Twin Spica Volume 11 is a manga I would personally recommend to readers who are 12 or 13 years of age and older.

Twin Spica Volume 11
Written by: Kou Yaginuma
Publisher: Media Factory
English Publisher: Vertical
Release Date: January 10, 2012

Volume 11 is the penultimate volume for Twin Spica, and a lot of change is happening. Not only are the characters undergoing changes due to their circumstances, but the tone of the series has also noticeably changed. In previous volumes, even when the characters were experiencing stress or drama, there was still an undercurrent of positivity running through the series. However, after the event that happens at the end of Volume 10, that undercurrent of positivity all but disappears. I believe this is due to both the event that happens at the end of Volume 10, as well as the fact that the characters know that the end of their time at the Space School may be drawing near if they aren’t selected to continue on to the final year of the program. In other words, reality is hitting these characters head-on. After my 14-year-old daughter read this volume, she commented to me that this was the most depressing volume of Twin Spica that she had read.

My daughter also made another observation: at this point in the series, you’re seeing less and less of Mr. Lion, the ghost of one of the astronauts that was killed when The Lion crashed. As I explained to her, this is more than likely symbolic of the fact that Asumi is growing up and needing to rely on Mr. Lion less and less.

I know I’m not talking too much about the plot for this particular volume, but it really would be difficult to do that without giving away major spoilers. However, what I will say is that Yaginuma was able to tell this portion of the story in a compelling way, and found the right balance of drama and humor to convey what the characters are going through during this particular plot point. Volume 11 also has an ending that’s an emotional equivalent of a kick in the gut, but this ending is also a cliffhanger. I really want to read Volume 12 so I can see not only how the story continues, but how the overall story will reach its conclusion.

There are two additional stories included in this volume, and they are both “Another Spica” stories. Both of these are about Kou Yaginuma, the author of Twin Spica. As far as I can tell, both of these stories are set during the time that he was writing Twin Spica, because there are direct references to the characters in the series, rather than seeing characters drawn into the story who happen to resemble the characters. The “Another Spica” stories that have appeared in the later volumes of Twin Spica have been better than the “Another Spica” stories from the earlier volumes in the series.

In some respects, I’m disappointed that the story of Twin Spica is almost over, because I’ve really been enjoying the series. However, from a storytelling perspective, I can tell that the series is at a point where it’s ready to wrap up. I can’t wait to get a hold of Volume 12 to see how Yaginuma brings his wonderful series to an end.

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