Yomi no Tsugai

09 August 2023
Hiromu Arakawa, former author of Fullmetal Alchemist, returns with a new story that draws on the best of the mangaka without lacking of originality.
Summer is back again and as always, in preparation for the long-awaited holidays, we have to choose the readings to be taken under the umbrella. This year Panini Comics has decided to help in the selection by proposing the Italian edition of Yomi no Tsugai right at the end of July, the new work by Hiromu Arakawa, author of the masterpiece Full Metal Alchemist and other important works such as The Legend of Arslan and Silver Spoon.
The story revolves around Yuru, a young boy who lives by hunting on the edge of a medieval-style mountain village and has a twin sister named Asa, locked up in some kind of prison. One day a group of armed men suddenly attacks the village arriving aboard helicopters, defined as "dragons" by the inhabitants, in search of the boy. The commando is led by a girl who claims to be Yuru's real sister and is able to use strange powers. Yuru manages to escape with the help of Dera, a foreigner who often visits the village, and two creatures called Tsugai who will help him discover the truth behind what happened.
Having a work by Arakawa by hands has now become an assurance in terms of the solidity of the story, the characters and the events, and Yomi no Tsugai makes no difference. Since the first volume you can see many of the characteristic elements of her stories including the excellent fusion between moments of action and comedy. The author herself, right from the cover flap, makes no secret that this story stems from a series of ideas left behind over the years (and I wish that she still has many notes to draw on).
The pages flow away quickly thanks to an excellent balance that mixes action, mystery and introduces the characters who will be the cornerstone of the events between protagonists and antagonists.
If we want to find a small flaw, it can only be in the physical characteristics of the various characters among which we find all the classic elements of the author who are mixed up (two-tone hair, facial features, beard and cut). After so many years we could have expected something original, however Arakawa's stroke is always clean and essential, a fundamental element for the fluidity of reading.
The characters themselves appear to immediately have a rather defined characterization, also in this case according to patterns already seen, but which help to immediately become familiar with them, a bit as if they already knew each other, without however creating disturbance or feelings of déjà- vu but resulting in lightening the reading.
One of the elements that I consider most curious for the continuation of the series is the real-life elements that will be combined with the fantasy part. The protagonist who arrives from an invisible village scattered in the mountains will find himself catapulted into the everyday life of a real Japanese city, a location not typical of Arakawa's stories and one of the newest elements compared to the past from which the author can draw for the continuation of the adventure.
In Japan, its serialization began in December 2021 in the monthly magazine Monthly Shonen Gangan of Square Enix, to date 4 volumes have been released - the last one last June – which set the series literally on fly.
Those who were passionate about Arakawa's previous works will certainly find a worthy successor while those who appreciate the most classic mainstream shonen with a robust dose of action, mysteries and comedy will find all the elements for a good read.

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