Manga: Train + Train, Volumes 1 and 2

This manga series is from the same author as “Read or Die.” It is the story of an unlikely couple, the raucous Arena and the mild mannered Reiichi. In this world children go off to board school trains. Reiichi and his childhood friend, Liae, travel to planet Deluca to board the general education train when, through a cultural misunderstanding, Liae pisses off a big lion-man-beast. Arena, who is on the run for various reasons saves the mild-manner pair from a serious beating before Arena’s pursuers show up. Due to some complications, Arena and Reiichi get handcuffed together for 99-hours, and Reiichi is tricked and forced to board the “Special Train” that Arena has vowed to catch. Suddenly, Reiichi is faced with a life way outside the norm he thought he was destined for and so the adventures of Arena and Reiichi begin …

So far I like this series a lot. I like Arena’s spunkiness and Reiichi is turning out not to be the mild-manner wimp he had settled on being. It’s nice seeing how in just two volume how much confidence and manliness Reiichi has developed. The side characters are weird, mainly for the sake of weirdness. They add to the atmosphere, but not to the story, which may be a drawback as the story progresses. Usually, I don’t like it when the story take detours into the lives of the side characters, but this series is really too sparing with backstories for the accessory characters. The violence in this manga is well tempered — not too much and not too little and it’s not lost on the reader that these characters are in real danger. In the notes, the mangaka wrote he we was worried that pairing a male and female character together would eventually make this story become a romance. Personally, that is what I want to see. Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait to se how this progresses.

If you like action and adventure, I highly recommend this manga series. I will give updates as I progress through the story.

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