World Trigger (149-152) – Review
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: A gate to another dimension opened and seemingly invincible monsters called Neighbors came forth, invading our world. The organization known as Border rose up and fought them back. Now years later, Osamu Mikumo has applied to border as an agent, but he’s easily one of the weakest applicants. However, his life changes when he meets Yuma, a boy who comes from the same place the monsters did: through the portal. He himself is a neighbor and together they’ll do whatever they can to defend the Earth.
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Osamu and Yuma both survived and held back the invading Neighbors in a major assault to try and steal people who have high levels of Trion, the energy used to control triggers weapons. After a failed attack by Galapoula, Neighbors who sought to destroy the Away Ship and prevent Border from striking back against their enemies, the Rank Wars Tournament continues. Osamu’s team was lacking in power, carried by Yuma for most of their matches. Now, after some training, have Osamu’s own skills increased enough to prevent his team from losing the Rank Wars?
The room is silent as everyone waits for Kido to make his call. Unsurprisingly Kido gives permission for Hyuse to join Osamu’s squad (Even though it’s a massively under developed, unconsidered, and poorly thought out idea.) However, Kido does have a condition for Hyuse joining. He wants Chika to come along, which stuns Osamu. Apparently it has to do with powering the Away Ship, as it runs off trion and with someone like Chika, and her near endless supply, they don’t need to make as many stops along the way.
However, this also means if Osamu’s team isn’t chosen for the away mission they’ll still bring Chika anyway. Chika is okay with this set up. She asserts that there’s nothing to worry about, they’ll definitely make A Rank before then. As if we didn’t already have enough pages of talking heads, Kido has another topic to bring up. Kido drops the bomb that Osamu and the others have zero chance of making A rank before the next Away Mission. Osamu is freaking out, fearing he’s been duped by Kido, but Kido explains that due to increasing the size of the mission they’ll be accepting B rank squad members too. This feels a bit too convenient, as if we’re handing our heroes their victory without really having achieved their goals. Sure, there’s the condition that they need to reach the B-rank top 2, but this is by far easier to achieve than before, effectively damaging the tension. Sometimes it feels like World Trigger just doesn’t know how to build itself up. At times it makes wonderful decisions that add to the world, characters, and story, and at others it undermines what tension it has in favor of ‘twists.’ that don’t amount to much.
Anyway, Hyuse has to start at C-rank, and work his way up, once he hits B-rank he can join Osamu’s squad. So it’s sounding like Hyuse might not even be a player in the Rank wars, meaning Osamu and Co. have to make it there on their own ability? Despite this, the team still talks as if Hyuse will be an asset in winning the Rank wars, so I guess the deadline isn’t all that tight anyway.
Snapping back to the Border heads, they discuss how Rindo’s little turn on Osamu was actually part of his plan to shift the conversation around and win the debate. It’s– clever? I guess? It doesn’t at all take away from how ill-thought and naive Osamu’s argument was, or how ridiculous it is that anyone was willing to agree to it. Hyuse’s got some convincing plot armor on that made that entire sequence work and it still doesn’t sit at all well with me.
Konami is shocked that Osamu agreed to lend Chika to the away mission. We then spend the next several pages informing Konami of what lead to this development. It’s wasted space and does very little to actually further the story. I’m honestly getting impatient for us to start moving things along again and bogging us down in repeated details is really unnecessary.
Moving past the needless recap, Osamu and Co. sit down for a strategy meeting. The trouble with reaching 2nd rank is that they need to gain more points than the other team, but they don’t know how well those teams will do during their matches. All they can do is pray and, like I suspected, they have to do at least part of the remaining Rank Wars without Hyuse will he finishes his induction.
They start going over the two teams they’ll be fighting today: Ikoma Squad (Which has four members, so I guess you can have four people on the field, huh.) and Oji Squad. Each squad gets talked up, detailing how dangerous and hard to beat they’ll be. Finally, it seems these teams will be the true test as to exactly how much Osamu, Chika, and Kuga all actually improved.
We actually get a glimpse into Ikoma Squad, who all seem to chat like dude bros (crazy cool, bad news, wild!) Which is weird, but we’ll work with it. Their discussion of Osamu’s team quickly turns into reminding their operator, Mario (which might be a mistranslation? I think her name is supposed to be Maori?) that they think she’s damn cute too. What an odd group of people.
