Advance Review: ‘Asadora!’ Volume 1 Puts A New Spin On Kaiju Action
by James Ferguson
Come for the giant monster, stay for the compelling character drama as only Naoki Urasawa can deliver.
Asa is one of twelve siblings and the one that people forget the most. Despite this, she’s trying to help her family and others where she can. When her mother goes into labor as a typhoon descends on Japan, she heads out in search for a doctor. Asa ends up getting kidnapped which may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her in a round about way. This is just the start of her adventure.
The hook for Asadora!: Volume 1 has to do with a giant monster. It’s right in front in the description of the book and we see its effects in 2020 in the opening pages. That’s about the only mention of this creature we get in this volume as the vast majority takes place in 1959. The thing is, I didn’t even notice this until I finished the book. That’s how good creator Naoki Urasawa’s story is. The giant monster is a distant second when compared to Asa’s compelling tale.
As enjoyable as Godzilla movies can be, I often lament how there’s not much of a story there, especially for the humans. What can these people do against or with these giant monsters? They’re like ants. Asadora! solves that problem by putting tons of character development in this first volume.
Although the monster doesn’t really appear in this volume, there are several ominous moments and strange sounds heard from afar. You have to wonder when this creature will make its presence felt. These roars come from far off in the distance and serve to stop everyone in their tracks when they spread across the page.
Urasawa is a master at character work. You get an immediate sense of each personality at play based on their design. You know right away that Asa is a plucky, yet frustrated youngster with an attitude. She’s also adorable and it’s easy to get wrapped up in her life from the first time you see her.
Every single detail in Asadora!: Volume 1 contributes to the plot in some shape or fashion. Each piece of dialogue leads to something. This makes it such a great book to re-read as you might find additional details that led to a bigger moment down the line that you missed the first time around. This is expert level storytelling.
I picked up Asadora!: Volume 1 with the promise of a giant monster, but I stayed for the fantastic and riveting story about a young girl trying to help people despite all the obstacles that get in her way. It puts a human face on a kaiju story. This volume creates a strong foundation for what is shaping up to be a fascinating and compelling tale. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Asadora!: Volume 1 from VIZ Media is set for release on January 19th, 2021. It’s available for pre-order at your local comic shop, bookstore, and Amazon.