August 10th, 2014

Review: Twin Spica Vol. 1 by Kou Yaginuma

Twin Spica Vol. 1
by Kou Yaginuma

In the not-so-distant future, a young girl obsessed with the stars applies to join the first class of the Tokyo Space School. After passing the first round of tests, Asumi Kamogawa joins the rest of the applicants in a week-long test of her behavior when left in close quarters with two other girls near her age. Although naturally cheerful and easygoing, the stress of the exam triggers memories of the tragic death of Asumi’s mother, who died from injuries sustained when Japan’s first manned spacecraft crashed into a populated city only seconds after blast-off.

This is a really well-crafted story that finds that perfect balance between tugging on the heartstrings and sucking you in with charming, well-developed characters. Asumi is generally good-natured, but just quirky enough that you want to learn more about her. Early in the story, she is seen talking to a lion-suited figure that looks like a theme park mascot. Is it male or female, real or imaginary? The reader is left guessing.

The horror of the spaceship that crashed into a city, killing thousands, casts a shadow over much of the story while tying the flashbacks in with the main story of Asumi’s trials as she applies for the space program. The tragedy also allows a layer of the supernatural to infuse the story; in one of the flashback stories, a younger Asumi must draw her mother for a school assignment and cannot remember what she looked like, but when she falls into a river and nearly drowns the child wanders the underworld for a time, eventually encountering her mother one last time.

The artwork is simple, almost child-like at times, but infused with a warmth that invites you to keep reading. It is sweet without ever crossing over into saccharine territory, reflecting the comforting heart at the core of Twin Spica.

4 out of 5 stars

To read more about Twin Spica Vol. 1, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the in:
2013: Facing the Wave by Gretel Ehrlich
2012: Fashionista Piranha is on a break until August 14th...
2011: Guest Post: James Mace, author of “Soldier of Rome: The Legionary”
2010: The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland
2009: Discussion Question: Sleeping and Reading
2008: Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds by Tom Davisa>