Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: World Trigger Volume 4

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One day, a “gate” to a different world opens in Mikado City, and monsters known as Neighbors start appearing from it. A group known as the Border defense agency appears and creates a defense system against the Neighbors. 15-year-old Osamu Mikumo meets a strange boy named Yuma Kuga, who turns out to be a Neighbor with a Black Trigger. Yuichi Jin from the Tamakoma Brach of Border is trying to help Yuma enlist in Border, but headquarters wants to capture Yuma’s Black Trigger instead.

World Trigger Volume 4

World Trigger Vol. 4

Written by: Daisuke Ashihara
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 3, 2015

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World Trigger Volume 4 opens with Yuichi teaming up with Arashiyama Squad to protect Yuma from the members of the top A-Rank squad that have teamed up with Miwa Squad. While several battles rage on in the early chapters of this volume, the most interesting is Yuichi fighting against his long-time archrival, Kei Tachikawa. During this battle, Yuichi reveals his own Black Trigger, which is known as Fujin. By combining his Side Effect of being able to see a little bit of the future of someone he’s looking at and his ability to use Fujin, Yuichi is able to catch Kei off-guard.

As the battle is going on, we also see Shiori from Tamakoma Branch explaining the various Triggers to Yuma and Osamu. At least the way the manga handled incorporating these explanations with the battles worked much better than it did in the anime adaptation. The way the manga handled this allowed the explanations to not break the flow of the battle.

A little over half of World Trigger Volume 4 is dedicated to the fights between various members on both sides of the conflict. Yuichi and Arashiyama Squad are the eventual victors, but with his victory, Yuichi does something rather unexpected. He goes to Border headquarters and makes a deal: if Yuichi gives them his Black Trigger, they must allow Yuma to enlist in Border. After some back and forth, the top brass at Border agree to make the deal.

I have to admit that like most of the characters that appeared in this scene, I was surprised that Yuichi was willing to give away his Black Trigger, especially since it was a memento from his teacher. But at the same time, it does make sense. While Yuichi is a very skilled Border agent, he doesn’t seem to have the desire, ambition or need to advance much farther at Border than where he’s currently at. Yuichi is always depicted with such a laid back attitude, so it seems to me that it wouldn’t bother him to give up his Black Trigger as much as it might if it had been one of the other characters in the series needing to make that choice.

The remainder of the volume sees Yuma, along with his and Osamu’s mutual friend, Chika Amatori, attending the official Border Enlistment Day. Since Yuma is a Neighbor, he has too easy of a time defeating a Neighbor in a training exercise, which garners him a lot of attention from the other new recruits and the higher ranked members that are working with them. Chika also surprises the Border member who’s working with the snipers when she already demonstrates a higher level of knowledge than he would have expected from a recruit. Of course, he would have been even more surprised if he knew just how high of a Trion level that Chika has.

Having the Border Enlistment Day material right after the fighting sequences and the political wrangling that takes place for most of the volume was a nice change of pace for me as a reader. It also allowed me to step back from the drama and action and catch my breath before potentially launching into another major story arc.

When it comes to the art in the World Trigger series, I have to say that some of the characters bear very similar looks to characters in other manga series. In particular, Takumi Rindo, the director of Tamakoma Branch looks way too close to Maes Hughes from Fullmetal Alchemist. I also thought that Yosuke Yoneya from Miwa Squad looks like a happier version of Shikamaru from the Naruto franchise, and that Masafumi Shinoda from Border bears some resemblance to Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist.

When it comes to the designs of the other characters, Ashihara uses varying degree of details. Characters like Yuichi and Isami Toma had a lot of effort put into the details of their design. However, there are also characters within the story that look a little too similar to each other, which makes it harder to follow which one is being focused on. One of the worst cases of this is Soya Kazama and Shuji Miwa, and the only way I can tell the difference is if Shuji is wearing his headphones.

World Trigger isn’t necessarily bad at what it’s trying to do, but it’s just not at the same level as classic shonen manga series such as Naruto, Bleach, One Piece or Dragon Ball. Osamu, the main character of World Trigger, really isn’t an interesting or captivating protagonist. He doesn’t have a personality or any traits that make him stand out. In fact, his companions Yuma and Chika are more interesting due to having backstories revealed in earlier volumes that developed their character.

Even though I may not be overly impressed by World Trigger, the series might be of interest to readers who enjoy shonen manga with a science fiction angle. And for readers who are already fans of the series, World Trigger Volume 4 will provide you with the action and character interactions that you’ve come to expect from reading the earlier volumes of the series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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