Graphic Novel Review: Asadora! Volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa

Asadora! Volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa / N Wood Studio. Translation & adaptation by John Werry. Viz, 2021. 9781974717460. Publisher’s Rating: T+ Older Teen for ages 16 and up.

This series opens in 2020 Tokyo with a giant monster laying waste to the city. Then it cuts to Nagoya in 1959 where a young girl, Asa, is trying to make it to a doctor’s office as a typhoon closes in on the city. (Her mother needs the doc because she’s in labor, and no one can remember Asa’s name because she has so many siblings.) The storm sounds like some kind of animal, and as Asa starts running home she meets (and passes) her friend Sho, who is training for the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics. By the next day she’ll have been kidnapped, helped steal a plane, and become an integral part of the disaster relief as she looks for her missing family. She’ll also notice a detail that ties the disaster into what’s happening in Tokyo in 2020.

No one starts a series in a way that’s more compelling that Urasawa, and this may be his best yet. Asa is friendly and just outrageous enough that I wanted to root for her right from the start. Volume 2 continues her story and then jumps ahead to when Asa is at 17. By the end of Volume 3 the greater mystery about the giant monster has developed a bit more, and it’s clear that Asa will be an integral part of figuring out what’s going on. Good stuff.


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