PSYREN Vol. 4 by Toshiaki Iwashiro (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
April 22, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Toshiaki Iwashiro’s “Psyren” has quickly become one of my favorite manga’s of 2012. At first, the manga series seemed a bit banal with its action/alternate world storyline but the more the storyline progresses, you realize how deep, complex and enjoyable “Psyren” truly is. Volume 4 answers the question of what happened to future Tokyo and the people who are responsible for the destruction. This is one volume that fans will definitely not want to miss!
Image courtesy of © 2007 by Toshiaki Iwashiro. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: PSYREN Vol. 4
STORY AND ART BY: Toshiaki Iwashiro (岩代 俊明)
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC
RATED: T for Older Teen
Available on May 1, 2012
Melzez’s Door Ageha’s fully aware of how little he understands his newfound abilities. But when a mysterious millionaire introduces him to a group of Psionist kids who also have powers, his training ramps up and his confidence grows. Has he learned enough to survive? A glimpse into the dark future has him not so sure.
What caused the epic disaster in Tokyo and when did it take place? These questions are answered in the latest volume 4 of Toshiaki Iwashiro’s hit manga series “Psyren”.
The manga series which is featured in Japan on Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine (as well as the American edition) and is reminiscent of manga such as “Yu Yu Hakusho”, “Gantz” and “Bleach” is full of action as a group of high school students are whisked into a futuristic, apocalyptic version of Japan. The only way they can get back home is by reaching a gate, but between that gate and their starting point are monsters and things waiting to kill them.
“Psyren” focuses on Ageha Yoshina, a high-school student who is known to take people’s money (10,000 yen) to provide his service and he will take care of their problem. Known for getting into fights and being a troublemaker, helping people is his good side and even at times not charging the pretty students at school for his services.
But not so supportive of his fighting is his older sister Fubuki, his guardian who is a pretty strong fighter herself and will not put up with him being late or getting in trouble.
One day, while Ageha is coming home, he hears a payphone ringing. He goes to answer it but hears nothing, but sees a phone card inside with the words “Psyren” but thinks nothing of it.
The following day, he sees his old former childhood friend Sakurako Amamiya coming into class and thinks about the old days when she was popular, friendly, social and caring. But now she’s anti-social, often coming to class with bruises and cuts and he can only wonder what is going on in her life.
Later in the day, he sees a few female students stealing her stuff and hiding it. As he goes to see what they have hidden, he realizes that the girls stole her wallet which has her “Psyren” card. As he goes to return it to her, she notices that she was frantic. As Ageha reminds her that for 10,000 yen ($100 bucks) he can help her, she cries out “Save Me” which startles him.
The following day, Sakurako had stopped showing up to school.
His friends tell him that Sakurako has been caught up with the whole “Psyren” legend and that there is a secret society and people have been disappearing. He also learns that for anyone with an unused Psyren card, people are willing to pay 5 million yen for one.
Worried about Sakurako, Ageha chooses to use the card and suddenly he is asked all these questions. The next day at school, men posing as police men are going after him, men who want his Psyren card. As he fights these men, the two are overpowering him and he runs away. While running away, his cell phone rings and while he is being chased, he disappears and ends up in an unknown location.
While he walks around the devastated area, he sees a giant caterpillar going after a man who screams for help. As Ageha goes to help, Sakurako with her sword comes out of nowhere and defeats it.
But Sakurako is very sick and before she faints in Ageha’s arms, she tells him that they need to clear the stage before they can get back home. And she asks him to please clear the stage with her.
As Ageha carries Sakurako, he seeks shelter in a building where people are gathered. He quickly realizes that the people gathering are a bunch of punks who have been wanting a Psyren card for the purpose of making money.
And within this group, each seem as if they will kill each other for the sake of making money.
When the phone rings, the group are told that they need to find a gate and everyone except Ageha and Sakurako go out and search for this gate. But when Sakurako awakens and finds out that everyone has headed towards a dangerous area, she fears that all of them will be slaughtered and feels that they need to be warned.
So, now Ageha and a sick Sakurako must hurry and get to the group before they are slaughtered. Will they make it in time?
In volume 3 of “Psyren”, Ageha, Hiryu and Sakurako are joined by two more members, Oboro Michizuki and Kabuto Kirisaki. As Oboro is out temporarily due to him developing his Psy power, an unknown being and a large worm is standing in their way of getting to the gate.
The unknown being appears to be the classmate and best friend of Hiryu Asaga who was whisked into the world of Psyren, but it is not known if he is the same person, as the guy that Hiryu knew was weak-minded and not a good fighter. The person that is awaiting them has a weapon that charges on Psy power and he is quite deadly.
But as part of the game, Ageha and friends must find a way to get to the gate and study their enemy. But if this unknown person is Hiryu’s best friend Tatsuo…the person he has been looking for all this time, will they need to kill him?
In volume 3, Ageha managed to activate the power known as Melzez Door, a pitch black sphere of blast energy that consumes energy completely and can kill everything in its path. Knowing that Ageha can probably be killed (along with his friends), Sakurako goes to Matsuri Yagumo for help.
