Anime Reporter runs for cover after the events of Volume 10 to bring you coverage on Katekyo Hitman Reborn, (or just Reborn! in English), Volumes 11 and 12.
Anyone who’s been following Anime Reporter’s coverage of this series will be no stranger to the characters and events referenced here but just in case anyone’s completely new to this series and wants to know if it’s worth checking out, you can find our take on the first two volumes here and you can find our up to date list of Reborn! reviews here.
Well, the clock is ticking down for our favourite potential Mafia boss, (unless you happen to prefer Xanxus, which makes sense, he’s pretty hardcore). He and his compatriots have been training hard and pushing themselves to new extremes to try and meet the challenge ahead of them. While they’re all very aware of the limited time ahead of them, bought by Reborn’s use of some dummy rings, Xanxus discovered the ruse a little earlier than anticipated and our band of misfits might just have to double-time their training.
Each of the two groups will be competing to serve as a certain Vongola guardian. Guardians are named after different forms of weather which symbolise their roles within the organisation. These names are also related to the forms each of their battles will take and, just to make sure that there’s no foul play, some Vongola authorities will be stepping in to make sure that everyone plays according to the rules. That is, fighters may definitely be stabbed, burned, shocked, crushed, drowned or blown up but there are definitely apparently some rules in there somewhere.
There should be a few surprises amongst the guardians, but I can reveal a few that should come as no surprise whatsoever. The first battle sees Tsuna’s intended future brother-in-law, the boxing-obsessed Ryohei. His battle for the ring of the guardian of the sun is a pretty intense affair of sheer determination with the odds well stacked against him. Next up, and on loan from his own crime family, Lambo takes his long sought after position of respect and authority in a deadly duel for the thunder guardianship… despite being a five year old. This is a surprising and gripping fight and one which showcases much of Lambo’s potential. The third battle sees Gokudera, Tsuna’s most devoted underling put to the test, not just in terms of fighting prowess and power, but also in terms of just what he’s willing to sacrifice for his boss.
The final match of the volume sees Yamamoto attempting to forego baseball for sword-fighting. There isn’t enough time to tell if his crash-course courtesy of his father has paid off, but if the previous three fights are any indication, he might not be getting out of this one unscathed.
The Varia Arc feels like the beginning of an entirely new series. It’s not uncommon for longstanding manga series’ to undergo a timeskip, leaping over time to join the story at a later date when its characters have grown and developed beyond themselves. This is an effective tool in accentuating how characters may have grown and matured across a series. While Reborn! hasn’t, at this stage of the tale, gotten past 107 chapters, this comparison might feel a little unlikely, but it really does feel like these characters are growing and preparing for the next stage of their lives. The Varia Arc is immediately and intense storyline and it has many of the hallmarks of a rite of passage, something to usher the characters, and the series itself, into adulthood and greatness.
Reborn! Volumes 11 and 12 are currently available in English, courtesy of Viz Media. To check out more of Viz Media’s titles and possibly even to very politely and respectfully request that they publish beyond Volume 16 of Reborn!, check out their website here.
Character Development: 9
Plot Development: 8.5
81% – “Bulletproof!” – Reborn! Volumes 11 and 12 bring on all of the intense action and bitter enemies you could ask for. The humour and innocence of the original volumes is gone somewhat, but that just makes it so much more tragic to see its characters suffering. Powerful, engaging storytelling.