Asadora! is a fantasy/historical drama manga by Naoki Urasawa that follows Asa Asada, a school girl who also works as a secret pilot for the government to monitor a potential kaiju (giant monster) situation that has been spotted off the coast of Japan. In Volume Six the story has reached the opening of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, picking up where the previous volume left off with the threat of the kaiju being kept under wraps to ensure the Olympics goes ahead.
The last couple of volumes of Asadora! have been action packed and very fast paced, while this one is much slower and the stakes are nowhere near as high. It’s nice for the story to take a little slowdown and to focus on character moments. Showing the effects of Asa’s secrets is having on her life, as well as seeing more of the sub-plots revolving around her friends. There’s a lot of plot threads that are continued in this volume.
Quite a bit of the book is focused on Asa’s childhood friend, Shotaro, who dreams of becoming an Olympic runner. He missed out on competing in the Tokyo Olympics, but is still training hard to make to the next games being held in Mexico. He’s desperate to prove himself, not only to his family but to Asa as well. It does seem like his character arc is about to really get going in the next volume, with the seeds of tragedy being planted in volume 6.
While the series is about a giant monster that could cause great destruction, it’s also a historical drama as well and both work so well together. A fair bit of the story is about rebuilding Japan and its reputation after the Second World War. There’s also some interesting history about how the relationship between Japan and America in the post-war period, specifically the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. It’s mentioned in the story and then towards the end of the book is a page that has some information about how it worked originally and how it’s adapted over time.
Like always Urasawa’s artwork is great, it’s always easy to follow and the characters are all unique and the scenery looks great. The dialogue is well-written and feels natural and there’s a few funny moments in story. The volume does set up that something big is about to happen in its final chapter, and it’s going to be a long wait until volume 7 gets released.
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