little bit about Reverse’s intentions and the Beehive has been taken over by a couple of government stooges. In the last volume we saw the change in the beehive and Aria and Lag being ‘sentenced’ to work in the Dead Letters Office. While Lag’s adventure in that volume was quite nice and had a lot of heart (sorry, couldn’t resist), volume 10 is really where that development picks up steam.
After rapidly closing 50 Dead Letter cases, Lag has come down with an intense fever and is unable to continue. The new director, Garrard, however doesn’t intend to go lightly on him and Aria, demanding that 100 cases be closed by week’s end. In order to allow Lag to rest, Aria dons her Bee uniform once again to go in his stead. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for a moment like this for a long time. Aria has been a character that has interested me since her first introduction but one who hasn’t gotten any sort of real development so far. Her journey with Niche to deliver a single letter really opens this up and in a satisfying way. While we still aren’t’ given her whole story we are finally given enough of her personality to make her a real character, one that we can care about in upcoming events.
The real jewel of this volume however, is once Aria locates Mr. Hodai, the man to whom she must deliver the letter. What we are presented with is anger towards the government that we haven’t seen outside of Reverse and a little light shed on the mystery of the Artificial Sun. This is told via a flashback/story from Mr. Hodai about the airship crash that occurred during The Flicker. I really like it when the history of the world created in a series is provided, especially when it’s a clue to some sort of dark secret. Sure the overall concept of the idea is kind of cliché, but the execution of which the concept is delivered and content of the secret is what makes it worthwhile when done right. Tegami Bachi volume 10 does it right. Ever since the plot of Reverse was revealed and small hints were floating around, I’ve had my own theories as to the true aim and why that is Reverse’s goal. The slight revelation in this book prove me halfway correct. It’s that extra twist that is really interesting and has the potential to really open up this series. What could possibly be even more interesting is that the story Mr. Hodai tells makes a lot of sense regarding various characters but opens up the possibility of either more traitors or more truths. Man this gets me excited for the next volume!
Tegami Bachi seems to have a lot of ups and downs on a volume to volume basis. While we’ve had a large portion of ups in recent volumes this book cannot help but elevate ones expectations. The world has always been one of intrigue but resolute to just be that. Here we get some meat that helps start to piece things together in a way that makes it much more realized from the beginning. The artwork continues to be among the most gorgeous out there and this really helps entrance the reader into every development. Fans of the series will not be disappointed and prospective fans should take this as a sign that the series is worth getting into even if you’ve tried the first couple of volumes and just couldn’t get into it.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13_
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 7th, 2012