Twin Spica: Volume One Paperback – 21 Oct 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If I can emphasize one thing: do not let the covers fool you. Yes, they are a hard sell: they look sweet and like it is a series for children. Yes, there is a talking lion-man. Yes, I almost didn't buy it for those reasons, too. However, that would have been a big mistake. Despite the age of the main characters, it is not a childish manga any more than Miyazaki's anime, to which Spica has drawn comparisons, is merely for children. This is a book about hope and seeing dreams come to fruition, despite a context of pain and tragedy.
The first volume should have you hooked, but if you're not convinced by the end of the second, well, I worry about the state of your heart.
Trust me, you will want to read volume 2 and on! This has become my favorite series.
I think you could say I read my fair share of manga, and as time goes by I'm reading more and more; it has become one of my reading passions. I don't think I've ever been this enthused about a first volume since I've been reading manga. Absolutely brilliant! First off we have an utter realistic science fiction story, set in 2024, about a 13yo girl, Asumi, who wants to be an astronaut and takes the exams to enter space training school. Her mother died shortly after she was born when Japan's first ever completely Japanese made fully-manned rocket was unsuccessfully launched and crashed into a city causing many deaths. This rocket was named The Lion, which becomes a theme carried on in the story. Now Asumi and everyone who passed the space school entrance exams have been taken to the school and put under a 7 day confined space test in groups of three. What happens is an amazingly well-written science-fiction story.
While the present story is going on, we also learn much about her character and back story through frequent flashbacks to her childhood. It is at this point that an edge of fantasy, or perhaps magical realism is added to the plot, as Asumi had an invisible friend growing up called Lion, who looked like a man with a lion mask on. Now whether he was imaginary or a ghost from the past is something that is explored and though it sounds strange becomes integrated seamlessly into the story.
Asumi has been characterized with insightful skill, the reader gets inside her head and learns what makes this girl tick, what she feels and how determined she is. Asumi is also a nice person, regardless of who she meets up with she manages to let her own true character prevail through others often heated discord. This volume ends with the final selection of those who passed the test (which was very intense) and will make up the space program class.
Following this we get the *bonus material* which includes the original short story that was the inspiration for this series. Then Yaginuma followed the story up with a mini-series about Asumi's childhood, which follows next. That mini-series was such a success that he followed it up with this sensational series we are finally able to read in English. But that's not it! To finish up the book Yaginuma gives us one more extra short story about Asumi. The first four books are out and I plan on buying them, 5-10 are planned to be released in 2011 and the final 11-16 in 2012. This is a definite must read for me!
Twin Spica is a good read for teens and young adults alike. I started reading it when I was 25 years old, and I could easily identify with the characters my age and some of the younger ones. Adult readers will especially appreciate the story's mature themes and serious approach to the space training program. Plus, the artwork is very pretty and has a strong resemblance to Studio Ghibli's artwork. An Illustration Book for Twin Spica was released in 2006, featuring new images and colored pages from the manga.
It's a shame that this beautiful series went out of print so quickly. I rushed to collect all 12 volumes after discovering it on an anime blog this year. Amazon Kindle really saved this series by making it accessible to everyone at a low cost; however, it's still worth it to collect the paperback volumes. It's just that good! If you take your time, then you will find good deals online and at anime conventions.
I highly recommend Twin Spica to fans of Studio Ghibli and Space Brothers.