Well, Adachi has given us another excellent chapter – but in the process, also a reminder of just how frustrating it’s going to be to read Mix as a monthly manga. And even that’s assuming he doesn’t lapse into the irregular updating schedule that’s been his norm in recent years.
As good as this fourth chapter is, it’s really all setup. And we’re talking about a setup where the boys are still second-year middle schoolers and the bulk of the story will presumably take place when they’re in high school. All of the really elite Adachi series – Touch and Cross Game certainly spring to mind – were weekly series. As such, the sometimes glacial development Adachi specializes in was fine. I worry that it won’t work as well in this format – but equally, I worry that without that slow pace, the richness of character and complexity of plot won’t be possible. And those things are the very essence of Adachi as a writer.
A couple of plot threads are slowly emerging from these early chapters. There continue to be strong hints that Touma and Otomi will become a romantic pair, despite their step-sibling status. The conspicuous comment about her being “safe” because she’s the one girl the wolf Souchirou won’t be hunting, Touma sneaking a look at her delicates hanging on the balcony, the humor surrounding the bath and the “no peeking” signs – it’s clear where this is going. And it seems inevitable that it will provoke serious tension between Touma and the overprotective (ironically) Souchirou, especially given that the elder brother appears to be a pretty testy fellow.
On the baseball front, the situation at the middle school is quite clear – nepotism is at work, and Touma and Souchirou are counting the days until they’re out from under its shadow. The relevant point here is that Touma speaks quite openly opening attending high school somewhere other than Meisei – as Souchirou quite rightly points out, the corrupt Chairman’s influence extends to the high school, and their middle school coach might even get the high school job once the Chairman’s son reaches that level. Touma feels no loyalty to Meisei – the only draw for him is that it’s just a minute away from home. A high school is a high school, as long as they have a baseball club.
Of course this is Adachi, and Mix is a sequel to Touch – so Meisei high school is most certainly not any high school. Something will have to happen to inspire loyalty in Touma, and I suspect it will be tied into that old #1 jersey he found in chapter three. Adachi’s works are always preoccupied with overcoming challenges, and this one will surely be no different – we’ve dealt with crooked coaches and administrators before. What remains to be seen is how the sibling relationships develop as the romance angle heats up. Souchirou may be bossy and a bit imperious, but he tells us that Touma “forced” him to become a catcher – so it seems clear that he’ll brook no surrender on Touma’s part when it comes to pursuing their baseball dreams. And always hanging over the early chapters of any Adachi angle is that “what if” threat – is the death of parents enough to satisfy the requirement, or is the piper still to be paid?