Story/Art: Daisuke Ashihara
Translation: Lillian Olsen
What They Say
Destroy thy Neighbor! A gate to another dimension has burst open, and invincible monsters called Neighbors invade Earth. Upstanding Osamu always does the right thing, whether it means pitching in to save Earth after school or turning the other cheek to bullies. But when he meets a feisty humanoid Neighbor named Yuma, everything that he thinks is right is turned on its head. Can the two natural enemies ever become friends?
The cover here has a rather nice image of Yuma, a black cube hovering above his hand, with a fractured image of various characters behind him. The back cover has an image of Ai for some reason, as well as a synopsis. There are a number of profiles for characters both major and minor as well as the Neighbors interspersed throughout the book, which makes for a nice bonus. Text reads smoothly, honorifics aren’t used, sound effects are translated through stylized text, and paper quality feels solid.
With its smooth and confident lines, the art here manages to pop to a good degree. It’s nothing especially beautiful, but this is definitely a good looking book. Action in particular comes across very well, and emotions are displayed nicely as well. Character designs also don’t overlap too badly, even with the amount of characters in uniform, which is helpful. Backgrounds appear frequently and look solid. Not the prettiest book out there, but definitely one with a strong, well defined style to help set it apart, if only a bit.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mikado City, a town once devastated by the “Neighbors,” invaders from another dimension that appear from gates and wreak havoc. However, thanks to the presence of the defense organization Border, a group that uses the “trigger” technology of the Neighbors against them, people are still able to live in the city. The perfectly normal looking glasses-wielding student Osamu Mikumo is just one of the citizens of this town. The meek boy’s world starts to turn upside down, though, when the strange Yuma Kuga appears on the scene. Eventually his nature leads to a confrontation with some bullies in a Neighbor emergence zone, and Osamu tags along to try to help things towards a more peaceful conclusion. A Neighbor of course ends up appearing on the scene, at which point Osamu shockingly reveals himself as a member of Border and does his best to protect the others. However, he’s too weak, but fortunately Yuma steps in, proving to be a powerful trigger-wielder himself! In the aftermath, Yuma reveals that he’s not just new to Japan; he’s actually a Neighbor who came to the country on the advice of his dead father, who seems to have ties to Border!
From there on out, Osamu decides to keep Yuma’s secret while also working to teach him how to properly act in Japan. Though he’s still a bit off, he does make at least a little progress. However, much to Osamu’s surprise, two combat Neighbor enemies appear at the school. Even with Yuma’s warning that doing so will kill him, Osamu rushes to defend against them, and things go predictably poorly. Before his foes can deal the killing blow, Yuma swoops in, using Osamu’s trigger to avoid detection from Border, and is able to take them out.
In the aftermath, Osamu is forced to take the credit, much as he doesn’t want to do so. However, as he was too low of a rank for actual combat, this risks getting him in trouble with Border. This infraction is pointed out by Ai Kitora, an elite soldier with a definite stick up her butt. Will our heroes be able to keep up the charade, or will it fall apart now that they’ve caught the eyes of other Border agents?
This volume does a good job of setting up the series, carefully balancing out the necessary exposition with a healthy dose of action to keep things interesting. The world definitely shows potential, especially considering Yuma’s secret. There’s also definitely some things both our protagonists are hiding, giving them plenty of room to develop as characters. And of course the fights also show some intriguing potential as well. Perhaps the most fun element shown here, though, is the way we’re shown things from the perspective of the “weakling” of the duo, creating a rather unique dynamic. There’s definitely a lot of potential here, so hopefully the rest of the series will be able to live up to it. For now, though, this book makes for a nice introduction to an exciting new world.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Mdeia
Release Date: October 7th, 2014