World Trigger 169-173 – Manga Review

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?

Review:

Not too much has really happened since I last discussed World Trigger. We’re still in the Rank Wars and the very same match to boot. With the manga moving to monthly publication, it’ll take even longer to finish off this Rank Wars stuff and get to the next leg of the story. This isn’t helped by World Trigger’s obsession with frequent pauses for commentary from Rank Wars’ commentators.

While the current fight has plenty of give and take, keeping the battle interesting and letting audiences wonder if Osamu and Co. can actually get the points they need, it’s really damaged by all these breaks. Every page or two there’s a need to go back to the matches’ commentators and allow them to add detail and thought to every action. While these details can add to the story, it all becomes so stop and go that the flow never has a chance to really pick up. This keeps the match from feeling all that exciting. If we look at My Hero Academia, also recently having done a team battle story, the flow is much stronger, moving at a brisk pace, a little commentary here or there, but focused so much more on the players rather than their classmates watching. It’s about where we put the audiences’ attention, and rather than absorbing us inside the actual match, World Trigger makes us feel like we’re in the stands listening to the commentary rather than taking in the fight itself.

Chapters 169-171 suffer from this greatly, as does 173, with so much dialogue forced in between the action that it’s hard to get absorbed in the increasing drama of Osamu and Co.’s situation. The one chapter that doesn’t suffer commentary overload is 172 and it’s all the better for it. A crazy amount of developments happen too, completely shifting the tide of the battle. It’s a stellar chapter and doesn’t suffer the stop and go feel of the other chapters.

Chapter 173 does bring up some other elements I want to touch on. Namely Osamu’s place in the story is as strategist. He’s terrible as a fighter, but makes up for it with his intellect. Yet here we have their new team member, Hyuse, ignore the plan and Osamu rolls over in agreement. There’s something to be said for a leader listening to his men, but Osamu doesn’t have much going for him as a lead, and by allowing Hyuse to override decisions without discussion it feels like Osamu loses some worth as a lead. It’s not terrible, but Osamu is one of the weaker shonen leads in the current line up.

There’s also Chika, who continues her “I can’t shoot people” shtick. It’s not a terrible character arc, but I continue to wonder why they would ever be allowed to join the away team if Chika can’t operate as a full soldier yet. I know it’s shonen, and aimed at a more youthful demographic, with a positive message, but it really, really hampers my suspension of disbelief. Even if we’re already dealing with the whole concept of child soldiers the manga is based on.

Things end on a high note though. Chika may not be able to shoot people, but boy can she cause some fun and massive destruction. Overall these chapters are still typical World Trigger, high points, and low points. I don’t think a lot will change with any of our characters until we move past the Rank Wars and actually get on that away mission. With how detailed the fights are though, and the new monthly schedule, I think it might be over a year before we get there.

That’s it for this week! Let me know what your thoughts are on World Trigger in the comments below.

World Trigger is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Chapters 152-160 are collected in Volume 18 which released on January 2nd, 2018. Chapters discussed today will be collected and released next year. Probably. Maybe?

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