World Trigger 182-185 – 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:

World Trigger 182 through 185 suffer many of the same problems as last time: Overly lengthy discussion of the upcoming battle, intense strategy meetings that often go over the same elements with only superficial variety, and a failure to break any of that up enough that things don’t start to feel  monotonous. That said, there are places here where the series shines. It’s from little moments to finally getting our characters back to the battlefield, and ready to close this lengthy arc out with a bang. Let’s jump in!

With the bump up to two chapters a month, rather than one, the series almost gets away with the intense and lengthy battle prep discussion that seems to never end. Almost. The trouble is we keep looping back to the same problems, but with only minute progress on any of these issues. It can really feel like Osamu and Co. are stuck in a rut, focused on but the same two or three problems hounding them in the next match, and it takes forever for them to actually make any progress.

Chapter 182 is especially frustrating because it acts as a ‘catch up’ chapter, but for the characters rather than the audience. It’s mostly about Osamu and the others sharing what they’ve learned, something we don’t need to see. Along with 183 I’d argue there’s actually a lot of dialogue that can be cut. The purpose of pre-battle discussion is to instill strategy, but also introduce obstacles that need to be overcome for victory. Frequently though we spend longer than necessary to get those points across, often allowing characters a lot of back and forth dialogue that doesn’t truly amount to any progress. While strategy is a large part of this manga, sometimes its better to let the audience mule over these ideas than have the manga rehash it again and again.

That said, 183 has a shining moment I absolutely love. Osamu has come up with an idea for how to defeat Ninomiya, and it involves exploiting him emotionally. The idea is to get Ninomiya to act less on calm collection and more on impulse. As Karasuma questions Osamu to whether that will actually work we get a great flashback to some subtle dialogue Ninomiya’s had in the past, showcasing that the man does indeed get heated, even if only just. It’s perfect justification for Osamu’s plan and rings as one of the stronger and more subtle moments in the manga.

Chapter 184, unfortunately, is another chapter that draws things out. While we’re now at the start of the final Rank Wars match, things take a whole chapter to actually get going. The commentators get a lengthy bit explaining events of other matches, speculation, etc. before we jump to each team’s pre-battle hang. Most of what’s here isn’t particularly memorable. For Yuba Squad it’s about rehashing some of the stuff we’ve already seen when Kuga went to visit them, or for another team it’s about showing how aloof they can be. The only pre-battle hang that actually works is Ninomiya’s and that’s because it’s short, sweet and to the point. We don’t drag it out for pages. World Trigger really needs to learn brevity and how to jam as much characterization into dialogue as possible without having to go on for pages and pages.

All that said, 185 is a return to form. With the battle started we get an excellent mix of commentary, strategy and mayhem. We even get to see Amatori take honest to god shots at people with deadly ammo and boy is it memorable. Already our characters seem boxed into a corner and while Amatori’s willingness to shoot is a boon, it looks like Osamu and Co. have got their last match cut out for them.

The next set of chapters should be splendid, seeing as World Trigger typically knows how to balance action and strategy once the fight gets going. But in the future, if we do another arc like this, our author really needs to learn to keep things short, sweet and to the point. Cram as much as you can into as little dialogue and discussion as possible, rather than dragging things out chapter after chapter. If he can manage to do that then I think it’ll make World Trigger all the better.

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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