Manga Review: Tista Vol. 1

TistaTitle: Tista Vol. 1
Author: Tatsuya Endo
Publisher: Viz Media
Language: English
Format: Physical
Pages: 205
Genre: Action, Drama
Publication Date: April 4, 2023

The Story

Tista is a rather short 2-volume series from Spy x Family creator Tatsuya Endo. The first volume introduces us to a girl named Tista Lone who has been given the nickname of Sister Militia and The Grim Reaper. She is given this nickname because of the fact that she uses the word of God to carry out executions on targets that are deemed evil to society. She executes her targets by way of a sniper rifle, hitting them from inconceivable distances.

One of her jobs is to kill the director of a museum and his crime partner in order to stop 200 kilograms of pure Chinese dope from being smuggled into New York City. This would be any normal job for her but she previously met an art student named Arty Drawer who has taken a liking to her. He even goes so far as to sketch her portrait and buy her a new pair of glasses because of Tista’s failing eyesight. After the museum hit job, Arty discovers who Tista really is and, has since, not been able to meet up with her.

He lies to the police, more specifically Detective Mackey whom he has a bit of a relationship with, in order to protect her while he embarks on his own personal mission to track her down for the lone desire of just getting another chance to see her. Meanwhile, Tista continues to take job after job which draws Mackey’s attention. They even bring in a psychoanalyst who decides to poke her nose a bit closer than anyone would hope… by targeting Arty!


Tista is a wild cornucopia of different personalities. As her normal self, she’s very clumsy, nervous, shy, and rather kept to herself. She has really bad eyesight… but there is a reason for that which I won’t spoil since it is a major part of her character. As Sister Militia, she’s almost possessed by the word of God. This also plays into the secret behind her eyesight as well, making for a really interesting twist on her character.

Tista lost her father and has since taken up refuge in her own apartment which she eventually abandons in favor of an orphanage run by a small religious organization… the same organization that’s giving her these hit jobs. There are a lot of layers to this character and just when you find yourself deep enough to think you’ve hit the bottom, another layer appears. She’s probably one of the most interesting main characters I’ve seen in a while. She has a soft and sweet side that you just want to hug along with a cold and callous side that you want to cheer for in the name of justice… but then you read her backstory and you want to hug her again because she has suffered so much. Just an all-around incredible character!

Next, we have Arty Drawer… yes… that is his real name. A boy named Arty Drawer wants to grow up to be an amazing artist. He’s a bit loud and boastful but he admits that he’s only like that because he believes that if he shouts his dream to the world it will give him the motivation to see his dream through to the end. When you take away the braggadocious portion of his character, you’ll find someone who is generally interested in Tista… someone who is seeking companionship and friendship. It’s a nice way of masking and suggesting just how lonely Arty is.

When you hear about his father and his past, that’s even more confirmation. His ties to the museum and its director, his passion for becoming famous, and the simple acknowledgment from Tista are all enough to validate his own existence and make him not feel as worthless as he truly believes he is deep down inside. Arty is a good kid deserving of just being recognized… not on a famous level but just on a personal one. Another solid main character!

Nina is a side character who seemingly has a crush on Arty but Arty doesn’t see it that way. That eats away at her but even with the knowledge that she can’t have him, she begrudgingly decides to help Arty search for Tista. Nina even goes so far as to find her but a coincidental incident (Arty’s phone died) prevented Nina from reuniting the two of them. For her to swallow her pride like that to help him out (even with all of the complaining she did over the fact) shows just how much she cares for Arty. She knew she had lost the love battle and even if her words don’t convey it, you can tell she only cares about seeing him happy.

Snow is the psychoanalyst and… um… wow… she’s a piece of work. Everyone mistakes her for an idiot that can’t accomplish anything until she completely reenacts one of Tista’s hits, digs deep into her motivations, pinpoints her personality, and even deduces where they can even start looking for her. She’s a bit eccentric in her personality… like an overexcited teenage girl… but her genius speaks for itself.

Mackey is kind of like a father figure to Arty in a way. Even though he still tries to do his job as a detective, he does treat Arty to dinner, talks to him in a soothing way, and has genuine care and concern for him. At the same time, he does prod him for information but isn’t the kind of detective that will drill you until you spit out everything you know. Everything about him is so casual. Probably because he’s close to retirement and is just doing what he needs to do for his job. He’s very patient and level-headed but there are times when frustration settles in. Especially when he has to deal with some of his peers. I like detectives like this… they are used quite often in stories and often make the best ones!

Sliderman! Sliderman! He’s just one letter off from a lawsuit. Here comes the Sliderman! (I just had to mention the character from a tv anime everyone in this series seems to be infatuated with).

Final Thoughts

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of this series. Reading Spy x Family makes you go into this series with a bit of an expectation on the style and while comedy is here in this series, it’s not anything like Spy x Family at all. There is some serious grit in this series and more heavy tones than you would expect. Tista isn’t exactly walking around yelling “WAKU WAKU” either but that’s okay. This series shows that Tatsuya Endo has a bigger and broader range and can execute it really well.

The deeper I got into this first volume, the more engrossed I became in the story. I wanted to know more about Tista, I wanted to see her reunite with Arty, and I wanted to know if she will be discovered by the NYPD and, possibly, the FBI. What will become of her and so forth. This is what a good first volume does… it invests you in the story and makes you interested in reading the next volume.

Sadly, the next volume is going to be the last. That actually surprised me because when I saw that VIZ was publishing this title, I wanted to check it out just because I enjoy reading Spy x Family a lot. When I went to AniList to track my progression, I saw there were only 9 total chapters across 2 volumes. You could have fooled me with the way this volume progressed. This seemed as if it would have been a longer-running series but I guess I was wrong in that assumption.

Makes me wonder what went wrong for it to only last two volumes. Everything seemed pretty good and there were enough interesting things here that could have set the stage for a very long time. Oh well, I just hope that the second volume doesn’t feel rushed or have a wonky ending. Maybe it was only meant as a short series? I don’t know but either way, I’m still looking forward to checking it out to see how everything wraps up.

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This item was provided for review by VIZ Media.