Anime Reporter returns to Katekyo Hitman Reborn! for Volumes 07 and 08 (that’s chapters or ‘targets’ 52-70, in case anybody’s wondering). It’s probably not a very well kept secret at this stage that Reborn! is quickly proving to be one of Anime Reporter’s favourite manga series so if you don’t want any of the plot spoiled for you, but you’d like to know more about the series, check out the Reborn! Volume 01 and 02 Review here.
Volume 07, (targets 52-60), starts off with summer just entering full swing and a lot of unusual complications for Tsuna’s life with it. While Volume 06 introduced us to the Arcobaleno and the idea that Reborn is far from the only widely respected, skilled and deadly toddler out there, (sorry Lambo, you still don’t make the cut), we’re not yet treated to a lot of answers or in depth explanation about what it all means, why there are seven of them or why they’re associated with different colours, but that’s not to say we won’t be hearing a few more bits and pieces about these fearsome little whippersnappers all along the way.
Volume 07 is largely made up of smaller story arcs, collecting mini-adventures and relationship building between Tsuna and his band of allies. The Vongola family’s Weapon Tuner Giannini stops by to give Tsuna’s family some upgrades in the ammunition department, but this wouldn’t be the series that it is if everything went without a hitch. Reborn, Gokudera and even Lambo’s weapons all turn just a little bit peculiar just as a hidden threat approaches. Volume 07 also lets us see a little bit of some intense training to turn Tsuna into a better leader, including the basics of learning how to swim and ending with… the test of courage.
Volume 08, (targets 61-70), which sees the beginning of the Kokuyo Arc, is entitled The Neighboring Town Boys Arrive! and the plot… well, that’s a pretty simple intro into the plot itself. Pretty early into the volume, news breaks out that a number of prefects from Tsuna’s school have been badly beaten and, making things more severe and much stranger, each of them has had a number of teeth removed. The main culprits are revealed to be a number of youths wearing the uniform of a neighbouring town’s school uniform and it seems that the person they’re really gunning for is Tsuna. This reckless gang is much much more than it seems and this storyline actually sees the world of Reborn entering into darker territory with greater violence of the visual and bloody kind, with less cartoonish wackiness to soften the blow.
I wouldn’t want to give the details away, but the Kokuyo gang are vicious, versatile and playing to kill. Their leader, Mukuru, is about as chilling an adversary as you’re likely to find in manga and he’s mainly the one responsible for the change in tone of this arc. The stakes are taken far beyond what the last few volumes would have had us believe were possible. Reborn has taken its first steps from light-hearted fantasy-comedy into bare-knuckle, jaw-breaking territory.
Reborn may well be the only character not revealed to be well and truly out of their depth as this plotline develops. It’s intense, a little brutal and it’s only getting started! Volume 08 comes to a close before the Kokuyo Arc can be resolved, right on the precipice of what looks to be one hell of a showdown.
Reborn! Volumes 07 and 08 take the series to new levels in terms of character and world building, but also testing the limits of its plot structure. It’s hard to say where this new direction may lead, but it makes for a captivating read.
Reborn! Volumes 07 and 08 are currently available in English from Viz Media. To check out some of Viz’s other titles, and perhaps even to send them heartfelt sonnets mourning Reborn’s English cancellation at Volume 17, check out their website here.
Plot Development: 9
World Building: 8
High Stakes: 8.5
84% – “The Safety’s Off!” – The Daily Life Arc comes to a close and kicks off a nice and twisted mob war in its place. I’m not sure if Tsuna’s ready for the full weight of what’s about to come, but I can’t wait to find out!