Cover Image: Asadora!, Vol. 2

Asadora!, Vol. 2

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Hello everyone, welcome to another portion of the Asadora manga from the infamous Naoki Urasawa. If you want my thoughts on Volume 1, it’s really good. Very good story with lots of potential, good and natural moments, and a so much intrigue. My less focused and official thoughts can be found on Volume 1 here: link. I am always a bit nervous about writing a post following a different section of a post considering they are the hardest things to talk about after writing a bit of a defining post, but Asadora’s second volume has a lot of interesting things going on to talk about and consider here and I really like those facts.

So what happened? Well, this volume is split into two parts once again. The first part is a result of the ending of the show. Young Asadora and the old man Kusaga are in a stolen airplane looking for Asadora’s house when they see a monster and only some of the siblings are alive. The ending coming from Kusaga being injured and Asadora finding some natural intrigue in piloting an airplane while trying to keep the two of them alive in flight. It feels like a it contrived in some ways, but she was given guidance by an injured old man to land a prop plane. A young kid can find a niche in a number of ways and Asadora finding a true calling and getting the plane while being old makes sense in some ways.



The second portion of the volume is a very natural sort of time skip for 7 years in the future. Asadora changes in a way that makes sense to her like she’s mastered flying her plane, she’s strong, she doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and such. All things that make sense considering who she grew up with. You know, the no sense lady who works at a cafe we met in volume 1 along with Kusaga who is a bit shady, but knows how to pilot and can go down and dirty when she needs to. Asadora has spent 7 years with these people and the family she was able to save. The volume itself ends with Asadora seeing a government agent with the photo of the creature that destroyed her house and her trying to find information about it. A very good cinematic way to end a manga because Naoki Urasawa feels like a cinematic thinker.

This manga looks so good, guys. As I stated before in volume 1, the manga looks so good. The character all look Japanese but have enough interesting characteristics to be recognized anywhere. Asadora’s own grown up from 10 to 7 also feels so natural while everyone else around her hasn’t changed. Older people just look slightly older after all. The panel camera angles around Asadora flying a plane in angles that make her feel alive in how she pilots the plane and tries to land it. Plus, the camera angle around Asadora seeing the meeting between Kusaga and a government man. No fight scenes at all, so the manga feels very grounded in it’s execution. I love all of it honestly.




So yeah, I don’t like this volume of Asadora as much as volume 1, but it was still pretty solid. It showed the direction that Asadora’s character is going to go in the future along with building intrigue, doing more things, and such. All of it builds the world itself a bit more as well. I wish that it would spend more then a few more panels with Asadora and her tiny siblings considering that they are part of her story and why she was searching for them in the first place. That’s ok, there is only a limited amount of time with this portion here and there is more manga to come in the future. I really need to get to volume 3. Yay! So good!
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I'm really enjoying this series so far! We get lots of action in this volume, lots of exciting moments, and some mysterious goings on as well. I'm not saying anything, it'd all be too spoilery, and this is one of those stories where you need to let it all wash over you. Asa's moment of triumph at the end of the 1959 part of the story, good heavens! I could feel it with her. The combination of Urasawa's story and his artwork is just so perfect, they compliment each other so well. This is such a feel-good story, even though bad things have happened, that I can't help but love it. I hope Volume 3 will be available soon!
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Urasawa has excelled at crafting compelling mystery thrillers for decades now, but Asadora truly feels special. This second volume did a fantastic job of expanding upon Asa's character, and her finding a passion through flying airplanes. The ambiguous creature that is introduced adds an extra layer of intrigue as well, and I'm curious to see how Urasawa further implements it into the larger narrative. It's still hard to say what the long-term direction of Asadora will be, but I'm fully invested in what is to come.
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I really enjoyed the first volume and this is a perfect continuation. I am so excited for the next volume and will be purchasing these titles for our collection.
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The first volume of Naoki Urasawa’s latest manga Asadora! delivered a wonderful character-driven piece of historical fiction set in the backdrop of Typhoon Vera. However, the actual hook of the story occurs in the last two pages, in which Asa Asada and the aging former pilot fly through the aftermath of the typhoon and discover the footprint of what looks like a Kaiju. Based on this reveal, Urasawa sets up an element of both science-fiction and mystery.

In terms of the mystery of the giant monster – whose tail is revealed in a rather terrifying set-piece, done in that traditional monster movie narrative where you show only part of the creature – Urasawa is playing the long game as he chooses to focus on the human side. Often in Godzilla movies, the human stories tend to be the weakest aspect, and though not every aspect works, Urasawa has always been exploring the good and bad in humanity in all his works.

For most of the volume, the chemistry between Asa and the pilot, whose name is revealed as Kasuga, remains the highlight of the manga. Their banter continues to shine through humor, as well as moments of backstory that help inform both characters. As Kasuga loses consciousness from a gunshot wound, it is up to the little girl to pilot him and herself to safety, resulting in a breathtaking revelation of what Asa wants to do: fly for the rest of her life.

Urasawa uses similar storytelling techniques to that of 20th Century Boys, such as a competent young female protagonist who can make reckless decisions. Following the events in 1959, the story jumps to 1964 where Asa (now 17) and Kasuga run an advertising business where Asa pilots her plane with banners for other businesses. Urasawa knows how to use the passage of time, showing how Asa has grown and has to be the parent to whatever family members she has left after Typhoon Vera, though she clings onto the hope that the rest of her extended family is still out there. There are other supporting characters, such as the young Shota, who is hoping to compete at the Olympics, and yet these subplots aren’t as compelling as the main story and makes you wonder where they are going in the long run.

