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Friday, July 29, 2011

Manga Review: Cross Game GN 2

Cross Game volume 2
Author: Mitsuru Adachi
Viz Media/Shonen Sunday
376 pages (2-in-1 omnibus edition)

Wakaba's last dream before she set off on that fateful day was of Ko pitching in front of a packed house at Koshien. Ko's been training every day since, trying to emulate the best pitcher he knows --- Wakaba’s sister Aoba. But will Aoba's seeming hostility toward him and a new high school coach who only cares about winning prevent Ko from fulfilling the dream?

Fewer current (current as in being published in English, natch) shonen manga series have swept me away, heart and soul, as Cross Game has. It brings me so much pleasure to see that after the emotional knock-out of a premiere volume, it has returned yet again for another 300+ pages of wonderful sports-related drama and humor that only Mitsuru Adachi could deliver. 

Not only is it typical Adachi – that is, typical Adachi being code for 'most excellent' – but it has a lot of something I'd been craving since volume one. More baseball! Actual playing! The second set of chapters released in omnibus format by Viz is dominated by a single baseball game in which school mates play against school mates and the varsity team goes to bat against everyone's favorite underdogs, the portable team.

Read the rest of the review after the jump!

In this volume, we really see Ko grow up – even more so than the previous volume with the time skip. It’s not growing up physically, but growing up emotionally, that takes a hold of Ko’s narrative arc in these chapters. Ko’s emotional well-being seems to center around two things, and those two things are the heart of this book: Wakaba and baseball. He has never forgotten Wakaba’s dream of him pitching at Koshien, and it is clearly the driving force behind his behavior on the field. 

But there is also Aoba, the baseball loving third daughter who is clearly not in love with Ko, no way, even if she cares for him quite a bit and there is just no way Ko and Aoba are going to end up endgame – excuse me while I laugh myself into oblivion because if Ko and Aoba don’t end up together by the end of the series, I’ll eat this copy of volume two and then pay the library back for eating something from their catalog. Ahem.

Anyway, this volume of Cross Game is a thrilling baseball-packed book that will please any fan of the series who loves a baseball manga with actual baseball games in it. Also, the chapters that mention Wakaba in any way will most likely break every reader’s heart multiple times. If there is one thing that Mitsuru Adachi is very good at, it is making you want to cry in awkward places over something as simple as a list on a wall. And that is the power of Cross Game.