A review copy was provided by Jim Zub.
After a three-month pause, Wayward returns with its #6 issue, along with the Vol. 1 Trade Paperback of #1-5. Now’s a great time to catch up before the second arc gets too far. The end of the first story arc left off on a high point, with explosions and life-changers. Villains disappear in the confusion, and the team is split up. As the dust settles down, Wayward begins on a new thread. Here is a preview of what’s in store.
While our main cast is still MIA, the issue gives us a moment of stillness to introduce Ohara Emi, the average Japanese girl foil to Rori. In an opening that parallels Rori’s, Emi goes through the motions of her safe, routine life that ironically is exactly what Rori would give anything to have.
Emi is an interesting choice to lead the issue; she has her straight cut princess bangs and a powder blue ribbon at her collar and in her hair. Even though she’s wearing the same uniform as Rori, she gives off another look entirely. Her design suggests exactly her traditional, obedient Japanese mold that she fits right into.
In between ruminating on how her life is planned out for her; Emi does have a few quirks. For one, she is a little caught up with dreaming of potential romantic excitement out of her mangas – which oddly enough makes her the only character with love on her mind so far. When she speaks of her day-to-day living, the roteness bores her, but she doesn’t try anything daring.
Another thing, she seems to enjoy collecting gacha toys. To her, they’re cute, delicate, and in their own safe bubble. Beyond the obvious symbolism of the gashapon case, I wonder what deeper meaning is behind collecting tiny figurines.
To make up for their sudden disappearance, rumor mill at the school has it that Rori and Shirai ran off and committed suicide as star-crossed lovers. Rather than horrifying Emi, for some reason this fuels her fantasies. After only a two-second contact with Rori previously, something triggers inside her. This switch is soon completely flipped, and that supernatural something comes bubbling out of her much like the rapid development the others faced.
The story soon has Emi regretting she wished for anything more than what she had, because demonic appearances become very real. Thankfully, Ayane makes another timely rescue with a pleasantly shocking Nikaido, who looks more composed, if not confident now that he has more control of his mind-powers. Still, meeting Ayane face-to-face can be a slap in the face on your tidy life.
Though the story returns to its slower pace to brace the reader, I think it works when Emi’s introduction is placed next to Rori’s, who not too long ago was almost in her place. Again, we get a sweeping view of the area in Japan and snippets that begin to establish that who Emi says she is does not mean it’s who she’ll stay as.
Overall, Wayward #6 brings in teases of what’s to come. We wonder what’s to become of our new and old protagonists. Ayane’s gleefully bloody kitty eyes, along with a slightly less rumpled Nikaido is a sight for sore eyes. The comic is setting up for what hopefully is a delicious supernatural mystery.
-Emi’s introduction sets up for what’s in store.
-Rori briefly appears, but not in the way you expect her to.
-Ayane and Nikaido’s powers are stepping it up a notch.
-Is Emi an inverse Rori, or her own person? We’ve yet to see.