Meanwhile, as Ageha and friends are trained, during their next entry to Psyren, Kabuto Kirisaki looks for his uncle’s underground facility (which his uncle stayed in, as he feared of disaster hitting Japan). Because he was underground, Kabuto along with the others hope their may be details of what happened to Tokyo in the future and when the catastrophic disaster took place.
“Psyren” features the following characters:
Ageha Yoshina: The tough troublemaker in school who will help people with their problems for 10,000 yen. Although, he tends to not take money from pretty girls at his school. He lives with his sister Fubuki who is very tough on him. One day, while walking home, Ageha hears a payphone ringing and discovers a Psyren telephone card. Very good at fighting. He has shown amazing Psi powers, especially the devastating Melzez Door…but at this time, unable to control it.
Sakurako Amamiya: She was once a popular, smiling, sociable student. Now she has become anti-social, no longer smiling and comes to school looking as if she was beaten up. One day, a group of girls steal her purse and inside is a psyren card. Fortunately, Ageha finds it but when he returns it to her, he tells her that if she needs him, he’ll be there…for 10,000 yen. Her request to Ageha was to save her. Sakuro is the most knowledgeable when it comes to Psyren and is a powerful fighter.
Hiryu Asaga – One of the tough guys that Ageha meets when he enters the Psyren world. Hiryu has been searching for his friend and agrees to help Ageha, who saved his life in the Psyren world.
Oboro Mochizuki – One of the newer students whisked into Psyren and is developing his Psy powers. In reality, Oboro is a popular idol in Japan. Looked at as unusual by his teammates (wanting to hug them), he has the ability to cure them with they are injured.
Kabuto Kirisaki – One of the newer members in Psyren to join Ageha and friends, selfish unless it comes to helping a beautiful girl, Kabuto.
Matsuri Yagumo – A famous concert pianist and a veteran of Psyren. She was able to escape the final gate from Psyren and now tries to help those who are battling in Psyren. She is the person who helped train Sakurako and is now training the other members in controlling their powers. She wishes she can go back to Psyren.
Kagetora Hyodo – A friend of Matsuri and he adores her. He has the appearance of a yakuza member and is quite powerful. He takes part in the physical combat training of Ageha and friends. He is unaware of Psyren and was born with his psi powers.
Ian – A superior psi cure user but is not aware of Psyren. He is unfriendly and only cares about Matsuri.
Fubiki Yoshina – Ageha’s older sister and guardian. She is very strict with Ageha and doesn’t like him being late or getting into trouble. She is also a fighter and adores the idol Oboro.
Nemesis Q – A mysterious being that is sent from the future to find people worthy of using PSI and teaching them about the future and stop Psyren from occurring.
Elmore Tenjuin – A wealthy old woman and a clairvoyant Psychicer who’s husband Koper was disintegrated when he told her about Psyren. She now raises orphaned children with Psi abilities.
Shao – A Chinese boy who can track people and also sense their power level, as well as their true nature. He is being taken care of by Elmore Tenjuin.
Frederica – A spoiled young girl with the power of pyrokinesis. Ageha was inspired by her ability to control her devastating power. She is being taken care of by Elmore Tenjuin.
Mari – A shy girl who uses telekinesis. Often picked on by Frederica and is taken care of by Elmore Tenjuin.
Kyle – A mischievous but powerful boy who later looks up to Ageha (as they are both brash). He is being taken care of by Elmore Tenjuin.
Van – A quiet and kind boy who can heal. He is being taken care of by Elmore Tenjuin.
“Psyren” Vol. 4 is another exciting and possibly the most important manga volume series that fans should not miss!
Not only are a good number of characters (important characters) introduced in this volume but we also learn more about the disaster in Tokyo and who were responsible, but also who were involved in the rebellion against those who caused the catastrophic disaster in Tokyo.
While the previous volumes focused on the action and the characters in the Psyren world (future post-apocalyptic Tokyo), this volume focuses on the characters as they show their real lives but also the training and powers that the others have and also knowledge that other Psi users were born with their abilities and have no idea that Psyren exists (note: Anyone who goes to Psyren can not tell anyone about it or they will automatically be disintegrated).
But as this series starts to take shape, in the past, I have mentioned how this series reminded me of “Bleach” and “Yu Yu Hakusho” but you also now get a “Gantz” like storyline as the group are transferred to the Psyren World which there are those who use their Psi powers for evil.
So, this fourth volume is important as it introduces us to these people who were born with these powers and most likely will have an important connection to Ageha and friends as the storyline progresses.
Overall, “Psyren” continues to get better and better with each volume and while it does have slight similarities to “Gantz”, “Bleach” and “Yu Yu Hakusho”, I’m really enjoying the series and Toshiaki Iwashiro’s ability to focus on the character’s development and the actual strategy of the game and each battle. Each volume, the story gets better and better and it has now become one of my favorite manga’s of 2012.
If you are looking for a well-written, very cool action-packed manga series, “Psyren” is highly recommended.
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