My first piece of advice is to read this series! My second piece of advice is to start with volume one. I started with this volume (#7) and definitely felt a little behind in the story.
Lag and Zazie are Letter Bees – delivering mail between the isolated cities of Amberground. Letter Bees don’t just deliver letters: they deliver peoples hearts (and let me just say here that I’m not totally clear what that means.). Our story opens with Zazie and his pet, Wasoilka, discovering that there have been more letters stolen. There is clearly a thief systematically stealing letters, but who and for what reason?
Meanwhile Lag, and his partner Niche have arrived at the village of Blue Note Blues by the cave of the Maka, the guardian of the land. Legend tells of how two hundred years ago, a famine came to the land. A pregnant woman, Celica, went into the sacred cave to drink the water. The legend says that anyone who drinks the sacred water will live for one thousand years. Celica returned from the cave and lived long enough to give birth to twin girls. But the twins were clearly marked as Maka. They didn’t look quite human. These babies lived, unchanged, on water alone for twenty years, and then disappeared. Or so the story goes.
In spite of being warned away from the cave by the villagers, Lag and Niche go into the cave to explore. There they find – Niche’s twin? Can Niche really be part Maka? And what is the true story of what happened two hundred years ago?
Despite not having read the first volumes of this series, I was drawn into the story. There were parts that were not totally clear to me, but enough is explained that it is possible to follow the larger plot points. There is a short recap at the beginning of the volume to help place this story in context.
I love the art in this, especially the Maka who has hair (well, for lack of a better word we’ll call it hair) that can form into a sword or a fist, grow or shrink, even become clothes. It swirls around her growing, expanding, or morphing shape as needed. It helps show her mood, depending on whether it is gently swirling around her body or poised for attack in front of her. It is an opportunity for the artist to really let loose, and Asada takes full advantage of that.
Recommended for older middle school and up (in this volume, mild nudity, guns, and giant insects).
Tegami Bachi, vol. 7
by Hioyuki Asada
Viz Media, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: (Ages 12 and up)