Fence Volume 5: Rise
The boys’ fencing school series continues with a new original volume, and I’m so glad to see it’s still going.
In Fence: Rise (the fifth volume of the graphic novel series, written by C.S Pacat, art by Johanna the Mad), the fiercely competitive Seiji is finding himself more open to his first friendship with his roommate, the scrappy, garrulous Nicholas. The team goes to a training camp, where their members face off against several other schools and fencers, revealing more about their history and motivations.
Pacat does a wonderful job keeping the ongoing character development going throughout the series while still making this volume satisfying on its own. (Although I’m eager to see more, as always.) Johanna’s art marvelously blends the action, the comedy (with exaggerated reactions), and the emotion among the wide variety of cast members. In a story with a bunch of guys who all dress alike, it takes skill to differentiate them quickly and so well.
There’s information about fencing techniques (particularly attacking with the flick!) and competitive strategies, plus plenty of soap opera, with growing relationships, family history, and determined rivalries.
This reminds me, in all the best ways, of a sports manga, blending competition and friendship and all these various characters living together at school, learning about themselves and growing up.
(The publisher provided a digital review copy. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)