“When Spring Comes”
Mix may be a linear sequel to Touch, but in some ways it’s playing more like a pastiche of several of Adachi’s earlier series. I see elements of Cross Game, Miyuki and especially H2 here, among others, and he’s even included a few names that are puns based on character names from his earlier works (and those of his buddy Rumiko-sensei). No one plagarizes themselves more than Adachi-sensei, so maybe this is a fitting development at this stage of his career.
This is a setup chapter, but the story is moving along at a decent clip (thankfully, as it’s a monthly). The big development here is the revelation that Ooyama – the doofus who was the Meisei baseball captain – is ticketed to be the next coach of Meisei High School’s baseball team. Looks like we have another in a long line of oddball coaches in the Adachi canon, and he’s rather fond of the bum archetype too.
Ooyama-san has a daughter as well, we know – though he tells Touma’s dad (he’s invited himself over to eat and get drunk) that she’s staying in Kyuushu until Spring. Either he lied, or she’s gone back home for a while. In any event, Sou has developed quite an interest in the girl who lives above the Ramen Dragon, and Ooyama has quite in interest in Sou for obvious reasons. That could prove interesting in multiple ways.
My favorite scene of the episode was the little flashback sequence at the end, a classic Adachi wistful moment where Otomi recalls the “ace contest” between her brother and step-brother. Otomi is looking back on a meeting with Touma, at the bottom of the local slope, slick with snow. She slips (barely) and begs him to carry her, which he does – and it turns out he slipped on that slope rushing to meet her and tore a toenail, leaving his shoe filled with blood. A classic Adachi hero move, and yet more evidence that Touma and Otomi are ticketed to be the headline couple of the series.
I’m beginning to suspect that Mix may follow the pattern of some of Adachi’s more slice-of-life works, and focus on the relationships more and tragedy less. In this story there’s already been considerable loss before we even met the cast, and that’s just what we know – there may be sadness attached to the main cast of Touch and their role in this series (Tatsu and Minami remain the elephants in the room as far as Mix is concerned). I was worried for Souchirou and still am, a little – but it may just be possible that the cast of Mix may escape Death’s grim touch (pun intended).