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Friday, March 1, 2013

Manga Review: Tegami Bachi GN 12

Tegami Bachi volume 12
Author: Hiroyuki Asada
Viz Media
200 pages
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the Tegami Bachi series so far. Read on with caution!
As the ferocious Gaichuu Cabernet closes in on the capital of Amberground, the Letter Bees form an army to stop it. Lag is paired off with a novice Bee who informs him that he’s become a legend in the Beehive. But Lag’s reputation as the “Child of Light” won’t do him much good against the terrifying power of Cabernet…or the dark secret he’s discovered about his hero, Gauche Suede. (Source: Goodreads)
To say I adore Tegami Bachi would be quite an understatement. To see why I adore Tegami Bachi, just look at volumes like this one, volume twelve in a still ongoing series. The plot is really chugging away in this one, as the hunt for Cabernet goes into full attack mode, putting Amberground on high alert against the flying Gaichuu. As everyone is put on the offense, poor Lag Seeing is still reeling from the revelation about Gauche - but has little time to resolve his feelings as he is sent to the front lines with a fellow Letter Bee in an attempt to cut off Cabernet from the city. Yay, action!

If you like shockers, this is a book full of 'em. Everyone seems to have a secret up their sleeve, whether they be Beehive or Reverse. Largo, ex-Beehive Director? Yep, he's got one. Gauche? Well, duh. Even Signal, gatekeeper at the Bifrost Bridge, has something going on. It seems like nothing is what it seems in Tegami Bachi these days. The only bad thing - kind of! - about all of these twists is that none of them are resolved. Which is actually good, because that's just another bundle of things to look forward to, especially with the mysterious Largo and his own motivations for being . . . well, Largo.
This is a good volume for Lag Seeing fans (i.e. myself). He's still the loveable crybaby that declared to become a Letter Bee, but I think Gauche's revelation as well as his interactions during the Cabernet debacle is leading to a maturation in his character. He's still confused, but he's just now realizing that his position in the Beehive isn't as simple as he thought. "Child of Light"? Even he doesn't understand what that means - yet.
I really loved new character Lily Confort, the Letter Bee sent with Lag to confront Cabernet. She reminds me a bit of Lag himself, earlier in the series - high spirited, noble intentions, determined to be a great Letter Bee and do the job proud. She's also super cute and super stylish, so I really hope she becomes a series regular. This series needs more lady Letter Bees! Speaking of Letter Bees, it was nice to see Connor again, as he has become one of my favorite characters of the series.
A lot of this volume is spent on the fight against Cabernet, which is a little annoying at times, but Hiroyuki Asada does a good job at balancing fight scenes with those that actually explore the characters' depths. There is a good use of shindan powers to reveal things about Lily that wouldn't be normally explored in other scenes, such as her inner hopes and dreams. Plus, it's always nice to see the Beehive in action - and not just delivering parcels, but showing why they are so important in Amberground. Letter Bees aren't just mail carriers; they protect the people's hearts as well as deliver them, no matter what.
Overall, it's been a great series so far - and it looks to go only up from here. I have high hopes that Lag and Niche will discover the secrets of Reverse as well as the mysterious figures in their own organization. What is Reverse's game? What about Largo? What are Beehive's true intentions? Only future books know for sure (and volume thirteen is not until May)!