Mix – 15

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“Are You Worried?”

So, there ends the prologue, seemingly, and now begins the real story of Mix.  But will the big question on everyone’s minds be answered anytime soon?

I think more than with any other mangaka, familiarity is a vital component of Adachi Mitsuru’s appeal.  Frankly I’m not sure there’s another who could get away with what he does – both creatively and visually – without coming off as hopelessly repetitive and predictable.  And yet, somehow, he manages to make what seems incredibly recognizable feel fresh enough to matter, largely because his stock and trade is so effective to begin with but also because he manages to get the emotions just right.  Slipping inside an Adachi manga is like donning a comfortable robe and slippers and settling down in your favorite chair.

I don’t think Adachi manga would work very well if they didn’t feel like the Adachi manga we know, but he does obviously have the capacity to surprise, and in big ways.  So far at least the surprise in Mix is that there haven’t been any huge surprises – the tragedy in the lives of the main cast is all in the distant past, at least so far, and no one in the top echelon of Touch has been introduced yet.  It’s been mostly about setting up the scenario and establishing the Tachibana brothers, and especially Touma.  When he blurts out “Nan-chan” to the new transfer student it’s a moment we’ve seen many times, and one that stamps Touma as a classic Adachi lead on an elemental level.

It’s the arrival of the Kyushu kids that marks the major plot development this time, with the formal introduction of Ooyama’s daughter Haruka.  It’s too early to say just where she fits into the Adachi pantheon of heroines, but her most interesting moment came when Otomi – in a delightfully direct moment of her own – asks Haruka which of her brothers is her type.  “Are you worried?” Haruka replies – giving a clue that she’s got some snark and wry wit, though not a clue as to her direct answer.

One suspects that the answer is likely to be Souichirou, both because he’s shown the most interest in her and because Touma and Otomi seem already to be written in the stars.  But there’s a wild card on both the baseball and romantic fronts, and it’s another transfer student from Kyushu about whom we’ve been given no foreshadowing, Nangou Shirou.  He’s huge, a slugger on the diamond, and terrified of cockroaches – and seemingly obsessed with Haruka to the point where he’s followed her from Kyushu to Tokyo.

Prologue all this may still be, but it’s been very entertaining, and while this chapter wasn’t flashy it was classic Adachi in all those quiet ways that are hard to describe, but that you know when you see.  The baseball part of the story is about to kick into high-gear, both at Meisei High and over the fence at the middle school, where Ichiban is still working to impress Otomi and now the ace.  And besides the intense curiosity about those two from Touch, there’s always the lurking sense that Adachi could drop a bomb – something he’s earned with a track record of doing just that, making it an effective dramatic device even if it never actually happens here.

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27 comments

  1. l

    Haruka's "Are you worried?" response is classic Adachi.

    While it may be written in the stars that Touma and Otomi will match up at the end, the fun is not the end result but the path getting there. Haruka may be intrigued by Touma as well. He's in the same class as she is and she gets too see him a lot more than Souichirou, Haruka very likely knows about the situation in the Tachibana household and is probably trying to suss out Otomi with that question as an answer.

    I say, "Let the games begin!" (^o^)

    p.s.
    FYI, if you're not aware, Capeta manga has ended at Volume 32. I understand you enjoyed the anime.

  2. I did, and I knew it ended. Love to see it finished in anime form one day, figure it'll never happen.

  3. H

    "Slipping inside an Adachi manga is like donning a comfortable robe and slippers and settling down in your favorite chair."
    Probably because Adaichi writes romantic comedies dressed up as sport manga. Jōji Morikawa and Nobuyuki Fukumoto is what I'm talking about.

  4. The sports is always secondary to the characters in Adachi manga, and so what? I certainly care more about the story being told than rigid genre rules.

  5. H

    By story don't you mean romance?

    Anything touting as a sport manga should have you on the edge of your seat, protecting an adrenaline rush off the page and focus 90% on the essence of sport. The problem with making every genre fluid is that you end up expecting and getting the exact same thing you would from an ordinary Highschool Rom-com or slice of life anyway. This problem is most prevalent in anime where everything is expected exude qualities of those genres.

    In Jōji Morikawa's work the honoring of the sport is just as important as the characters (it even becomes a character) of his story. Which is the component that differentiates it from other genres.

  6. H

    *projecting

  7. Your expectations aren't Adachi's problem, and they shouldn't be.

  8. H

    Well that's missing the larger point entirely. But you seemed satisfied with getting the same thing over and over, so good for you.

  9. Z

    The same could be applied to someone like Urobuchi Gen. Expecting a stance from him isn't his problem.

