Manga Review: Arata: The Legend Volume 22

Originlly written for WatchPlayRead.com

Arata: The Legend Volume 22 tells the story of two boys named Arata who come from two different worlds-one from modern day Japan, the other from Amawakuni. The two boys switch places and are mistaken for the other and the modern day Arata finds himself being framed for murder.

Arata: The Legend Volume 22
Written by: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 9, 2015

Volume 22 sees Arata trying desperately to find someone who can save Kotoha’s life after he was the one who accidentally injured her. His friends find someone who can help, but she’s currently trying to heal the people in a village being attacked by Ameeno, one of the Six Sho. The healer they have found has to make a tough decision, which leads to a touching storyline that involves Kotoha.

Arata gets to witness a major battle between Ameeno and Ikisu, another one of the Six Sho. It’s during this battle that Arata realizes that he had become a kind of demon when he was with Kadowaki in Volume 21. Arata was already shown feeling guilty over injuring Kotoha, and now he must also grapple with his behavior and actions when he stood up to Kadowaki. Arata: The Legend Volume 22 spends a considerable amount of time focusing on Arata and his reactions to what’s going on around him, which ultimately leads to some character growth for him.

The battle between Ameeno and Ikisu is very action packed until the winner of the fight is determined. But the end of this battle also reveals a major secret for Nasake, the Zokusho for Ameeno. Let’s just say that I didn’t see this secret coming, so it caught me by complete surprise.

After Kotoha is well enough to travel, Arata and the others take an airship belonging to one of the Six Sho in order to continue their travels. But Kannagi wanders around and gets into something he shouldn’t, which causes everyone who comes into his location to switch genders.

Ah, the switched gender storyline. While this may not be as common as other tropes that appear in manga, it has still become a trope in its own right. But for this storyline, having Arata being the opposite gender is a bad thing because he can’t use his Hayagami while he’s a female. Unfortunately, the swapped gender storyline isn’t resolved in Volume 22, so the characters will continue to be the opposite gender in Volume 23.

But Arata: The Legend Volume 22 does give the reader scenes with the Arata that is currently in modern day Japan, which was sorely lacking in Volume 21. The two Aratas are able to communicate in one scene, and a lot of information is revealed. The final chapter of Volume 22 is set in modern day Japan, and Arata and Imina receive a major surprise when they arrive at school.

With Volume 22, I have to say that I enjoyed the earlier portion of the story that focused on Arata’s character growth as he dealt with the guilt he felt over hurting Kotoha and the way he had acted with Kadowaki. So far, I’m not too impressed with the gender swapping story, but hopefully Volume 23 will show why this plot point needed to happen.

Watase’s art style continues to stand out in Arata: The Legend Volume 22. I suspect that she had a fun time designing and drawing her characters for the swapped gender story, since she would have to make major changes to their designs. While I may not be personally interested in that particular plot point, I have to admit that it was amusing to see the characters as the opposite genders.

Even though I may not have entirely cared for Arata: The Legend Volume 22, I believe that readers who have read the series up to this point and enjoy it will appreciate the growth that Arata shows here, as well as getting to see their favorite characters looking different due to the swapped genders.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional post about Arata: The Legend:

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