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October 6, 2014

Bento Bako Weekly: World Trigger volumes 1-2

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Written by: Kristin
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worldtrigger1Title: World Trigger
Author: Daisuke Ashihara
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Volume: Volumes 1-2, $$9.99 each
Vintage: 2013 from Shueisha, October 2014 by Viz Media
Genre: Science fiction, action

One day, a mysterious gateway to another world opened in Mikado City. Enormous monsters, labeled Neighbors, emerged and destroyed everything nearby. The world’s technology couldn’t stand up to the advanced Neighbors, and everyone thought the entire city and its inhabitants would soon be destroyed. Then a group calling itself Border appeared, ready to combat the Neighbors with new technology. They built an enormous base in the middle of the city and a defensive system designed to corral opening gateways near the base and away from populated areas. Due to Border’s actions, the people living in Mikado feel safe and remain, and life goes on. Students even continue attending school, like Osamu Mikumo, a timid young man who is constantly picked on, and yet still stands up to protect those more helpless than himself. Including newly transferred classmate Yuma Kuga, who is immediately chosen by the school bullies as their new target. Unfortunately, the bullies drag Yuma (with Osamu following) into a Forbidden Zone, or an area specially designated for opening gateways. Predictably, a gate opens up right on top of them, and a massive Neighbor called a Bamster leaps through. To protect his classmates, Osamu rushes forward and activates his Trigger, an ability given to Border agents to help combat Neighbors. Osamu, however, is just a trainee, and his Trigger isn’t designed for real combat. Yuma quickly steps in and takes the Bamster down in one hit from his own Trigger. Yuma isn’t a Border agent, though. To Osamu’s shock, Yuma is actually a Neighbor. That’s very bad news, of course, but Osamu isn’t 100% convinced the boy is actually a dangerous enemy. Until he witnesses Yuma ineptly attempt to interact with the world around him, which is apparently much different than his own. Sensing that Yuma isn’t a bad person, Osamu decides to take him under his wing and teach him about his world. Remarkably, Yuma listens to and even respects Osamu, and is willing to comply with Osamu’s rules and morality. So when two incredibly touch Marmods come through a gate and attack Osamu’s school, Yuma again jumps to the rescue, but this time uses Osamu’s Trigger (Triggers leave signatures). When the battle is over, to protect Yuma’s true identity, Osamu is forced to take the credit for defending the school and defeated the Neighbors. Of course, as a mere trainee, Osamu isn’t allowed to active his Trigger outside of training drills, as A-Rank Border agent Ai Kitora points out. This means Osamu will have to report to headquarters for an official reprimand. Kitora intends to escort him, but along the way another Neighbor attacks, an Ilgar, designed to bombard from the air.

worldtrigger2That’s hardly the worst part. Osamu can’t get his own Trigger to work, but apart from that, as Kitora deals more damage to the Ilgar, it enters self-destruct mode and heads toward the closest, largest population area where it will act as a massive bomb. Per Osamu’s instructions, Yuma sticks close to Kitora, ready to jump in if things become more than she can handle. However, Osamu’s instructions also require that Yuma can’t reveal himself. Osamu takes to the streets to help civilians trapped under rubble while Yuma does his best to avoid detection from Kitora or Border while pulling the Ilgar away from its target. Finally at headquarters, Osamu faces his judgement. Masamune Kido, Border HQ Commander, is the type that strictly adheres to the rules, but Osamu insists he would continue to help those in trouble. The brass wants him fired, but another Border agent, Yuichi Jin, sticks up for him and insists he requires Osamu’s help to discover why gateways have been opening outside designated areas. A suspicious Kido sends Shuji Miwa and Yosuke Yoneya (Miwa Squad, A-Ranks) to spy on Osamu, but Jin interrupts them and sends them back to base. Meanwhile, Jin tracks down Osamu and Yuma, who has discovered RADs in the rubble of the recent Neighbor attacks. RADs are like beacons that gather Trion energy, which draws Neighbors to their location. Jin has no problem with Yuma’s true identity, and even convinces Osamu to take credit for Yuma’s actions so he can be promoted to a full fledged Border agent. As a full agent, Osamu will be able to protect those he cares about, like Chika Amatori, his tutor’s little sister who seems to draw Neighbors to her. Not only do Neighbors flock to Chika, she can also sense them coming, a curse and a blessing. A suddenly much stronger Osamu single-handedly takes out the Bander attacking her (with a tip from Replica), then requests Yuma’s help in identifying what draws Neighbors to the little girl. Just as they solve the mystery, Miwa Squad shows up to destroy Yuma. Even four against one Yuma prevails, then Jin appears to explain things – Yuma is the owner of a powerful Black Trigger. And Border wants it.

Generic. Dull. Those are the only two words I need to describe what I thought of World Trigger. Drew took a look at the first chapter some time ago, and he had a very different opinion. Frankly I’m insulted he included a comparison to YuYu Hakusho in there. This isn’t even close. The whole thing feels like something I’ve seen before. Either in UltimoBakuman.or Psyren. I wasn’t fond of any of those, either. Again, Drew didn’t seem to mind them, but we have very different tastes. I just wanted these volumes to be over, and I have no retaining interest in the story or its characters. Here’s your summary: Cliché kids fight giant monsters from another dimension. The end. It’s all kinds of predictable, and there’s nothing unique about the art or the characters or the writing. The monsters could be from anywhere. In fact, the only really unique looking thing is Replica, the small creature that accompanies Yuma. Parts of the creature can even split off to allow Yuma to use his power at a distance, or to communicate with someone. He’s blatant mascot material, but frankly I found him more interesting than anyone or anything else in both volumes. The only thing really nagging me is the sudden appearance of the Neighbors and the equally sudden appearance of Border, which leads me to believe Border may have something to do with the appearance of the Neighbors. And suddenly it’s a less psychotic Evangelion, but still not interesting enough for me to care. There’s far better series out there. I’ll stick to Blue Exorcist.


Review copies provided by Viz Media.


One Comment

  1. InfiniteSpeech

    You two definitely have different opinions about this one here! lol

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