The Awesome New Manga Post! – Letter Bee
Greetings one and all and welcome to WRA’s Awesome New Manga Post!
The idea behind it was to create a semi-regular post with the purpose of introducing new and existing manga to readers on the blog that they may not have read yet, with the hopes of broadening your horizons and giving you a few new interesting series to enjoy. Of course, we’ll only be showcasing series that we feel are good enough to make the cut, but we also welcome recommendations if any of you feel that you know a great series that you’d like to share with everyone.
The first series I’d like to introduce is a manga called Tegami Bachi, or otherwise “Letter Bee.”
“So, what is Letter Bee all about?” you might ask. Let’s take a look and see…
Release schedule: Monthly.
Publishing details: Published in Jump SQ.
Mangaka: Written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Asada.
Our story takes place in the land of Amberground, a strange and unique continent in which night is perpetual and where only a small, man-made sun shining over the capital of Akatsuki provides any form of illumination. The further away from this artificial sun you travel, the less light there is and in the farthest reaches of this land only darkness prevails. It is in this hostile world where individuals known as “Letter Bees” are tasked with delivering letters, all the while traversing an unforgiving land riddled with danger.
The job of a Letter Bee is considered of the utmost importance, because letters themselves contain the “heart” of those who send them and thus, a letter can take many forms, from a simple, written note to an item of sentimental value and – in some cases – even a person. It is also because of this that Letter Bees must be prepared to defend themselves from dangerous creatures known as Gaichuu; heartless monstrosities that are attracted to the heart contained in letters, which they try to devour. To this end, Letter Bees carry and use special ‘Heart-Bullet Guns’ that use an ore known as “spirit amber” to fire, and that are powered by shards of the hearts of the Bees themselves. Letter Bees also travel with a companion known as a “Dingo” – usually in the form of an animal of some kind – which serves as their partner to help accompany them on their deliveries and aid them in battle.
Although Letter Bee has quite a large, rich and diverse cast, it would simply take up too much time and space to list them all here, so instead, I’ll give you a breakdown on a few of the main characters who have particularly strong roles in the series. (Character descriptions may contain very minor spoilers, although most details mentioned here are learned within the first few chapters and thus, aren’t big giveaways).
As the main protagonist of the series, Lag Seeing is a young boy with mysterious powers and a troubled past who was once delivered to safety as a letter himself by a Letter Bee named Gauche Suede, who found him chained to a mail post with delivery details attached to his shoulder. It was on his journey with Gauche that Lag learned the importance of letters and the heart they contained and why Letter Bees are entrusted with the duty of seeing their safe delivery, even if it means risking their lives to achieve that end.
Having been inspired by these events and with the goal of traveling to the capital of Akatsuki to find his missing mother, Lag dreams of one day becoming a Letter Bee himself. So, at the age of 12, he sets out for a town known as Yuusari Central – the location of the Bee headquarters which is aptly nicknamed “The Bee Hive” – to take his entrance exam.
Personality wise, Lag comes across as very sensitive and understanding when it comes to the feelings of those around him as well as to the heart contained within the letters he delivers. Despite this, he is also very outgoing and enthusiastic and shows little to no fear when it comes to charging head-first into battle, especially when it comes to defending something he considers important.
At a very early stage in his journey to become a Letter Bee, Lag comes across a young girl known as Niche who – much like he once was in the past – is also being delivered as a letter to an unknown destination.
As a girl “cursed” with the blood of of a mythical creature known as Maka, Niche is also gifted with incredible speed, agility and strength – among other strange and unique powers – and after forming a bond of trust and friendship Lag, Niche promises to become his Dingo and help him achieve his goals. Despite being outspoken and quick to temper, Niche has a very innocent and naive personality, although her social shortcomings are more than made up for by her incredible bravery and unshakable loyalty.
Connor is a rather pudgy boy with a kind and trusting personality whose heart-bullet weapons are powered by shards of his appetite, thus their power seemingly rises as he gets hungrier. As a Bee who often delivered letters to Lag’s hometown of Campbel Litus, Connor quickly developed a friendship with Lag and even offered to accompany him to Yuusari Central to take his Letter Bee exam.
Connor’s trusty Dingo is a hound dog named Gus who is skilled at tunneling. Despite this, Gus appears to be a particularly lazy Dingo as Connor is often seen carrying him on his back when traveling on foot.
Unlike most of his Letter Bee peers, Zaji comes across as a very cold and abrasive individual at face value to those who do not know him well and more often than not, his expression is one that resembles an annoyed scowl. Despite this, he remains a loyal Letter Bee through-and-through and thus holds a particular dislike for those who show any form of disrespect towards Letter Bees or the important letters they deliver.
Zaji’s heart-bullet shotgun is powered by shards of his malice; bitter feelings born from the tragedy of his parents’ hearts being consumed by Gaichuu when he was younger. It’s because of this that Zaji has a particular hatred for Gaichuu, which has led many to believe that the only reason he became a Bee was to acquire the means to hunt down and defeat them. Having a particular fondness for cats, it only seems natural that Zaji’s Dingo is a female black panther named Vashuka.
Gauche Seude is a young man and Letter Bee who once delivered Lag as a letter to his aunt at the town of Campbel Litus. Despite the fact that he and Lag had often clashed at first – largely thanks to Lag’s distrust of him – his strong sense of duty and passion as a Letter Bee quickly left an impression on his younger charge which would later act as a catalyst to fuel Lag’s own dreams of becoming a Letter Bee.
Gauche’s Dingo is a wolf-like dog named Roda, who is not only a loyal companion to his master, but also seems particularly fond of Lag as well.
Although I’ve only listed a few of the main cast-members, there are many more interesting characters to discover, which is half the fun of reading a manga, I suppose.
Having read this manga to the point of being up to date and waiting for its newest releases, I have to say that Letter Bee really took me by surprise. Despite its seemingly simplistic premise for a story, this manga is surprisingly deep considering the primary theme behind it involves the task of delivering mail. There’s a lot more to it than it implies in its first impressions and what starts as a journey to follow one’s dreams, eventually deepens into a dark and intricate plot that will soak you up and immerse you in its rich narration.
From political intrigue to moral ambiguity, Letter Bee definitely isn’t shy when it comes to exploring dark and even tragic themes and in a setting where even the brightest lights may belie the darkest secrets, your interest will always be well earned. The cast is great, the setting is highly atmospheric and unique, the artwork is brilliantly drawn and even the battles will impress you with their tension and excitement.
The Final Verdict
I’d definitely say that Letter Bee would be highly recommended to those craving some great new manga to read, especially for those fond of the shonen genre, although it should be noted that this manga has a monthly release schedule as opposed to being a weekly, so expect to wait for your chapters once you’ve caught up.
For those who are interested in reading this manga, you can find it HERE. Also, please remember to support the manga by buying it if it’s available in your area, especially if it’s something you end up enjoying! Also please feel free to comment and leave your thoughts on the manga in the comments section below, or simply vote for your own score on the following poll.
Happy reading! ^ ^