Manga Review: Asadora! Volume Two

Asadora! Volume Two continues telling the story of a plucky young girl named Asa Asada.

Asadora! Volume Two
Written by: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 20, 2021

Volume Two opens with a short piece that seems to be unrelated to the main storyline. However, at the end of the volume, it’s revealed that the short piece that we see at the start is indeed important and related to what’s going on.

From there, the manga picks up exactly where Volume One ended. While in the airplane with Kasuga delivering rice balls to citizens trapped on their roofs, Asa sees that her house has been destroyed. However, she later finds two of her siblings, along with the doctor and her newborn sibling, stranded on a rooftop. Even though most of her family is gone, at least Asa still has three of her siblings who survived. I found comfort in knowing that even though Asa may now be an orphan, at least she is no longer alone. But as they try to reach her surviving family members, Asa and Kasuga see the tail of a giant creature come out of the water. Thanks to some quick thinking, Asa saves her surviving family members from being killed by whatever this creature is. I can only imagine just how frightening of a situation that would be, especially knowing that for Asa, these are the only family members that she has left.

But as the food drops continue, it comes out that Kasuga was shot and injured earlier. He starts losing feeling in his hands and can no longer fly the airplane himself. Asa, being the fearless girl that she is, starts learning how to fly the plane with oral instructions from Kasuga. She pulls off some amazing flying, especially for someone who’s never flown a plane before. Luckily, Asa has the personality that she has, because otherwise the outcome could have been very different.

I can’t forget to mention Asa’s friend, Shota. His father and brothers are still pushing him to train for the Olympics. Obviously, getting the news of what happened back home is affecting him. However, his father and brothers are just trying to sweep what happened under the rug and push Shota to continue training. I know this would have been the mindset back in this era, but I still found it infuriating. I don’t blame him for running off and heading back to their hometown to in order to find out what happened to Asa.

We learn it’s Asa’s birthday, and how coming from a big family, she never really got presents. She decides she wants the plane as a gift. Well, Kasuga stole the plane, so he can’t exactly give it to her. But thanks to something Asa discovered in the plane, she has some leverage to try to strike a deal with the owner of the plane. But, let’s just say that this plan puts Asa in extreme danger, and it’s fortunate that Kinuyo, the woman who runs the restaurant where they’ve been getting the rice balls to deliver to the survivors, realizes what’s happening. With help from a police officer, they arrive in time to save Asa. But the end result is that the owner of the plane is arrested, and he gives the deed to the plane to Asa.

Near the end of the volume, there is a time skip. It’s 1964, and Asa is now 17 years old. She still has the plane and is using it to help Kasuga with his business. Unfortunately, the business is starting to head into a slump, and Kasuga doesn’t know how much longer he can keep it afloat. But as fate would have it, someone who Kasuga served with in the military arrives, and he has a picture of the tail that Kasuga and Asa saw earlier.

We also see that it’s time for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and learn that Shota didn’t qualify for the marathon. It’s also revealed that Asa and Shota haven’t kept in touch as well as they could have, and she was the last one to send anything… but she hasn’t heard back. Hopefully we’ll learn what’s happened to Shota in a future volume of the series.

At the end of the volume, Asa goes to a science museum in Ueno, in the hopes of finding information on the creature that she and Kasuga saw when she was younger. She finds a photograph on the ground, and it, along with the person she encounters at the end of the volume, are related to the short piece we saw at the beginning of the volume.

I admit that I hadn’t expected the time skip to appear in this volume, but then I was reminded that the early pages of Volume One say that Asadora! is the story of a nameless girl and the fearless life she lived from the postwar years to the present day. All of Volume One and most of Volume Two focus on Asa as a child, and the experiences she has after the typhoon (or it might actually have been an attack by a creature, which has been hinted at strongly in this volume) and how she helped get food to survivors who were stranded on rooftops. Near the end of the Volume Two, we get to see Asa as a young woman who is still in high school. Her encounter with the young man at the museum is likely leading to something, and it’ll be interesting to see what exciting thing she will get to do or experience during this arc of the story.

Urasawa had a strong start with Asadora! in Volume One, and I think he has succeeded in keeping the momentum going for Volume Two. The story and characters continue to be interesting, and with the time skip, Asa’s evolution as a character feels believable. I’m looking forward to reading Volume Three in order to find out what happens as Asa next.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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