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Manga Review: Twin Spica Volume Four by Kou Yaginuma

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Twin Spica Volume Four is a manga by Kou Yaginuma, and it was published in North America by Vertical, Inc. in 2010. There isn’t any kind of a rating printed on this volume, but I would personally recommend Twin Spica to manga readers who are twelve or thirteen years of age and older.

At the beginning of Volume Four, Asumi and her friends begin their actual training for going into space. They’re seen going through a couple of different exercises to simulate zero-g gravity.

A major plot point happens when Asumi and her classmates go to see a shuttle launch. On their way back to school on the ferry, Asumi sees some protestors, with signs protesting the space program. Also on the ferry is a young man who says he can’t stand the school that Asumi goes to. However, what really gets to Asumi is the fact that this young man bears a resemblance to a boy she knew in middle school who died from cancer. Later in the volume, she sees this young man at the planetarium, and she is surprised to see him there after how he treated her on the ferry.

The story about Asumi’s friend with cancer was shown in “Asumi’s Cherry Blossoms,” a short piece that appeared at the end of Volume Three. When I read “Asumi’s Cherry Blossoms,” I figured there would be some importance in the series; however, I didn’t expect just how much that short story would be referenced in Volume Four.

There are also hints dropped that there’s even more to the character of Marika than what appears on the surface. It will be interesting to see where Marika’s story heads in future volumes of Twin Spica.

There are three short stories included at the end of Volume Four: “This Star Spica,” “Sentimental,” and “Another Spica.”

“This Star Spica” is about Asumi and Fuchuya back when they were in elementary school. Their teacher asks Fuchuya to spend some time with Asumi, because the teacher is concerned that Asumi hasn’t had any friends since she entered the fourth grade. This brief story shows what happens during Fuchuya’s attempt.

“Sentimental” shows a young man named Kamoi running into his old love, Kasumi Tsushima on the train. They do some reminiscing, and the story ends with Kasumi telling him that she’s about to get married. While this is a sweet little story that makes some vague references to things seen in Twin Spica, I really didn’t understand how this fit into the story.

“Another Spica” is yet another attempt by Kou Yaginuma to insert himself into the world of Twin Spica. Just like the previous “Another Spica” stories, they are my least favorite part of the Twin Spica volumes.

As I read the Twin Spica series, I’m impressed by how Yaginuma has introduced new threads and ideas to the story. Not only do these new threads and ideas enhance the character of Asumi, but they also make it so the reader wants to continue reading the series to find out where the story will go to next.

Twin Spica is a very well done manga series. I would highly recommend it to people who already read manga, as well as to non-manga readers who would enjoy the type of storytelling that the series uses.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.