Manga’s popularity has increased over the pandemic, and that passion for many is not diminishing. Viz Media, a leader in publishing overseas manga, creating local manga with artists with a passion for the beloved artistry. World Piece, a story by Eisner-nominated writer Josh Tierney, art by Agroshka, and lettering by Erika Terriquez are undoubtedly capable of delivering diversion. The merging of basketball with archaeology and space travel seems implausible, but this manga thrives as we immediately suspend disbelief.
World Piece follows Lucas Densen, a high schooler who loves basketball and archaeology. When he visits his mother’s archaeological site after school one day and touches an object in the dirt, he is transported to another realm. Where is Earth? Why it has somehow shrunk to the size of a basketball! Unsure what to do, Lucas puts the world in his bag, and with the help of a new alien friend Lully, they set off to figure out how to change Earth back to its original size.
The Characters’ Connection
The characters are entertaining, as both Lucas, Lully, and Mitton are young and awkward in their way. Lucas is socially awkward, why Lully has just been isolated and is desperate to make a friend. Mitton is friendless since he’s stuck in the armed forces. Yet they join together to help Lucas because, though awkward, Lucas cares about others. He’s on this adventure to save his planet and get back home. Lully is hilarious because she rarely has interactions with people and it shows. As such, even specific phrases such as “play your cards right” tend to fly over her head. She may remind some of Jax from Guardians of the Galaxy, though a less burly and more smiley version.
Yes! Diverse Leading Character
It’s also wonderful to see the lead isn’t white but darker-skinned. Manga and animes have real issues regarding diverse casts. Hair and eye color are every shade, yet skin color will usually be white. Those who love anime and manga aren’t solely light-skinned. On the contrary, there is a large and ever-growing number of anime and manga fans that are darker, and it’s time we saw ourselves reflected in these stories. And not just as a sidekick, but as a character capable of leading a story. World Piece gives us that!
Artwork Is OMG Beautiful
The artwork is beautiful, and it’s easy to tell that the artist knows traditional manga. Facial expressions drawn in the anime style emote frustration, shock, annoyance in that fantastic familiar fashion. The pacing is a steady clip, and the artwork complements and emphasizes fight scenes to significant effect. The world they are laying out is unique, and there are so many questions that will need answers. That’s a good thing, as this story has lots of room to grow. The technology in this world doesn’t seem far removed from where Earth can be in the future—provided Earth gets back to size.
There are many possibilities in this story. With Viz Media creating local manga for readers to dive into, the future for manga is bright. If this story is any indication, this signals the beginnings of a golden era for diverse storytelling, compelling characters, and loads of fun for us, the readers!
Interested in other reviews on movies? Shows? Click below!