It’s time for another fun volume of World Trigger this month folks. The series continues to improve and grow with each passing volume, which I do appreciate. Let’s take a look at the fifth volume, shall we?
World Trigger Vol. 5 (Viz Media)
Written & Drawn By: Daisuke Ashihara
Translated By: Lillian Olsen
Osamu Mikumo has just been challenged by Rank-A Border Agent Soya Kazama, who wants to duel to see just how tough this new candidate from Tamakoma (who is also Jin’s Junior) really is. This will be difficult, especially for an agent that is nowhere as tough or strong as Kazama. Can he prove himself? Meanwhile, something big is brewing and coming soon. Something that has all of Border worrying.
This is yet another solid showing for the series. It primarily focuses on setup, such as introducing a brand new character, continuing to develop existing ones, and also setting the stage for the first, real major arc for the series (which will be in the next volume). It’s a bit slow at points, since there is quite a bit of talking towards the end and the pacing takes its time, but you know what? Regardless of everything, this was still a very strong setup with great developments and characterization. It should definitely get people interested and even excited given the cliffhanger at the end of the volume (such a nasty tease).
Story wise, the volume begins right away with following up on Kazama’s challenge and this entire scene acts as character-development for Osamu. We get to see a preview of how much his training paid off and how far he has come with his Trion skills. We even get a tiny bit with Kazama himself, seeing how his mind works and why he is such a tough agent. Ultimately, that’s the theme for this volume: Development. The development of its characters and the development of this world our story takes place in. Besides these characters, we finally get a chance at learning more about the Neighbors themselves, how their worlds work, what kind of nations there are, and more. Maybe not a whole lot, but enough to give us an idea of what kind of force our characters will have to deal with.
Since we are talking about it, let’s look at the characters. Osamu had a lot more growth in this volume than in the previous two. We get to see his intelligence, learning capabilities, and his tactical mind in action with him fighting against Kazama. It really shows that while he may not have the strength, Trion-levels, or even the agility of other agents, he can still be a formidable agent who is truly capable at his job. It really feels like the writer is setting him up to be a big factor in the next storyline, given what we’ve seen here and what Jin says later in the volume, so stay tuned for that.
Then we have our other central characters, Yuma and Chika. Chika doesn’t get as much time to shine in the volume as the other two, but we see some minor development with her making a new friend in the book. It may not seem like much, but it shows that she is opening up more to other people since it’s most likely she has been closing herself off a bit to others after her best friend and older brother were kidnapped. With Yuma, we get to see him standing up for Osamu and actually going toe-to-toe with another A-ranked agent. Nothing major here, but seeing this character actually grow more likeable and develop stronger bonds with his friends feels like a good step in the right direction for a character who’s been a bit of a jerk at points and kind of annoying.
As for the others, outside of two or three people, this volume wasn’t heavy on the character development for the supporting cast. That’s not really too much of a problem, since last volume had a bigger focus on them. The people who do see some growth are Midorikawa, Izuho, Miwa, and Kazama. Midorikawa is introduced in this volume and at first, he seems like a jerk who wants to push Osamu around to show who’s stronger. But we do see a bit more to him when he gets over that, coming across as a decent individual and huge fan of Jin. Izuho, the other newbie sniper, is slowly developing into Chika’s friend over time here, growing from a character who was originally poking fun of her. Miwa and Kazama didn’t have as much development, but enough to see where their mindset is and where they are at currently. Besides them, there were small bits of character here and there for others, but nothing too major.
The writing in overall is solid and well handled. The story structure and pacing are all good, making for an easy to read and follow book that never feels all that slow even during moments that should be slow given their nature. The dialogue is solid through and even when the book gets exposition heavy, it never feels unnatural or annoying to read. You are invested in what they are saying and honestly want to know more about what they are talking about. The tone is much more relaxed in this book, since it was tenser last time with all of the fighting (though in the next volume, I see that changing quickly). All in all, there’s really not much new to say about the writing other than it is continuing to improve.
The artwork is also solid. Like last time, the line work and layouts are pretty good. The action flows nicely from panel to panel, and there are some great moments where it looks pretty impressive or intense as a whole. The manga has nice bits of humor that are really pretty funny with how they are set up here and depicted, like with Yuma striking poses as he defeats three guys in a roll, each in one single hit. Again, the biggest problem always lies with the faces though. It’s actually not as bad as previous volumes, but the facial range still feels pretty limited on a lot of the cast members due to how Daisuke Ashihara draws eyes and mouths on people. It does cut into the emotional and more dramatic bits, but there weren’t as many this time, so it’s not as noticeable.
World Trigger Vol. 5, as a whole, is a volume that pretty much acts as setup for a big storyline coming next time, introducing new characters and concepts, developing the story, and more. That being said, it’s still a really darn good volume due to how good the execution is, how the writing and characters turn out, and the solid artwork. This may not be the biggest or most exciting volume of the series, but just stick around. You are not going to want to miss what happens next.
World Trigger is available from Viz Media. The sixth volume is schedule for release in July for some reason, which is disappointing. An anime adaption of the series made by Toei Animation is currently running and available for streaming via Crunchyroll. The anime is set to have about fifty episodes in total, so it should be interesting to see how this all plays out.