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YALSA GGNT Top Eight Manga: World Trigger Volume 1-2

The Earth is being attacked by monsters from another dimension. Called “Neighbors,” they are powerful and have technology greater that Earth possesses. But just as hope seems lost, a mysterious group called Border appears and begins fighting off the Neighbors with their strange weapons, known as triggers, that gave them the ability to fight off and destroy the attacking Neighbors. Border agent trainee Osamu Mikumo meets Yuma Kuga, a transfer student from overseas, but it turns out he’s from a lot further away.

World Trigger 1 YALSA GGNT Top Eight Manga: World Trigger Volume 1-2
By Daisuke Ashihara
Viz Media, October 2014, ISBN: 978-1421577647, 978-1421577654
189 pgs., $9.99 USD

At the 2015 American Library Association Midwinter conventions, YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, announced their Great Graphic Novels for Teens list for 2015. The 79 titles selected covered both fiction and nonfiction, and eight of them were manga. The first two volumes of World Trigger were among them. This is a sci-fi action title about humanity’s attempt to fight off invaders from another dimension.

World Trigger follows Osamu Mikumo, a seemingly average junior high school student who has been keeping a secret from his classmates: He’s actually a member of Border, the organization that fights the Neighbors so the people of Mikado City can live normal lives. His life becomes anything but normal when transfer student Yuma Kuga joins his class, though. Yuma’s true identity as a Neighbor is revealed when he helps Osamu, but they are soon under suspicion by Border. They get a surprising ally in S-Rank Yuichi Jin, but despite that and all the help Yuma has provided, it isn’t enough to keep Border from wanting him dead.

Osamu and Yuma are co-leads that draw the reader in right from the start. Osamu is very much the straight man in this duo. He doesn’t want to cause trouble or get into any fights, and he keeps his identity as a Border agent a secret for reasons unknown as of yet. But he does want to help people. He stands up for Yuma when some troublemakers from their class try to bully him. He also breaks the rules of Border by using his trigger to help civilians and his fellow students when Neighbors attack outside the restricted zone. He is an “honest-to-a-fault hero type,” putting others’ welfare ahead of his own.

Yuma is more of an odd duck. He is a stranger in a strange land, knowing very little about Japan, and using the cover story of coming from “overseas” as his excuse. He has more of a happy-go-lucky attitude and is shown making a “duck face” most of the time. He seems to know when someone is lying, both to him or themselves, and will call them out on it. He also wants to help and is quick to want to jump into a battle, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to make things difficult for Osamu. He is accompanied by Replica, a “round black floaty thing” who acts as his chaperone, advising and assisting him. Yuma uses his knowledge and experience to help Border and protect people even if they don’t know it.

World Trigger 2I enjoyed World Trigger right from the start. The chemistry between Osamu and Yuma is great, and both characters are just as interesting together or apart. Yuma doesn’t have as wide a range of expressions as Osamu. He is usually either looking bemused or confused, which contrasts with Osamu’s expressions of determination, panic or fear. The supporting cast is good too. I really liked Jin Yuichi, an S-Class Border agent who has a special side effect that lets him see a few minutes into a person’s future. He has a carefree attitude and can be quite the flirt, but he is also smart enough to see Yuma as an asset instead of a threat. Others in Border, such as the leader, Kido Masamune, and Shuji Miwa, the leader of the Miwa unit, want all Neighbors killed, good or bad.

While there are Neighbor attacks in these two volumes, the biggest threat to Yuma and Osamu is Border. Masamune and Miwa’s hatred of the Neighbors blinds them to all the good Yuma can offer. While other leaders in Border are more interested in maintaining the peace and keeping the money flowing, it is Masamune and Miwa whose actions hinder more than help. But their hatred isn’t without cause. Both lost people close to them in Neighbor attacks, and now they can’t or won’t see past their personal tragedies that there might be good Neighbors.

Ashihara’s art is clean and smooth. The characters are distinct, in both looks and personality. The attacking Neighbors are insectoid in design, adding to their creepiness factor, and become more dangerous with each new skirmish. The rules of the world for both the Triggers and Neighbors are explained in these volumes, but it never feels like unnecessary exposition. Osamu and Yuma’s friendship grows organically. It feels real, with neither looking to use the other, which inspires those around them to stand by them and come to their aid.

World Trigger is a fun and engaging action series. Teens will be drawn in by the action, while the humor and characters will keep them interested. This series is a great addition to any teen or graphic novel collection.

Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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