Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee 2 by Hiroyuki Asada: C

tegamibachi2From the back cover:
Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-blade wilderness is infested with Gaichuu—colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

Lag is close to becoming a Letter Bee! On the way to his final interview at the National Postal Service, he found a dingo: Niche, a feral young girl with shocking strength and hair made of golden swords. Now, as they approach the bridge to the middle-class district, they stop to rest in Kyrie, a desperado town. They meet Nelli, a friendly young man who shows them to an inn. Nelli’s so helpful that they never notice him steal Lag’s crossing pass!

Volume two of Tegami Bachi demonstrates what happens when a flawed but intriguing series picks the less interesting of the two characters introduced in its first chapter for a protagonist. Without Gauche Suede, the experienced letter carrier who inspired Lag Seeing to want to follow in his footsteps, the volume flounders for the first half as Lag and his “dingo,” Niche, make their way to his Letter Bee interview in Yuusari, a nicer part of Amberground than the area in which Lag grew up.

A lot of the problem here is Niche, an acutely uncivilized girl with hair that can turn into swords, and her antics. She apparently views her pledge to wear underwear as a symbol of her contract with Lag, so when he suggests she might be safer staying with his aunt than being his dingo, she ditches her bloomers and then nags him for dozens of pages to accept her as his dingo again. This is incredibly annoying. Also, she seems to have acquired a pet/emergency food source (think Menchi in Excel Saga) called Steak, who is a source for some regrettable pee and fart gags.

Once Lag makes it to his interview, though, things start looking up. The European-inspired architecture in Yuusari makes for some lovely backgrounds, and the other/older Letter Bees are pretty cool. Lag also does extremely well on his letter-delivery test, almost as well as Gauche, about whom he learns some surprising information.

Some of these merits are also flaws, however, since practically everything is more interesting than Lag and Niche, and looks better, too. I’d much rather read a story starring Largo Lloyd, the director of “The Beehive,” for example, and the only thing that inclines me to read the third volume is that we might learn more about Gauche. About the main duo I care practically nothing. It’s almost as if Asada wants to make his story more sophisticated, but is shackled by some Shonen Jump mandate concerning adolescent humor. Whatever the case, I’m going to give this series one more chance to win me over, but I’m not feeling too optimistic.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. Oh, you should definitely stick with it. Tegamibachi is one of my favorite series ever and the story is amazing.


  1. […] in January when I reviewed volume two, I said I’d give Tegami Bachi one more chance to win me over. As problematic as the series […]

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