Review: Weekly Shonen Jump (August 18, 2014)

Weekly Shonen Jump is off this week in Japan, due to the Obon holidays. However, VIZ Media has released a bonus issue this week, which focuses on the Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee manga series. I’d already read the first volume of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee prior to reading this issue.

After the first few pages of the manga, a page has been added that explains the various terms that appear in the series. This is followed by an advertisement for the manga series, and then the manga story itself continues.

Tegami Bachi: Lettter Bee is set in AmberGround, a land of perpetual night that’s only partially illuminated by an artificial sun. The main character of the story is Lag Seeing, a boy we first meet after his mother was kidnapped and he was sent as a “delivery” to his aunt. A Letter Bee named Gauche Suede makes the delivery, and Lag idolizes him and wants to become a Letter Bee himself. Five years later, Lag leaves the village he’s lived in with his aunt to go through the interview process in order to become a Letter Bee.

Throughout the material that’s included in this issue, “heart” becomes a major theme. It heart that’s used to fight against giant insects called Gaichuu, and heart is mentioned several times when Gauche talks about sending letters. I should also point out that whenever the word “heart” appears in the text, it always appears in bold letters. Making that word be in bold every time it appears is a clue to the reader that heart will play an important role in the story.

Ultimately, what ends up being included in this issue is the vast majority of the first volume of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee. While I’d read this material before, it’d been a while since I last read it. This issue helped to refresh my memory of what I’d read previously. Just like when I read the first volume previously, reading this issue reignited the intrigue I felt after I first read this material a few years back. At some point, I really do need to try to read the other volumes of the series that have been released.

I also wanted to add that the art in Tegami Bachi, Letter Bee is very bright. Asada uses a lot of white and contrasts to make the art seem brighter than what you would normally expect to see in a manga. Because of this look, the art in this manga really stands out in comparison to most other manga out there.

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