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Tegami Bachi Vol. #18 Manga Review

3 min read

Tegami Bachi Volume 18 Coverthe end days

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Hiroyuki Asada
Translation: JN Productions

What They Say
Lag is reunited with his former boss, Largo Lloyd, now one of the leaders of the insurrection against the Amberground government. With Largo’s help, Lag uncovers long-hidden secrets about his strange birth, the cryptic memories collected from children born on the Day of the Flicker, and the nature of Amberground itself. Meanwhile, Lag’s partner Chico faces her own dark past…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The volume opens up with quite a scene, as we quickly find Largo addressing the people in Blue Notes Blues. It’s a strong scene, and one that helps further the point that the government’s experiments have been seriously messed up, as well as of course giving some significant depth to Largo’s past. The real shock comes, though, when there’s another Flicker! Largo then actually pulls the Bees aside and reveals his plan to them, telling them that it’s time to gather and use up the hearts of the people, funneled through the Head Bee, to take out Spiritus once and for all!

Of course, Lag isn’t up for a plan that works out to mass murder, so he storms off. Fortunately, he gains a new hope when his search leads him to a new place known as Shiretoku. Inside this unusual coiled rock our hero finds… a horde of Steaks! It’s certainly odd, but it plays great off of the cute/ugly look of the creatures, creating some great gags in the middle of an otherwise serious volume. Probably more importantly, though, a living Spirit Insect appears before our heroes and reacts with Lag’s eye! This leads to some more hype on how bad the awakening of Spiritus would be, but it also gives Lag a new hope, prompting him to decide to stay behind.

We then get a little more depth, adding a “danger” in that Lag may lose his human form while training, but it’s all honestly a tad flat and is pretty much just setup. Fortunately, things pick up again as we get a nice and touching look at everyone trying to deal with Lag’s departure. It’s then that the surprising star story of the volume pops up, as we get a look at Chico’s past. By using her to give the researchers a human side it helps to increase the complexity and tragedy of the situation, and it’s a really powerful bit when you finally see things break down as Chico’s forced to escape. We then get some stuff about the Maka being dead which… honestly doesn’t really amount to anything of interest just yet, though it seems obvious that it’ll play an important role later.

Finally, in a real surprise, we skip ahead a whole year before rejoining the story! It’s a real shock considering the situation was already dire and the story has certainly felt like it’s been approaching its endgame. And yet it works well, allowing the tension to grow even greater and, of course, giving Lag a chance to show off and look cool, having developed significantly in the meantime.

In Summary
There’s definitely a lot going on in this volume, which fortunately makes for a pretty exciting read. Things really feel like they’re approaching the end as stakes have been raised very high, and the book certainly captures the feel of not only the heroes, but the whole world being pushed to edge. We also get some nice character moments for Largo and especially Chico, with the story of her past absolutely stealing the volume. Add in a surprisingly fun bit of comedy, a few twists and turns, and a real surprise near the end, and you get a great volume that does a good job of setting up as we approach the finale.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
MSRP: $9.99