ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Asadora!,’ Volume 3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Asadora Volume 3

Asadora Volume 3 is written by mangaka Naoki Urasawa (20th Century Boys) and published through Viz Media. Volume 3 of this series follows Asa and her adopted family right before the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 as they keep uncovering the mystery surrounding the monster Asa saw during the events of volume 1.

From the get-go, Urasawa sets the themes of sci-fi and mystery. He has Asa run into a scientist who was working directly on a project involving unidentified large creatures. I personally love how Urasawa characterizes Asa as a person who does not accept anything less than the truth and does not ever doubt her instincts.  Despite researchers and her adopted father telling her that there was not the way she saw a kaiju, she sticks to her guns and knows that she has to uncover the truth by herself. This makes for interesting character dynamics throughout Asadora Volume 3.

Readers get to journey with Asa as she befriends the scientist and comes in contact with government officials looking into the matter as well. The scientist is quiet, reserved, and unsure of why Asa is so invested in the research his team has been working on. Urasawa’s art shines during these interactions because he is able to capture emotion so well. My favorite instance of this is when Asa realizes that she may have to go solo on her findings and the expressions of bewilderment and anger radiate off the character. Urasawa doesn’t need to write any dialogue between this exchange. The natural flow of the emotions of the characters is captured throughout the sharp facial movements from heavily-lined furrowed brows to subtle shifts in the weight of a character. The determination of Asa’s detective work mixed with the skepticism of her new friend bounces off of each other well.

Not only is the mystery aspect written well, but the drama surrounding the story is also picking up. Asa’s adopted mother runs a restaurant and Asa works in it.  It is relatable how she struggles to keep up with her familial expectations, going to school, and engaging with her hobby of flying planes. She tries to balance her social life while also pondering where this monster could be after all these years. What’s so great about Asadora Volume 3 is that the blend of sci-fi into the narrative feels so natural to the characters and their world. Sometimes, introducing monsters second can feel abrupt and disjointed and there is none of that present within this manga. The lettering helps provide a clean, easy flow to the manga. Its speech bubbles never impede on Urasawa’s beautiful artwork.

Asadora Volume 3 is a great segue into blending kaiju sci-fi with the exploration of adolescent character drama. Urasawa brings me back into what sold me on the series with a well-written mystery, a great manga protagonist, and beautiful artwork. If you’ve ever wondered about what a good kaiju story featuring humans could be like, be sure to pick up Asadora Volume 3.

Asadora Volume 3 can be pre-ordered using our bookshop affiliate link here and is available everywhere manga is sold on August 17, 2021.

‘Asadora!,’ Volume 3
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TL;DR

Asadora Volume 3 is a great segue into blending kaiju sci-fi with the exploration of adolescent character drama. Urasawa brings me back into what sold me on the series with a well-written mystery, a great manga protagonist, and beautiful artwork. If you’ve ever wondered about what a good kaiju story featuring humans could be like, be sure to pick up Asadora Volume 3.