Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On the Coffee Table: Twin Spica

Title: Twin Spica, Volume 1
Writer and Artist: Kou Yaginuma
via Wikipedia
Asumi is a high school student with dreams of space exploration.  She is accepted to space school in Tokyo - a Hogwarts for astronauts? - but first must convince her father to let her go.  So begins the scifi/supernatural adventure Twin Spica, a Japanese manga first published in 2002, now available in translation. The story is set in a not-too-distant future in which Japan has already attempted to launch its own manned rocket - an attempt that ended disastrously.

For her first test upon arriving at the school, Asumi is locked into a barren dorm room with two other girls for several days, tasked with building an enormous domino run.  If they give up, they're out of the program.  It is also apparent that they are being observed via video camera, presumably to assess their interactions.  Of course, one of the girls is easy to get along with, the other not so much.

With the female protagonist and the fantasy elements, this is an obvious choice to pass on to my ten-year-old daughter at some point but I think I'll wait a little while.  The language is occasionally on the mature side.   It's classified by the publishers as seinen, meaning it's aimed at younger men, approximately 17-40.  I think Our Girl will be okay with it long before she's 17, though.

Volume 1 includes the first four issues of the manga series plus two prequel stories.  In Japan, the story has spawned two television series: one animated, one live-action.  There are 12 English-language volumes in all.  With strong characters and compelling storytelling, this one's looking like a long-term winner for me.


  1. Sounds like an awesome read. But it makes me wish I could go to Space School. :P

    1. It does kind of sound like fun, though a bit like a military academy in that they're clearly trying to scare people away.

  2. Must ask Japanese son about this.
    I wonder what some of his Junior High students (Girls School) and University classes (both) think about this.
    Sounds interesting must look this up.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I would be interested to know what you learn from him.