PSYREN Vol. 8 by Toshiaki Iwashiro (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 13, 2013 by  

Toshiaki Iwashiro’s “PSYREN” has quickly become one of my favorite manga’s of 2012. Action-packed from beginning to end, Ageha and friends must take on the newly enhanced Dolkey and Shiner of W.I.S.E., but just when things are looking bad for the group, out of nowhere comes help.  Find out who comes to aid Ageha and friends in their fight against W.I.S.E. in volume eight of “PSYREN”. Highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2007 by Toshiaki Iwashiro. All Rights Reserved.


STORY AND ART BY: Toshiaki Iwashiro (岩代 俊明)



RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on January 1, 2013

A trip to the future brings Ageha face-to-face with a group of friends he thought long dead, and the story they have to tell Ageha about the events of the past decade are truly shocking. The Global Rebirthday has changed everything. Not everyone Ageha cares for has survived, and the W.I.S.E organization is more powerful than ever.

With the future altered by the Psionic kids coming into contact with W.I.S.E, a new future as shown on a video as seen by Ageha and friends show the children still being killed, but a clue left by W.I.S.E. that Grandma Elmore, the guarding of the children will be dying on an airplane flight that is to take place in a day.

But knowing that they are not able to tell anyone about the alternate future of Tokyo, Ageha and friends risk their lives in trying to find a way to keep Grandma Elmore from flying on the plane.  But while Ageha manages to take Elmore’s bag, Nemesis Q who was programmed to prevent Ageha and friends from revealing the future, transports them back to the future.

And now, the W.I.S.E. Star Commanders featuring a newly enhanced Dolkey and Shiner taking on Ageha and friends.  But already knowing about Ageha and their friends powers, do they have any chance in fighting against them?

Meanwhile, an unexpected twists takes place that will set the storyline for “PSYREN” in volume eight of Toshiaki Iwashiro’s action manga series!

What is “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.

In volume 4, as Ageha and friends are trained by these powerful children with psionic powers, 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. And what they find is a video of these kids fighting against an evil group known as W.I.S.E.

Which leads us to volume 5 of “PSYREN”. In the video, one person of W.I.S.E. manages to kill the children with his sephiroth move. But while the group are watching the video, Dolkey of W.I.S.E. shows up and it leads to the first battle between Ageha and friends vs. W.I.S.E. With their new psionic powers and training, will they be powerful enough to take on a member of W.I.S.E.?

In volume 6, W.I.S.E. are shocked that Ageha defeated Dolkey and now want him to join their group. Meanwhile, having transported back to the present time, as they try to find a way to prevent the children from being killed and Tokyo from being destroyed, Kagetora Hyodo is on a mission to hunt down corrupt psionists and asks Ageha to join them. Ageha turns him down because of his goal to save the future (and he is unable to reveal the future as he or any of his friends will be killed by Nemesis Q if they reveal to anyone outside of their group of the future).

But when Kagetora Hyodo goes to hunt down the corrupt psionists, he is unaware that the group may have ties to the group that will one day become known as W.I.S.E.

Also, as Ageha tries to find what he is allowed to do to save the future without being killed, he is revealed by Nemesis Q that it is a psionic program being controlled by some other entity. But who?

In volume 7, as the group manages to rescue Kagetora Hyodo, they also run into Miroku Amagi, the leader of W.I.S.E. who intends to destroy the world in order to create a new slate.

While, Ageha and the children managed to escape and Kyle managing to be healed, because the children had contact with W.I.S.E. in the present, has now altered the future. And on the video that originally showing the children being killed by Miroku Amagi’s “Tree of Sephiroth”, the video has now changed from the children being killed by Junas and Dolkey. But on the video, they mention grandma Elmore Tenjuin dying on a plane accident in July and interesting enough, during the present time, it’s July and Elmore is about to go on a flight.

Fearing that Elmore is going to die that very day, Ageha and friends do all they can to rescue Elmore Tenjuin but because it goes against their rules of warning someone from the future, Nemesis Q appears and tries to prevent them from rescuing her.

Will Ageha and friends manage to send a message to Elmore in time and prevent her death? Or will Nemesis Q get to them first?

In volume 8, Ageha and friends are not sure if they were able to get a message to grandma Elmore in time but now being whisked to the future to fight a new Dolkey and Shiner, the crew are separate and because their power is well-known,

Ageha and Kabuto are left to fight against Dolkey, unaware if their friends are dead or alive.  But with Kabuto nearly dead and Ageha’s leg being blown off, out of nowhere comes the Elmore Wood gang, the psionic children now grown up.

That can only mean that Ageha and friends were able to stop grandma Elmore from being killed and that the children would survive.  But will Elmore’s orphans, now young adults, be powerful enough to take on Dolkey and Shiner?

“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. Revealed to also be a psionic program to kill any helpers who threaten to reveal the future.

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.

Dolkey – The Fifth Star Commander of W.I.S.E. who is impulsive and the first to attack Ageha and friends.

Shiner – The Third Star Commander of W.I.S.E.

Junas – Second Star Commander of W.I.S.E.

All I can say is “WOW!”.  Just when you think that Ageha and friends are pretty much out for the count and that they are pretty much going to die, out of nowhere comes the Elmore Wood gang, now grown up.  And we get to see these young adult version of these kids taking on the newly enhanced Dolkey and Shiner.  Also, learning with this new alternate future, what happened to Tokyo and how the destruction happened and how the monsters were created.

I’m not going to say anything else because so much is revealed in this issue. So, if you are a fan of “PSYREN”, you will definitely love this eighth volume! And if anything, this is an action-packed issue with major developments in the storyline but also significant changes that will have a major impact in the next volume and volumes to come!

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. And for volume 8 alone, what I enjoy about this series is the balance of story and action, where action-driven manga series tend to be focused on action and less story. So, it’s great to have a manga series that is driven with its storyline first and then the action. Illustrations are well-done, but it’s one of the few manga series out now where you find that good balance of story and action and once you start reading it, it’s a series that will easily captivate you and leave you craving for more!

Also, it’s a series that is not too long (with only a total of 16 volumes) and a two-volume “PSYREN -Another Call 2-“, so unlike action manga such as “BLEACH” or “NARUTO”, there is no worry of trying to catch up with 40-50 volumes.  By the first volume, you are instantly hooked and the storylines just get better and better!

If you are looking for a well-written, action-packed manga series, “PSYREN” is highly recommended.

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