Futaba is a sixth grade boy without a care in the world, despite being the baby of his family (and therefore the recipient of much nagging from his older siblings) and proclaiming himself abnormally short and clumsy for his age. However, Futaba’s life takes a most unexpected turn when Kiara, a beautiful Amaranthine girl, shows up and mistakenly believes Futaba to be her master. By the time she realizes her mistake, her fate has already become inextricably intertwined with Futaba’s, and the two of them are whisked off to Kiara’s home world, which is unlike anything Futaba has ever seen. He must help Kiara to find her true master and thereby prevent Kiara’s powers from falling into the wrong hands. Strange phenomena abound, including twin princes who are both named Virid but who are faced with the quandary that only one can become king. What actions will such a desperate predicament drive each Virid to commit in the name of the throne, and how will these actions affect Futaba and Kiara? And is their cute yet mysterious guide Lady Belbel have Futaba and Kiara’s best interests at heart, or is she merely using them for her own personal gain? The story ends with a cliffhanger, and one is left with the feeling that this first volume merely skims the surface of the story while hinting that there is much more to come. All of the main characters are introduced here but none of them are explored in true detail. Their personalities are only hinted at, and further reading is necessary to become truly immersed in their world. As such, the first volume may seem somewhat rushed and confusing, but what it does excel at is inspiring curiosity as to where all of this is leading. In addition, Beyond The Beyond is sprinkled throughout with comedic moments to keep things lighthearted, and the detailed and beautifully drawn artwork does well at enhancing the overall atmosphere. All in all, it is an enjoyable read but since this first volume is so short, it ends up serving as little more than a brief introduction. It is difficult to fully enjoy without venturing further into the story and may be somewhat confusing if read solely on its own.
Beyond the Beyond, vol. 1
By Yoshitomo Watanabe