Urasawa’s art is not one of dynamic visuals, compared to the works of Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo, artists who push the boundaries of how manga can be such a unique medium. However, despite his basic panel layouts where there are a lot of talking heads, Urasawa’s characters are so expressive, from the bubbly Asa to the grouchy Kasuga. The background art continues to be spectacular as we see more of the destructive aftermath of the typhoon, whilst the silent panels featuring the flying sequences visualize that sense of freedom.

The hook of the mysterious Kaiju is still there, though Naoki Urasawa continues to play the long game with it, but Asadora!’s greatest strength is the human story that moves from tragedy to explore new waters.
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This volume wraps up the aftermath of the typhoon, but not before we see it leave its lasting mark on Asa Asadora. While she and the old pilot are looking for the rest of the Asadora family, they witness a strange sight: a giant tail or tentacle rising from the log-strewn sea, right near where a giant reptilian footprint marks the spot where Asa's house used to stand. Neither Asa nor the old man can quite believe what they're seeing, and quickly the sight of three familiar survivors and the old man's worsening injury claim their interest, and the strange object becomes nothing but a weird memory of a bizarre time...

I've got to hand it to Naoki Urasawa - this is just as fascinating as the first volume. Asa's growth as a character, as she learns to function in a crisis in ways that impress everyone around her, make her more than just a Strong Female Character; she's a kid having to grow up way too fast, but somehow finding joy in it. The bookending of the volume, with the same researcher and image of giant claw marks in a jungle, remind us that there's more to this story than just a coming-of-age narrative, but Asa really is the heart of things - possibly in more than one way. The pacing is expertly done, the fidelity to the time period is impressive, and there's still that undercurrent of the unknown that carries everything along. We're in for a long ride here, but I don't doubt that it will be worth it.
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Absolutely fantastic. I love the color pages and the story was incredible to see. I am very much looking forward to the next volume!!
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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.
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Following up on tragedy comes more intrigue in the world of Asadora. From scientists making a remarkable discovery in a nondescript forest to Asa flying a plane for the first time as a young girl - and later becoming a full-fledged pilot at seventeen - this volume makes serious progression. More specifically, it teases deeper into the possible monster foreshadowed in the previous installment from a suspenseful rescue involving the monster’s towering tail nearly killing Asa’s remaining family to even a secret discussion between Kasuga and his former instructor on the monster sightings. Even beyond this, the action in this volume is impeccable – dramatic in its presentation whether up in the sky with a child under a fighter pilot’s guidance trying to fly and land a plane or on the ground where Asa is held at gunpoint by a drug trafficker. Naoki Urasawa continues to maintain suspense and excitement through great pacing and stakes. Simply put, it is a worthy follow-up and I cannot wait for another.
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What a wonderful series ! Urasawa is truly a master in his art once again.

We've got a fantastic main character, she's witty and charming. She's probably the reason why I'm liking this series so much, she just makes you want to read more about her.

The intrigue is still there and it's getting a lot more mysterious (and surnatural maybe). It's very reminiscent of the 20th Century Boys series, but better in my opinion.

Finally, he transition between the past and present was absolutely flawless. I feel like I've had enough of her past to understand and her new situation is easy to understand. I'm very satisfied! And into the next one!
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Asadora! Volume 2 continues the story of Asa Asada, a young girl facing the destruction of her hometown.

As per usual, Naoki Urasawa maintains his prowess both as an artist and a storyteller. New characters are introduced in volume 2 and are immediately engaging, even minor characters like Asa's high school buddies. The unravelling mystery of "that thing", and Asa's relationship with Kasuga, are the highlights of the book!

As per usual, the translation by John Werry and lettering by Steve Dutro are top notch! Dutro's custom font he uses for all of his Urasawa endeavors is beautifully complimentary to Urasawa's art and the tone of the story, while Werry's dialogue carries a very "novel-esque" feeling while also maintaining a sense of realism and personality, bringing life to the characters. An absolute joy!
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Asadora is my newest guilty pleasure! I absolutely adore this manga series about a young girl, Asa, and her search for her family and potentially a giant monster. It's fun, an easy read and quite the light read too. I highly recommend picking this up if you're looking for a fun, fast moving, and slightly mysterious book that won't bring you down or make you feel grey.

There's so many good parts to this book, so let's just write up a quick summary of my notes:
1. Mysterious intro in the jungle
2. Giant monster! In the flesh!
3. "Hero of the Skies" - This is a great tag line for the book, by the wa.
4. Shota is super sweet.
5. "Rotten egg like you" is the best insult I've heard all week.
6. Flash forward and cliffhangers.

Overall, I love this series! I think it's off to a great start and I'm still super intrigued about where it's going to go.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Viz for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
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Asa and Kasuga continue to drop food from the airplane to survivors of the "typhoon". During one of their runs, a huge tail appears out of the debris and almost swats the airplane out of the sky. They agree that they were hallucinating. Kasuga passes out from a gunshot wound and Asa must fly the plane. She tricks the plane's owner to give her the plane. Time passes and Asa is 17. She is an excellent pilot. Kasuga's former army instructor appears with a picture of the tail. Asa tries to discover what the creature is.
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