Anime Reporter returns with glee to the exploits of just about the cutest little trained assassin out there, Reborn!, (or Katekyo Hitman Reborn! in Japanese). This week, I’ll be taking a look at Volumes 3-4 of series, made up of chapters, or ‘targets’, 17-33.
I hope you enjoyed the first two volumes as much as I did. This series is shaping up to be a pretty cheeky experience and it really seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Volumes 3 and 4 continue the Daily Life Arc, showing Tsuna struggling and failing to keep Reborn out of many aspects of his life, all the while being dragged, kicking and screaming towards being a better person, or at least a better criminal leader, which for the time being, seems to mostly amount to being more proactive and getting better grades, so let’s not split hairs.
In my last Reborn! review, I couldn’t shine much of a light on side characters, for fear of giving away plot details, but now feels like the right time to take a breather and praise the imagination that series’ creator Akira Amano put into each of these charming folk. His gathered subordinates so far amount to two, Yamamoto and Gokudera, both of whom are competing for the position as Tsuna’s right hand man, (though only one them actually realises that the whole “Mafia” thing isn’t an elaborate joke). There are still quite a few side characters rounding up this rather excellent cast. In particular, the standout characters thus far have to be Lambo, the cute, though somewhat obnoxious assassin out to prove himself to Reborn, but fully incapable of doing anything right. (Gotta…stay…calm!) We were also introduced to the likeable Haru, a somewhat eccentric girl who seems to have grown attached to Tsuna and whose quirky personality is likeable and refreshing. Other noteworthy mentions who seem likely to get some more appearances in before long are Dr. Shamal, the womanising doctor whose services are unavailable to anyone with a Y chromosome and Hibari, a rather cold and somewhat intimidating member of Tsuna’s school.
Volume thirteen, (Targets 17-25), is made up of micro-plots, each lasting for one or two chapters, showcasing the many ways that Reborn is ruining retuning Tsuna’s life and how his new comrades are having an effect on him. The first little arc, not a million miles away from his exploits in the boxing ring, shows Tsuna nominated against his will to represent one third of his school in a grand athletics event. Not a lot of his schoolmates are big fans of Tsuna, but by the time Reborn is done sewing his quirky little seeds, they’ll outright hate him and it’s going to take all of his determination not to let his new comrades down, (and quite possibly be killed by Reborn as punishment for failure).
This story is quickly followed by quite a few short tales in which Tsuna is confronted with a murder he can’t remember committing and which nobody feels a particular need to handle rationally, a rather drastically escalating attempt to settle a sushi-bill, an extreme contest to find someone worthy of taking Lambo off Tsuna’s hands and a rather unique and high-stakes birthday celebration. Each story illustrates the bond between characters and each one paints a different picture of just how Tsuna’s life and character are being molded in Mr. Miyagi fashion by Reborn, if Mr. Miyagi was a violent psychopath.
Targets 23 and 24 introduce a new character, yet another deadly toddler, this time hailing from Hong Kong. I-Pin is a highly reputed and feared assassin, also known as the Human Bomb. I-Pin’s lethal skills are compounded by a devastating secret ability, if hampered to a certain extent by one or two other traits. Notable among these faults is some pretty atrocious eyesight, to the extent that I-Pin is convinced that Lambo might actually be a walking vegetable, not that Lambo minds the comparison too much.
Volume 14, (Targets 26-33), paves the way for another character, Dino. Dino is the 10th generation boss of a crime family allied with the Vongolas and also happens to be Reborn previous student. Dino cuts an intimidating example of just what Reborn’s methods can achieve and he’s eager to aid Tsuna’s journey as much as possible. Naturally, this aid doesn’t go quite as smoothly as intended, but it’s a lot of fun to watch things unravel and the introduction of Dino gives us some idea of just where Tsuna’s character is supposed to be by the end of the series. It looks like it’s going to be a great ride!
Reborn! Volumes 03 and 04 are both currently available in English from Viz Media. To see what else Viz has on offer, or to send them message after message insisting that they lift their hiatus on Reborn! following Volume 16, (just a hypothetical possibility), check out their website here: Viz Media.
Reborn Volumes 03 and 04 Disguise Montage!
Plot Development: 7.5
New Characters: 8.5
86% – “Direct Hit!” – The cartoonish hilarity bumps up a notch with enough absurdity and over the top action to match. This series is shaping up to be a truly top-notch story, with a lot of laugh-lout-loud moments along the way.