Monday, January 8, 2018

Girl's Last Tour Vol. #02 Manga Review

What even is cheese?

Creative Staff:
Story & Art: Tsukumizu
Translation: Amanda Haley
Lettering: Xian Michele Lee

What They Say:
Distant lights illuminating the darkness pique Chito's and Yuuri's curiosity, so the two hop aboard their beloved Kettenkrad and head for the horizon. What they find may not be what they were looking for, but the surviving fragments of civilization are enough to keep them going. There's no telling what other strange surprises lie in store as their journey continues.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
In my nearly six-month absence since the manga's debut, I can't say with any amount of certainty that I have missed Girl's Last Tour. In fact, the pilot volume was so unremarkable that, as time went by, I actually started disliking it. It was strange- even though I was so distant from the series as a whole (Hell, I didn't even touch the anime), any time it was brought up around me I kind of just shoved my hands into my pockets and though, "Huh...I guess that was a thing I read." Even with that, however, I decided to give the franchise another shot. I mean, I was a big fan of its backdrops and setting and whatnot, so I figured that volume two might be a good spot for the book the regain its footing.

Early on in the second installment, it's made clear that we'll be reverting to the less linear format that the first half of the pilot took up. The girls' Kettenkrad (Tank) winds up breaking down after they crash into some weird worm (?) statue thing and they're sort of just left confused and hungry. Knowing full well that they need to seek shelter before rainfall, the girls wind up shacking up in some old warehouse-type building. As the rain begins to fall, it drips through cracks in the ceiling, slowly soaking their temporary home. Chiito, being the more fun of the two girls, winds up moving around various objects and observing the different noises the rain makes when colliding with them. After scattering a few more things, Yuuri mentions something along the lines of, "I guess this is what music is like-" which would have been a totally awesome and enlightening topic if these girls were able to drag out their stale an uninteresting dialogue for more than four panels at a time.

Eventually, the rain stops and our soldiers set out yet again. Then, in a completely unique and not-at-all reminiscent of book-one fashion, they come across a strange human with a unique profession- building planes or something? Honestly, I'm not sure. If this woman is actually some type of flight engineer, she's certainly not very good at it. Either way, she lets the girls crash with her under the pretense that they help her finish building her plane- something they are equally unqualified to do. What gets confusing here is that a few pages go by and, somehow, the plane is miraculously fixed. However, it is important to note that in this small amount of time, no one has done literally anything. They sort of sit there and talk about planes for a few minutes and then, boom, the plane is fixed. I was unaware that the key to aviation technology was verbal counselling. If I had known this earlier, I feel as though my career path would have changed at least a little bit.

The final section of the manga shows our new side character (Whose name escapes me due to unimportance) taking flight over the post-apocalyptic wasteland only to have one of the plane's wings break off several second in (I'd imagine this is due to the fact that she let two ten-year-olds help build it). But before things actually get even the slightest amount of interesting, the pilot slowly and anticlimactically parachutes back down to the ground because god forbid anything actually happens in this series. At the end of the day, the Kettenkrad is also [somehow] fixed and the girls, once again, set out on their 'last tour.'

In Summary:
Girl's Last Tour proves once again that you can not carry a manga with simply background art alone. It's hard to tell if its due to the translation or just the writing itself, but the dialogue for this entire series is so bland and uninteresting that I'd even go as far as calling it a chore to read at times. Mix this with the fact that the characters exemplify the same amount of individuality as a can of mandarin oranges and you have a story that feels closer to half-assed history lecture than an adventure series. I truly hoped that coming into volume two after such a long a break would help me change my mind and rewrite my original impressions. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to stick to my guns. Girls' Last Tour isn't bad, really- it's just incredibly boring.

Content Grade: C-
Art Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: C

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 22, 2017
MSRP: $14.99

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