Ikoma Squad gets back to the main topic, and apparently they already have a surefire way to handle Chika and her lead bullet sniping. Back with Osamu they start going over Oji squad, which is strong at CQC. Getting a look into Oji Squad, we learn their captain, Oji, is picking Cityscape A for the battle map. It turns out Oji has analyzed how Osamu’s strategy is to either get you out in the open and hammer you with lead bullets, or trip you up with wires in tight spaces. Cityscape A provides a balanced map that should mitigate some of those extremes.
Back right where we left off, Oji starts going over their plan for the match. Apparently their primary target is Osamu. It’s to stop him from putting down his wires and tripping them up. However, back with Tamakoma-2, Osamu knows he’s going to be their primary target.
We then jump between each of the teams, Ikoma squad is talking about food now (I guess these guys maintain top position through innate skill alone) and Oji is still going over their own counter strategy to Osamu. It can feel tedious sometimes, but the strategy planning sessions here are fun if you’re in the right mindset. Listening in to each team as they set up their plan for the upcoming battle and how their opponents plan to counter it. It can get a little silly how often they predict each other’s movements but I find the strategy talk far stronger than the last few chapters.
Meanwhile, away from all the strategy discussion, Hyuse goes to the new recruits induction ceremony. He’s getting a lot of looks and chatter, but no one seems to know he’s a Neighbor. Eizo and Kinuta watch through monitors and go back to discussing Kido’s decision to allow Hyuse to join up. I really wish we’d move on. Sometimes World Trigger just sits on plot points forever, constantly hammering things home. As if it wasn’t already painfully obvious, Eizo and Kinuta remind us that what Kido really wanted out of the negotiations was Chika’s cooperation. (You’d think with a militaryesque command structure you wouldn’t need permission to change up deployment, but okay.)
Getting back to Hyuse, Eizo kind of addresses my concerns, but instead focuses purely on what to do with Hyuse after they arrive back at his home planet. Karasawa doesn’t see a problem, they’ll just eliminate Hyuse if he attempts to betray them after they arrive. This discussion goes on for numerous pages and again, World Trigger gets bogged down in needless detail that could easily be answered at a later date. It really is the Achilles’ heel of this manga.
Moving away from the Border Chiefs, we finally get back into the Rank Wars! We get a very brief run down of who are commentators are, the map, some speculation and then the battle is declared a go!
Oji, Ikoma, and Tamakoma-2 all port in and the battle is a go. Osamu immediately recognizes the map and calls for Usami to give him the locations he can put wires down. Oji squad realizes that one person is already hidden on the map and it’s assuredly Osamu. They get ready to hunt him down. the commentators discuss possible strategy for a bit and we return to the battlefield as Koji, Ikoma’s sniper, gets into position. He’s spotted by a member of Oji squad, Kashio, who doesn’t give chase.
Oji squad starts to converge on Osamu’s probable location and Kuga charges in to defend him. But Captain Oji stops, starting to realize this might be a trap. Switching up tactics, Ikoma and Oji both have teammates use bagworms to hide on the map, and quickly stumble upon Osamu’s nest of wires, pinpointing his location.
Kuga warns Osamu, and rather than run he reveals his position by firing a blast of Asteroid off. Kashio of Oji, and Kai of Ikoma both rush for Osamu, but find each other, and prepare to square off. Osamu hides nearby and swears to himself he won’t get taken out ever again without first somehow aiding his teammates.
Outside of chapter 152, the rest of this batch was a real struggle. Too much time is spent harping over and over again on minor details, or scheming that really isn’t all that complex to understand. It’s a lot of useless information and only keeps the story from progressing faster. I’m hoping as World Trigger ages Daisuke Ashihara, our author, gets better at streamlining things and spends less time harping over and over again on details we don’t need answered right there and then. Thankfully we’re past that black mark and full into this new Rank Wars battle between Osamu, Oji, and Ikoma squad. It’s really helping to wash the taste of the last few chapters away and I’m definitely excited again to see how Osamu gets himself out of this mess.
That’s it for this week! Let me know what your thoughts are for World Trigger 149-152 in the comments below.
World Trigger is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Chapters 107-115 are collected in Volume 13 releasing Nov 1st, 2016. Chapters discussed today, 149-152, will be collected in Volume 17, releasing mid 2017.