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World Trigger Volume Nine – Review

world-trigger-volume-9-cover-image-01Shonen Jump is a publication I feel as though I’ll follow until the very day I die. Despite the fact that Shueisha’s weekly issues are directed at young adults with a proclivity for action and friendship, I believe that the themes of Friendship, Effort, and Victory are three that can be appreciated by the young and old alike. Thanks to new Manga series’ like My Hero Academia, and Twin Star Exorcists – two contemporary Manga I feel as though stand above the rest – Shonen Jump is heading into a new era that, while nowhere near as ground-breaking as the Golden Age, will breath new life into the publication.

One of the new Manga I feel as though stands with the likes of those I mentioned above is the one currently being reviewed; World Trigger. It is a series that started off it’s run in quite a weak position, with very few readers finding it as enjoyable as some of the others that begun alongside it, but regardless of that it has stuck to the three wise words of Shonen Jump and remained a big contender for quite some time now. Most Shonen Jump series’ are either cancelled by the end of their first chapter, or are skyrocketed into fame almost instantly. It’s quite rare for a series like World Trigger to survive in the cutthroat world of this publication seeing as, well…it did neither.

World Trigger, during it’s early days in publication, was constantly on the verge of being cancelled, and yet here we are today celebrating the release of it’s ninth volume, full well knowing that the series is continuing week by week, still featured within the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. In eight reviews I managed to explain why I felt as though World Trigger is a series that fans of the Shonen culture should experience, but whilst reading the ninth volume I had a moment of odd clarity wherein which I discovered the true essence of World Triggers (now) success. My only issue is that it took me this long!

With less than 16 minutes left until the crossroads Jin predicted, the endgame looms. Will Osamu make it back to HQ in time to save the cubified Chika? – VIZ Media

The war between the Meeden (Humans) and the Aftokrators (Humanoid Neighbours currently invading) is still raging uncontrollably. The tides of battle continue changing, but with the end in sight it’s now a matter of timing rather than that of force. This arc has been running for a fair few volumes at his point in time, and it looks as though it will soon come to an end, which I think is fantastic in terms of pacing seeing as it was on the verge of lasting a touch too long. Like any memorable Shonen arc, the battle against the Aftokrators has brought into the spotlight some of the more interesting and capable characters introduced throughout the series, some of whom are only being made known moments before they’re expected to combat these deadly enemy soldiers.

Now World Trigger is an interesting Shonen Jump series because, much like Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, it features an incredibly large character cast. Every volume, a handful of knew characters would be thrown at us, the audience, in the hopes that at least one of them would remain memorable, at least…that’s what I first though, but here’s the real kicker; it’s actually the complete opposite of that. Volume nine helped me to discover that the large quantity of characters in World Trigger is not a cause of some half-assed attempt to gauge what personality types audiences like, it is to instead build a believable sense of realism within a story that does not feature much of it.

World Trigger is a series that revolves around a few key characters, this is a must in any series Shonen or otherwise, but said characters are employed by a branch of the government that dedicate all of it’s time and resources to the defence of our dimension. Essentially Border (the organisation in question) is the military, and there is no military in the world that only features a dozen soldiers. Daisuke Ashihara has hit his stride with this latest arc because not only does he introduce character after character, he also places them into situation wherein which they evolve to become more than just extras whose purpose is to only be cannon fodder for the enemy. Bar maybe one or two bouts, most other battle featured in this arc are won by a team of, essentially, basic soldiers rather than one character with “Protagonist” status.

Unfortunately I find it difficult to remember names, but that’s not the point of their introduction. These characters have names, ages, origins, likes, dislikes not so that we can add them to the “most popular character” list, but so that we as the audience understand that the person with the rifle defending their dimension is not just a faceless soldier, but an actual human being with a life built by decisions that have brought them to this dangerous point. It’s an incredible story feature to have discovered this late in the game, but I feel as though it’s one that is absolutely necessary for ones complete and utter enjoyment of this series.

Daisuke Ashihara has always had a great illustrative style that, as I have mentioned, always looked as though it was incomplete, which is the norm for rookie Manga artists who are early into the development of a new series. We’ve seen Ashihara get better and better, with volume nine, in my humble opinion, being his most ambitious effort yet, though I imagine that the end of the arc will prove to be even more awe-inspiring. It almost brings a tear to my eye looking back on the first volume of the series and comparing it to the ninth volume. It’s amazing when one can notice drastic visual changes in a professional’s career because it highlights the fact that they are still open to change and evolution, working towards getting better and better with each and every new chapter.

Friendship, Effort, and Victory; World Trigger is the living embodiment of the Shonen Jump motto. Daisuke Ashihara, in his editor’s notes, constantly thanks his team of assistants for continuing to not only back him up physically (with the development of World Trigger), but also by keeping spirits high; picking him up when he’s down, and sharing fun times throughout the bad. Friendship.  Despite perpetual hardships, World Trigger has continued to remain alive thanks to the unimaginable drive of both series creator Daisuke Ashihara and his team, all of which are dedicated to the success of the series. Effort. World Trigger is, today, still a staple of modern Shonen Jump that features in ever new issue as it is released weekly. It also has spawned two Anime adaptations, and a couple of games that, while not released in the West, are quite well-received across Japan. Victory. 

If there was anything left to say about World Trigger at this point in time, I feel as though it would go to waste. It is an incredible series that, yes, has it’s setbacks, but still remains an enjoyable read even nine volumes in. The fantastic thing about this is that it is still early days, and I can only see this Shonen Jump series getting bigger and better, blowing all preconceived expectations out the window with every new volume. It’s never to late to jump on the bandwagon, so take the leap now!

Grade: A+

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