Last week’s chapter: The King and Tiamat had already figured out that Astro was not Barrage, but the King tried to believe that wasn’t the case. A spy from Assassinia appears and tries to get the Orgue, but is defeated by Astro.
Summary of Chapter 3: Astro’s family has now been moved into the Castle, but he has little time to enjoy their company: both he and Tiamat are tasked by the King to head to Orvel to eradicate the bandits that have taken over the village. When they arrive at the town they meet the people, or some of the people–everyone else has either been killed (the men) or kidnapped (the woman and children). The townspeople are disappointed, but none moreso than an old man, who chides the King for sending two people to the village. After Astro pledged that he would take care of the bandits, the bandits arrive, along with their leader, John Kanty. Astro attacks Kanty as soon as he sees the old man wounded and trying to protect his grandson. Thanks a bit to Tiamat, Astro does defeat the alien and a bit of stability is restored to the village.
My Take: Well, unlike most shounen manga, we’re going to start slow in Barrage it seems–er, no, instead we’ll throw our main character Astro into the fire and he’ll figure it out I guess. Not to say that it’s a problem, but it just seems pretty typical to me. It is probably a good thing Astro was born as a slum kid and wants to take care of people since he has a bit more energy than the usual human, but as Tiamat pointed out, he still has a ways to go when it comes to battle. Which is why I was a bit surprised the King sent Astro and Tiamat to take care of the bandits already, especially since he was just thrust into the life of a Prince. Man, no protecting royalty huh? And no really, I mean it. I don’t think most would consider sending a prince without at least bringing a couple of soldiers to protect him, yet the King goes and just sends those two. The excuse used I just can’t buy. I mean, aren’t these guys wealthy or something? You can only spare…no soldiers? Either they are secretly trying to fatten their bank account or they don’t value Astro as much as they should. Or maybe I’m severely underestimating Astro/Barrage’s role in trying to bring peace to the planets.
I think the other thing about this chapter that’s strange is Tiamat’s attitude towards Astro. Let’s face it: you didn’t have a real Prince before Astro arrived, Tiamat. So why are you saying you don’t see Astro as a Prince? I find this interaction a bit forced/a bit unnecessary. I guess it’s supposed to set up as a challenge for Astro to overcome, as he has to–and, he should be–gain the trust of people within the kingdom since all they really know is that he’s a look-a-like. The problem is why is Tiamat questioning him when he’s seen first hand what Astro can do…if saying he is family and protecting the King is not enough. If anything, Tiamat should realize he has a long ways to go, but Astro does have the ability to be a true Prince. I might have liked this angle more if a brand new character appeared and then took Astro to task.
Well regardless, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a new character yet, so Chapter 4 will probably yield a new character. This new character doesn’t have to necessarily challenge Astro’s abilities, but he/she will probably wonder if that’s Barrage they are dealing with or is that Astro. At some point, we gotta know how the King and his men will handle this situation. We got a glimpse at it when Tiamat shut Astro up before revealing how it was like being royalty, so I can guess they’ll try to keep it a secret, but it probably won’t last for too long. As for this chapter, the action was pretty good and all, but I’d rather they start slowly filling in more and more details about Astro’s situation…a situation that he’s gonna have to get used to eventually.