Dien Bien Phu, the review of volumes 6 and 7

Dien Bien Phu is one of the manga series, brought to Italy by Bao Publishing with her necklace Aikenmost appreciated among those of the panorama underground. Now in its seventh volume, the story of Daisuke Nishijima begins to take an increasingly sentimental turn with the war finally coming to an end to the delight of Hikaru and Princess. In this review we will briefly talk about both the sixth and seventh volumes to delve into the bittersweet manga about Vietnam War as never before had it been told and described.

Dien Bien Phu Vol. 6: the story takes an unexpected turn

The sixth volume brings the reader back to Vietman in 1966, a historical moment in which we begin to glimpse the conclusion of the bloody clash between the factions: on the one hand, in fact, we have the colonel Jabo and the grandmotherwhile on the other side Tim Lawrence and Princess in a battle where only one of them will survive. For all of these six volumes, Tim went on an inner journey so that he could increase the awareness of his strength and his courage. The boy has therefore reached a phase of resignation and a desire for revenge so high that he cannot be stopped except by the Vietnamese girl. It is precisely in this volume, therefore, that the story and the growth of Tim officially ends when he went from a lost boy in love and undecided about which figure to follow (that of the beloved Princess or the paternal figure of the Colonel) to being a mad warrior. at times even naive because he does not realize the feelings of the people who are close to him.

Dien Bien Phu

The realization of the true link with Colonel Jabo comes only towards the end, when the reader discovers together with Tim the true power of their relationship which perhaps is about to end forever. In all this there is the presence of the Green Berets who have left something indelible inside the soul of the boy and all the other characters. The conclusion comes like a bolt from the blue, with a really well done twist that ends the story in an exciting and courtly way as only Nishijima could do. The volume, as well as the others following the second, has a good amount of action scenes, however, in this volume the author has decided to avoid too many prolixities, deciding instead to reach a conclusion that is as crude as it is inevitable. All of this is related by great designs emotional depth which involve the reader and leave him speechless for their beauty and display strength. In any case, this is the first real volume in which a part of the story is finally put to a stop with a painful event and a barely sketched beginning that arouses so much curiosity to the reader.

Dien Bien Phu Vol. 7: the war from the Vietnamese point of view

So, if the sixth volume ends with such an impressive ending, how can the seventh volume ever begin? With another scene of very high emotional and sentimental intensity. We leave Vietnam for a moment and move to Hawaii, and exactly to Pearl Harbor in 1941. In that year numerous Zero fighters approached the American base and from above decided to attack the United States for the first time in one of the most isolated and safe bases on Earth. At the time, the shock was enormous, especially since the United States felt safe and would never have thought that anyone could attack them in such a blatant way. Thus, a little more than three years after the event, the Americans decided to take revenge with one of the most terrible events that man can remember or with the launch of two nuclear bombs before Hiroshima and then to Nagasaki. All this to remember that at that same moment an important character was born: Hikaru Mikami.

Dien Bien Phu

The seventh volume then moves to Vietnam twenty-two years after the tragic Japanese event. The Princess is in China and ready to fight for the revolution and her place has been taken by three black knucklebones known as Lon, Nol and Thi. The aforementioned Hikaru, unfortunately, became a prisoner of war after the Princess captured him after his escape. Furthermore, the former photographer has been on Asian soil for a year now and is doing everything to get used to the new military life. Meanwhile in the United States citizens no longer tolerate war and the more or less peaceful popular uprisings, also acclaimed by numerous artists, especially music, are on the agenda. As if that were not enough, the Lunar New Year is approaching which for the Vietnamese represents an important day of celebration which in that period coincided with the offensive of the Tetwhich is a surprise attack similar to Pearl Harbor which, as history teaches, was a major turning point for the entire conflict.

In the seventh volume the narration takes a completely different turn compared to the previous numbers and in particular the sixth. Events become more dark, but finally we can also observe the Vietnamese army in all its magnificence. Added to this are genuine and lively villages where they live only women and children for one reason, actually, very grim: men are at war or are dead. In short, the accent is given to daily life in a very complicated land gripped by continuous and bloody struggles. Finally, interesting in both volumes of Dien Bien Phu, the various insights that divide the different chapters inherent to the historical part of the conflict and the references to the reality of the facts. In fact, there is no lack of parentheses regarding the war photography and in particular to the various depictions of the Lunar New Year which show how in the midst of military deaths there were so many civilians who had the pleasure of putting aside the pain to pretend that everything was fine.


With these two volumes, therefore, we were able to discover how Nishijima’s idea was that of tell the war in its entirety without winners and without letting the needle hang in one of the two contenders. Because, after all, civilians always suffer the most in conflicts and it is important to give them the prominence they deserve. Despite this, the main theme is precisely the conflict and after an effective ending shown in the sixth volume, the seventh opens with a more emotional component of the same where the Vietnamese are finally described in a more detailed and engaging way. In short, the war is coming to an end and we can’t wait to find out more with the next issues.