Anime Reporter continues the Varia Arc with Volumes 13 and 14 (Targets 108-125) of (Katekyo Hitman) Reborn! Readers unfamiliar with the series should avoid reading further for fear of spoilers, but should check out the first review of the series here to see if you might be interested.
Well, Volume 12 certainly left things on a cliff-hanger with the kind-hearted Yamamoto about to enter a sword fight after only the shortest of crash courses and baseball experience to prepare him. What’s more, his opponent is a skilled and deadly swordsman himself and, naturally, all of this will take place in a room slowly filling with water and a man-eating sea creature lurking somewhere at the bottom. Without giving too much away, this is one seriously intense fight and, whatever the final result, Yamamoto’s character undergoes a lot of personal growth across the fight.
Following this intense fight, we move on to the final battle and Hibari’s time to shine. Hibari has long been hailed as the most powerful fighter in the series, (aside from Reborn, perhaps), and his fight will have to be an interesting one. However, his foe is far from weak and far from human. When things don’t quite go as planned, Xanxus makes his power play and the real fight begins!
Tsuna is finally faced with the fight he’s putting off since the series’ beginning. He’ll have to fight to protect his friends and allies and even to save the Vongola family that he’s never wanted to be part of. Tsuna’s training has yielded some great results but it’s hard to know just yet how much of a difference that will make. The Varia Arc continues in solid form and Volume 14 ends just as things are building up to its finale.
A key part of Reborn!’s premise is the concept of growth and development. We’ve been waiting a long time to see Tsuna start to grow into the leader he’s capable of being and this arc does a wonderful job of illustrating how, not just Tsuna, but his subordinates, have grown and changed since the series began. The overall tone of the series has shifted somewhat to a more typical shonen format with intense battles and the occasional dose of heavy violence. The characters have well and truly shifted away from their comedic roots and it feels a little like the narrative is growing and maturing as they do. It’s a credit to the series’ creator and writer that, without radically overhauling the premise of a toddler-like hitman home-tutor, a five-year old cry-baby assassin with a bazooka that allows time travel or a bullet that unlocks someone’s true potential, this series has become something emotionally driven with solid characterisation and intense drama.
Reborn! is a credit to manga.
Reborn! Volumes 13 and 14 are available in English from Viz Media. To see more of the titles available from Viz or to send them picture after picture of toddlers wearing fedoras until they’re forced to acknowledge the sheer brilliance of this series and resume publication of Volumes 17-42, check out viz.com.
Plot Development: 9
86% – “Lethal” – Volume 14 comes to a close with the hardest-hitting conflict of the series so far. There’s still a lot hanging in the balance and it’s all building towards Volumes 15 and 16 – The English publication’s finale. Feelings are mixed; I really need to see how this plays out but I seriously don’t want to see this series end.