Volume 3 of Tokyo Aliens left readers with a sense that mangaka Naoe had finally found their way forward. In the same way that our protagonist Akira made up his mind to protect Sho no matter what dangers the two face. Now what awaits our heroes in Volume 4? Let’s find out!
As we reunite with Akira and Sho, we find them returning to school where Akira has spotted his partner being cornered behind the gym by delinquent Masato Kizaki! Akira charges in, hoping to rescue Sho but he quickly learns it has all been a misunderstanding and Masato is simply asking for help. It turns out he has a crush on the most popular girl at school and wants Sho to teach him how to ask her out.
With that short reprieve from their jobs as part of AMO done, Akira throws himself headfirst into training in the hopes of becoming better at using his weapons in a pinch and being able to protect Sho and the other people he cares about. He’s been coming in every day after school and fighting support drones in a safe training environment where he can practise without coming to any real harm.
When Sho happens to drop back to pick up his weapons (which were broken in the fight in Volume 3), he catches Akira training and asks if he wants to spar with him. Unfortunately for Akira, this fight just proves to him that he’s a long way from becoming as strong as Sho and if he stays like this, he’ll never be strong enough to protect anything. This understandably depresses Akira as he wants to follow in the footsteps of his father and be someone who protects others.
In many ways, the content of this release builds on the feelings Akira and Sho came to terms with in Volume 3. Akira may have made the bold declaration that he wants to protect his partner, but Sho still doesn’t understand why, given how weak he is. Why isn’t Akira willing to simply be protected by those around him? He might not understand, but he is willing to help our protagonist train and that extra time spent together serves to further their friendship.
Now that they’re spending more time together, Akira is hoping to talk to his partner more outside of their time at the AMO office. He feels lonely when he’s being ignored at school and while Sho is adamant that they shouldn’t interact more than needed, perhaps that leaves room for the two to exchange non-verbal messages such as texts. Whatever the case, it’s enjoyable to watch over the two as they figure out the boundaries of their relationship and where exactly they stand with each other.
This is certainly a lowkey volume in comparison to the previous entry, at least until we get to the second half where Akira is taken on a mission with Amamiya. Here we learn some surprising facts about Amamiya’s relationship with Akira’s father, as well as about the beast Hakugin that killed him. What will it mean for Akira’s future? Well, that remains to be seen but it seems we’ll be jumping into another exciting development when Volume 5 makes it to the West.
While this instalment does end on a cliffhanger, it’s clear that we’re about to learn some pivotal secrets and answers to questions we’ve had since the beginning of the series. So far creator Naoe has done a good job of drip-feeding us enough information to keep readers on the hook to see where the story is going, I just hope the big reveals pay off, but what I’ve seen so far gives me the confidence that Naoe will deliver.
Volume 4 of Tokyo Aliens comes to the West thanks to Square Enix Manga and continues to be translated by Andria McKnight with lettering by Bianca Pistillo. As always with this one, the translation reads well with no issues to note. However, one thing I will note is that my copy of the series was manufactured in Canada instead of the usual United States and I found the spine quite stiff; it takes more force than usual to hold the book open and turn the pages. I’ve seen this happen with other releases when a publisher chooses to use a different printer than usual and it’s not a problem, just a quirk of different paper and binding. Still, worth knowing ahead of time if you’re someone who doesn’t like these kinds of releases.
Volume 5 of the series is currently scheduled for a release in mid-November with #6 following in March 2024. Now that we’re catching up with the Japanese releases, the gaps between the English versions are understandably starting to widen.
Overall, Tokyo Aliens Volume 4 isn’t quite as emotionally moving or dramatic as the previous book but there are still plenty of interesting things happening. Akira and Sho continue to get closer as Akira strives toward becoming strong enough to protect everyone he cares about, which proves enjoyable to watch over.
A free preview of this volume can be read on the Square Enix Manga website here.
Our review copy from Square Enix Manga was supplied by Turnaround Comics (Turnaround Publisher Services)