Twin Spica Book 3

Now that I’m well into this series about a girl who wants to be an astronaut, I’m finding the pacing a bit odd.

Twin Spica Book 3 cover
Twin Spica Book 3
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I was very curious to find out how the cliffhanger — what did her dad have to do with the spaceship crash that so changed everyone’s lives? — from Book 2 played out, but its impact was blunted here. Instead of drama, we get Asumi running home… only to never meet up with her dad. I would have rather seen the confrontation, even if it turned out to be discussion or reconciliation.

Perhaps that lack of encounter is meant to be important in itself, reflective of how Asumi needs to rely on herself more — in which case, I found myself wondering why Mr. Lion is playing more of a role? I thought he’d be gone now that she’s in school and on her way to following her dreams. The teacher who was threatening Asumi seems like a different person as well, losing his menace when his class begins boycotting him. Ultimately, he and Asumi are on the same side, an oddly mature end to that particular storyline, but one that feels like a late course correction. At least the extraordinarily lovely art is still consistent throughout the volumes, with a well-realized world to examine.

It makes me wonder if there are more cultural differences to this series than I previously thought. I can’t imagine a teacher being disciplined here because he championed individuality over group self-sacrifice, for example. I also realized that Mr. Lion probably isn’t named that. Instead, he’s probably Lion-San (or the equivalent). I figured this out when everyone kept calling Marika “Miss Ukita” to indicate their distance from her.

Much of the focus in this volume is on the school kids bonding and the importance of friendship, nice to read but more similar to some other series I follow. I liked what previously made this book unique to me, the focus on what Asumi needs to learn to be successful as an astronaut. I was somewhat more satisfied with the second half of this volume, which spotlights Marika, the snobby pretty girl loner, and what made her that way, even if her story raised more questions than it answered.

Although I didn’t like this installment as much as the previous two, I appreciate the author being willing to shake up the series mood and direction. It makes me want to see in what direction he takes book four. And my impression isn’t shared by others; Sean Gaffney, for one, praises the pacing for its deliberateness over the entire series length.

A strange note: No explicit translation credit is included in this volume, although the translator of the previous two, Maya Rosewood, is one of three people credited for “Production”.

2 Comments

  1. I find her continuing relationship with Mr. Lion a little odd too. She’s becoming more mature and self-reliant and opened up to friends which the flashbacks show she had trouble with before. Mr. Lion detracts from all of that, I think. In the present, he adds nothing but a voice for Asumi to bounce thoughts off of when internal monologue would work fine and make her seem as thoughtful as she really is. With Lion mincing around feeding her lines, it can be easy to forget that her mind is capable of any independent thought.

    My main issue with pacing in the series is having those flashback stories all lumped at the end of the book when they could have punctuated the main story spread throughout. I end the main story for the volume with a lot of anticipation for the next, but then there’s a bunch of background flotsam laying around to make me forget the book was anything but sentimental rumination.

    That said, I actually really enjoy this series.

  2. [...] was complaining, in my review of Book 3, that we didn’t see enough of the astronaut training, since I didn’t want another [...]

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