Takanori Yamazaki – CMX – 2010 – 4+ volumes
volume 1 is the only one that was translated into English
Reading CMX series depresses me now. At the rate I’ve been buying up their older series, though, I’ll have everything they ever published before too long. Incoming: more Cipher, Venus in Love, Dokkoida, and Seimaden, all the volumes of Emma, Solen Hearts, and Lizard Prince.
Much like every CMX series I’ve picked up, this was a lot of fun. Not immediately gripping, but endearing and something I would certainly keep reading, especially since there are a grand total of, like, two baseball manga available in English (did it seriously take twenty years to see an Adachi baseball manga over here?). Tsubura is a new transfer student. She hates baseball. REALLY hates baseball. But her classmates find out she’s good at it, and because of some bad luck, she winds up on the baseball team. But she won’t play. That doesn’t stop said classmates from hounding her ceaselessly, following her home, staying over, and bugging her about why she hates baseball so much. She also has no problems telling them, in no uncertain terms, that she hates them. They are not the least bit concerned, and take her put-downs in cheery stride.
It’s an understated story, with Tsubura’s wild pitches being the most unusual thing about it. Tsubura really doesn’t want to play baseball, but her would-be friends really want her to, and the way they go about needling each other in this first volume is quite charming and vaguely slice-of-life, not something I thought I’d see in what appears to be a shounen manga. The chapter where Tsubura tries to get her grandmother on her side in order to get the classmates off her back, only to find out her grandmother has possibly known the classmates longer since they grew up in the same town, was one of my favorites. The intro to the book starts off pretty stereotypical, but when they aren’t at baseball practice immediately, or even by the end of the book, and when technical baseball terms haven’t started to fly yet, I can see the focus is going to be more on the characters than the game. That’s really nice.
It’s a promising start, but we aren’t ever going to see the rest of it. Man, someone really needs to pull a Yen Press or a DrMaster and step in to save CMX’s catalog. That would just be the nicest thing any company could ever do.