Twin Spica Volume 2 by Kou Yaginuma
I am woefully behind on this series, but I guess that can be a good thing as I can look forward to reading plenty of volumes to get caught up. One of the things I was struck with in this volume is Yaginuma’s economy when packing the story full of emotional beats. He manages to create many genuinely affecting scenes in only a few pages. Twin Spica might be a little sentimental, but the sentiment is earned. Asumi has been admitted to space school and prepares to follow her dream of becoming an astronaut. The second volume starts out with a melancholy note as Asumi has to say goodbye to her spiritual companion Mr. Lion. He runs along her train yelling at her not to cry and to do her best. Asumi promptly gets her skirt stuck in the train door.
When she arrives at space school, she’s reunited with her fellow recruits. They have to face grueling physical training and hard science classes. Even though Asumi is one of the smallest in her class, she’s one of the quickest due to some of the training exercises Mr. Lion has put her through. Asumi’s natural tenacity might not be enough to overcome her being singled out by a teacher who doesn’t approve of her father and her need for an expensive custom flight suit. The flashback episodes in Twin Spica are the most affecting. While the first volume dealt with Asumi’s trauma over losing her mother, the second volume focuses on a friend from Asumi’s childhood who was also affected by the spaceship crash that overshadows Asumi’s current life and dreams. Asumi’s relentless pursuit of friendship and her refusal to give up even when facing rejection will hopefully carry over into a triumph over her issues at space school.
There’s a contrast in Twin Spica between Asumi’s natural innocence and optimism and the cynical approach of many of her teachers at space school. Asumi’s persistence despite her obstacles makes her a heroine you want to root for. While she may be starry-eyed in her quest for space, the administrators at space school aren’t willing to make sacrifices for a promising student that doesn’t fit the exact physical profile for an astronaut. Asumi stands out, and that can be a bad thing as she learns more about her father’s involvement in the crash. This was a good second volume, but I have a feeling that the series really starts to get going in the next couple volumes. I need to get caught up soon!