Tokyo Aliens Volume 2 Review
Toward the tail end of 2022, Square Enix Manga began releasing the new series Tokyo Aliens, a sci-fi story from mangaka Naoe. It got off to a good start although it left me with many unanswered questions, which I’m hoping Volume 2 will answer. Let’s take a look!
Volume 2 begins with protagonist Akira beginning his work with the secret police organization AMO. He’s partnered with Sho, the handsome high-schooler agent who goes to the same school as Akira and who initially brought him to AMO’s headquarters in Volume 1.
Naturally, Akira is filled with nerves about working for the organisation and still reeling from the shock of learning that aliens exist. When being led to one of the secret access tunnels to AMO, Akira gets separated from Sho and ends up running into a mysterious girl who pretends to be an AMO agent but runs off after being confronted by Sho – although she does steal Akira’s ID card in the process.
Then Akira and Sho are given their first mission as a team. They’re charged with guarding an alien girl who has run away from home and crash-landed on Earth. Her parents are due to collect her in a week, but until then Akira and Sho are going to have to live together and keep her nearby. However this isn’t just a simple bodyguard task, the young alien’s life is being targeted and Akira and Sho may find themselves embroiled in a dangerous fight.
One of my criticisms of Volume 1 of Tokyo Aliens was that it was unclear what the series wanted to be going forward. Unfortunately, I think that’s still a problem now, since we don’t even get into the first mission until the back half of the book. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the reasons it’s not yet fully formed are due to a conflict of ideas between mangaka Naoe and their editors, something briefly touched on in the afterword of Volume 2.
Naoe talks about having wanted to write a story about supernatural begins having heart-warming interactions with humans and hoped to not include action scenes this time. However, the editors also wanted the series to include fights between humans and aliens and that certainly would explain the disconnect between some of these chapters.
Throughout these five chapters we get a little bit of character development for Akira and Sho, but by and large, they’re quite ‘slice of life’-like in nature. Akira gets flustered, admires Sho and tries to do his best by the values he holds (in this case the fact he cares about aliens and wants to help them). This definitely collides with the seriousness we see when Akira is on a case for AMO.
I think as the series goes on, the author will be able to smooth out the disjointedness of all this and deliver a manga that knows what it wants to be about, but this is a rough beginning for anyone who doesn’t want to commit to staying with the manga long enough to see it through to that point. Thankfully, the cast is charming and the artwork is great, which goes a long way for me as I still want to see where Akira’s story is going.
As previously mentioned, Tokyo Aliens Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Square Enix Manga and continues to be translated by Andria McKnight. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 3 of the series is currently scheduled for an English release in May.
Overall, Tokyo Aliens Volume 2 has yet to resolve the issues from Volume 1. It’s unfortunately still quite disjointed and that’s going to lead to it losing readers, but if you’re particularly invested in the characters or the setting, then I still believe it’s worth hanging in there to see how things shake out going forward.
A free preview can be found on the Square Enix website here