  10. l

    Hangman, your definition of what qualifies as a sport manga is too narrow in my opinion. What for me would qualify as sport manga is one where there is good bit of sports action (at least a third of it) but also where the sport action does not bastardise the sport or vary it beyond recognition.

    The Adachi series that includes baseball tends to have a fair bit of baseball action (e.g. in chronological order: Touch, H2, Cross game). Adachi is savy enough to ensure there is a balance of daily life, rom-com and sport action to draw in a larger crowd and have a more holistic story. He also knows when to let the sport action build up and when not to drag things out, like showing each and every inning of every game. The key games that his main characters play in have good ebb-and-flow with the occasional twist thrown in to keep readers on their toes. That said, in all Adachi manga that involves sports, the sport is there to serve the story and characters – the fundamentals. At the moment, MIX has barely started.

  11. H

    Well at least going from Enzo's post it seems to me that Adachi invites more focus on the highschool romance or subtle slice of life character dynamics you could dine on anywhere. I'm watching Hajime no Ippo atm, which focuses more on the sporting and training. Development through self improvement. A small chunk of time is dedicated to Ippo's life outside the sport but largely the focus in on how his boxing has changed/improved his life. Call me a purist but I like my genres to at least feel distinguished from the other. Otherwise everything becomes a cultural blur.

  12. H

    My larger point was that it feels like elements of rom-com and slice of life are always interceding other genres and ultimately become favored over the classic traits of the genre themselves (i.e we become more concerned about the romantic development between characters rather than the thrill of the game). Slice of life and rom-coms in general seem a dominating force in the anime market now it seems. That has it's positives but some people like more discernible variety.

  13. B

    Your biggest mistake here is assume you can "dine on anywhere" with regards to Adachi's subtle slice of life character dynamics. No one does it quite like him, especially nowadays. One of the best things about Adachi being true to his style is that he's been doing this for over 20 years, now. Not only is he an incredibly talented individual, he also has a good chunk of experience in what he does, and it just shows. I still have Touch as my personal favourite from him, but if you read that one and Cross Game, you'll see the latter has a much appreciated… "maturity", so to speak, that sets it apart from his other works.

    That said though, yes, Adachi is slice of life/romance with a fair bit of sports and not the other way around. If you're not up for that… then you'll probably not enjoy it? Just don't play the "nowadays slice of life and rom-com are always interceding" card, because that's sorta implying Adachi does it this way because "nowadays" it's popular. We're talking about a man who's been doing this for over two decades, with quite a big following, and who has produced one of the most popular manga of all-time: Touch.

  14. H

    I don't think I ever specifically said that of Adachi, but anime/manga in general. He's clearly great at what he does, so why change anything? I guess a lot of modern artists have learnt a thing or two from him.

  15. P

    Just throwing this small gem here in case you guys haven't listened to it

    http://vk.com/video-50746834_165872370

    Iwasaki Yoshimi and Mizuki Nana recently got together and performed the 1st opening for Touch at a public performance

  16. B

    Tears of joy when I found that video a couple weeks ago. Still such a fantastic song, and Yoshimi + Nana duo worked fantastically well!

  17. Iwasaki still sounds great.

    I've said it before, but I would love to see a reboot of Touch, timed to end with the premiere of the Mix anime. The timing is almost too perfect.

  18. H

    Why retouch a perfectly fine 80s anime – is cel animation that much of an eye cancer to people?

  19. l

    *wraps my arms around my Touch R2J DVD Boxset*

  20. H

    I notice Adachi has a boxing manga that's out (no anime of course). I might give that a try since I'm not that big on baseball.

  21. l

    Ack.. No. Hangman. Stay away from Adachi's Katsu! If you like George Morikawa's Hajime no Ippo, there's not much boxing in Adachi's manga. It's mainly rom-com. Boxing in that manga is just a gimmick in comparison with Hajime no Ippo. You are much better served watching Ashita no Joe , the granddaddy of boxing sports manga/anime.

  22. H

    Sporting gimmickry was what I was getting at with Adachi lol. I thought I'd get a taste of what he's like with a preferential sport for fairness sake. I've read a volume's worth, it seemed okay but yeah, Hajime is more focused.

    I might check out Ashita no Joe movie when I'm done with Ippo.

  23. l

    Watch the AnJ TV series instead of the movie. It is being subbed.

    Give the manga, Last Inning, a try for high school baseball. Mostly about the game, little outside of it. It's not over the top either.

  24. H

    Cheers for the advice leongsh! Still fucking chewing through Hajime no Ippo – So good it hurts. There's another season from 2009 and one just around the corner so I'm doomed for a little while longer.

  25. k

    Did you check Tower of GOd out yet Enzo?

  26. Just very briefly. It looks interesting, but it may be a while before I can give it an extended reading.

  27. k

    Aah okay,hope you give it a chance :)

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