Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Asadora! v. 1–3 by Naoki Urasawa

Asadora! v. 1–3 by Naoki Urasawa
VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
Publication Dates: January 19, 2021; April 20, 2021; July 27, 2021
ISBN: 9781974717460; 9781974720101; 9781974720118

The story starts with an apocalyptic monster attack, but the real story of Asadora! begins in the 1950s with a young girl, Asa Asada. She is sent out in a storm to look for a doctor to deliver yet another baby for her family when she is kidnapped by mistake by an unlucky former pilot, Kasuga. Everything changes quickly when a massive storm hits Asa’s hometown, and the two work together to fly a plane to search for Asa’s family and other survivors. The two see a mysterious giant tail amidst the damage but manage to escape danger and reunite Asa with a few of her younger siblings. Years later, when Asa is 17, she is performing as a stunt pilot, and she has become part of a small found family with her siblings, Kasuga, and Kinuyo, who runs a diner. Asa is recruited to find and destroy the creature she saw before the Olympics in Tokyo begin. Volume 3 ends with Asa agreeing to help, hoping to find her remaining family.

Fans of history, action, and kaijus will be drawn into the world of Asadora! as the mysteries unfold in the series. Asa, the main character, is very likeable and having her as the viewpoint character helps ground the sci-fi elements of the story. The mystery is a slow burn, and each volume provides more details and questions regarding what exactly happened during the tsunami that kicks off the story. The artwork is very detailed, and characters have distinct personalities and expressions that help the story flow and keep the reader engaged. 

Asadora! has appeal for manga readers who enjoy classic manga series featuring teen protagonists and sci-fi elements like Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo. This will also appeal to fans of kaiju films, including the recent Godzilla vs. Kong or Pacific Rim. Finally, fans of found families in science fiction such as the TV show Stranger Things or the graphic novel series Lifeformed by Cassie Anderson and Matt Mair Lowery will enjoy this manga series.

—Rachel Johannigmeier

Other Nominated Titles

  • Home Sick Pilots, v.1: Teenage Haunts by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard (May 25, 2021)
  • My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley (March 16, 2021)
  • MPLS Sound by Hannibal Tabu, Joseph Phillip Illidge, and Meredith Laxton (April 13, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.

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Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.