01 Oct / Cross Game 3 (vols.6-7) by Mitsuru Adachi, translated by Lillian Olsen
Half a century ago today – on October 1, 1961 – Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit his 61st home run of the season, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 60 set in 1927. I knew you needed this information today (it came in at the bottom of a listserv this morning).
To mark the anniversary (I’m not a baseball fan, but even I recognize those names!), I figure this entertaining manga is perfect for this weekend … and even though I’m hopeless when it comes to understanding the real thing, Cross Game is one ballgame I do appreciate muchly.
Volume 6 opens with two new characters. Goofy and silly Yuhei Azuma, who turns out to be ace hitter Azuma’s older brother, helps run the family produce business … and when he delivers to the Tsukishimas’ coffee shop, he’s instantly smitten with eldest daughter Ichiyo … stay tuned.
And then there’s team manager Okubo’s grandfather, a schlumpy old man who seems to know quite a bit about the Portables, even though no one seems to know anything about him … again, stay tuned. This part is just too much fun: “… justice will always prevail,” Okubo mimics her Gramps.
As good as they are – mainly because they’ve been imported by the greedy, less than upright coach – the official Seisshu Gakuen Senior High School varsity team is far from perfect. The Portables, in the meantime, seem to only be improving, especially now that Aoba has entered high school and started training with them.
When the interim principal tries to fire the Portables’ good coach Maeno and disband his players, Maeno refuses to go without one final game against the varsity team … and the losing coach will be the one to disappear! “We can win,” Maeno tells his team, then adds, “I think.” Uh-oh.
The game is on in Volume 7 and it urns out to be pretty nail-biting spectacular. While I can’t tell you the results (what would be the point of that?), I can leak a few things that happen before and after … Being at the same school doesn’t make Ko and Aoba get along any better, Aoba is quite the new heartthrob on campus although she’s great at deflecting the unwanted attention, and Ko gets a truly surprising new housemate.
The latest omnibus collection moves so quickly, you can hardly turn the pages fast enough. I must, however, add one complaint, something I didn’t notice in the other volumes but I had relentless ‘exposure’ to here: what’s with all the inappropriate close-ups of upturned skirts and peek-a-boo underthings? Okay, so the kids are in high school now and noticing each other like that, but prurience is just so unnecessary here.
Most of the time – thankfully – Cross Game is playful, delightful fun, especially when cheering for the underdog can be so rewarding. “Justice will prevail” is no understatement!
For other omnibus editions of Cross Game posted on BookDragon, click here.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult
Published: 2011 (United States)
CROSS GAME © Mitsuru Adachi
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.