While a bit typical and familiar in some ways, I did find myself getting into the first two volumes of World Trigger. It had a fairly decent start and the story really started picking up and getting good as time went on. Let’s find out if volume 3 can keep it up:
World Trigger Vol. 3 (Viz Media)
Written & Drawn By: Daisuke Ashihara
Translated By: Lillian Olsen
Yuichi Jin has just been given a special assignment by the higher ups of Border Defense Agency to take Yuma’s Black Trigger, a very powerful type of weapon that would prove extremely useful in their war against the Neighbors. However, he turns down the assignment and decides to do things his own way, realizing how bad of an idea it would be to do that. Instead, he takes Yuma, our main hero Osamu Mikumo, and Chika Amatari back to the part of Border he works for, the Tamakoma Branch, for protection. However, the main branch isn’t simply going to let a Black Trigger escape their grasp… Plus, we learn the truth about Yuma’s past as well.
I feel as though I’m being stared at for some reason.
Like with Volume 2 of the series, there is definitely some improvement going on in this manga from Volume 1. Sure, the manga is still pretty much following your typical and familiar route that Shonen series do at this point in the game (like introducing mentor characters, involving a lot of concepts of trust and friendship, starting up a training arc where the characters are learning to get stronger and better, and setting the stage for a tournament arc as well), but that isn’t all that there is to this manga. At this point, the story does still feel like setup to a certain degree with all of the ideas that are being introduced and the new setting & characters introduced this time around. However, what really gave this particular volume a boost is Yuma’s backstory and diving more into the personalities of Border and their inner politics.
The continued growth and development of Border as an agency and the people within it really do help build up this world and its people more. We learn about the different factions that work with the agency, their mindsets and how they operate. This does help explain and add more context to the varying personalities and motivations we’ve seen from this organization, helping to flesh out and better define everyone. I especially like the rivalries between the factions and some of the subtle characterizations of some the agents that really says a lot about them. For example, the top team/elite squad leaders don’t appear until the last few chapters, but the way they are built up and the scenes they do have really paint a strong picture about who they are and how much of a force to be reckoned with they are. It’s surprisingly strong stuff and really helps this series out a lot.
The character work is getting better and better as time goes on, to varying degrees. By that, I mean that some characters get more development and focus than others. On the weak side of things, Osamu sadly doesn’t get to do much and gets less focus this time around. The time is often spent more on the supporting and side characters, which isn’t a bad thing mind you. Osamu is more of a character who watches from the sidelines for the majority of the issue, learning more about Yuma’s past and witnessing the politics involved in Border. He does get some focus towards the end when he starts training with one of the Tamakoma Branch members to get better and there some nice bits between him and Chika. Regardless, he’s not as front and center this time around.
Actually, it’s the same thing, but far more middlemen involved.
Our other main characters, on the other hand, did seem to undergo some improvements. Yuma is still a bit annoying as a character, still making his trademark expression and cutting into the seriousness of a scene while remaining a bit too overpowered to the point where he’s boring to watch in a fight scene (his only losses are always off screen and he never seems to struggle with anything besides riding a bike). However, this volume makes him more compelling of a character by revealing his backstory, his motivation, and what he is truly like. Without spoiling, it’s a bit shocking to say the least and puts him into a whole new light. Then there is Chika, who is starting to become more and more of the female lead in the book. She still feels incredibly down on herself and views herself as weak, but her determination and the conclusion she reaches during the middle of the book do help define her more. She’s still likeable, relatable, and easily the best female character introduced so far.
The rest of the cast are mostly good, with some exceptions. Some characters still get more time and focus than others while others sort of blend together (the two male members of the Tamakoma Branch are kind of interchangeable at this point). Plus, there are some characters that just fit bland character archetypes and don’t have much that define them (like the female agents in Tamakoma). However, there are still some exceptions that do stand out. Plus, Jin himself is starting to feel more developed and interesting as time goes on, like his confrontation and talk with the elite agents in the final chapter of this volume. There’s still more work to be done with the side characters, but at least no one is particularly awful or poorly written at this stage.
The writing on the book is also improving a bit as well. The storytelling and flow of the book are still strong, and the dialogue and exposition feel better this time around, standing out a bit more and helping to define the cast more and nothing that feels like it’s dragging on and on. The humor still remains mixed here to me, but it does know when to let a moment happen and let the audience feel the mood and emotion that’s happening. There aren’t as many sci-fi elements to this book as the previous volumes (the action and anything really science fiction related were confined to a flashback for the most part), so if you were expecting some more excitement this time around, then you may be disappointed by this. The pacing also feels a lot more balanced and not as fast as the previous two volumes. The book feels like it takes its time now to introduce and build to things a bit better outside of one or two points. Pretty solid overall I found.
The artwork is fine, but I’ve started to notice something with this series: The characters and their expression range. It’s not something that caught my attention at first, but became more obvious as the manga went on. The facial expressions and the range of them are pretty bad. It’s mostly because of the eyes of the characters, because they rarely ever seem to change. A character could be shocked or surprised due to the situation and while the rest of their face may change a bit to make them more freaked out, the eyes never do. They never get bigger or wider, there’s no subtle change with the pupils, etc. It often makes it look like the characters are bored or disinterested (basically, dull surprise) and this affects Chika and the others a lot. I really hope the artist improves upon in this in the future, because it does cut into some character’s bigger moments.
Your text balloon says you’re shocked, but your face says you’re half-interested in what you are seeing.
World Trigger Vol. 3 is an improvement upon the previous two volumes of the series. While there is still quite a bit of setup going on and there are weak areas, the improvements in the story, the development of some of its major characters, and the new directions and twists have presented a rather a fun, if typical Shonen style story. There’s still work to be done on it, but if you are looking for a new and familiar type of action manga or you want to get a younger reader into manga, I do recommend this series.
World Trigger is available on Amazon from Viz Media. The fourth volume of the series is set to be released on February 3rd, 2015, with the next volume coming out in April. A recent anime adaption of the series by Toei Animation is currently going right now and is currently being streamed online by Crunchyroll.