The first of these reminders is a callback to the “other” glorious memory for Meisei High School – the only other sport where it won a national championship, rhythmic gymnastics. Coincidences are always a tricky thing with Adachi manga – sometimes they end up not being coincidences at all, but he’s not above using flat-out coincidence to drive his plot forward. That Haruka should end up joining the rhythmic gymnastics team is hardly a surprise – but is it a coincidence?
The most interesting element of the first baseball practice, for me, is the third-years. Ooyama is making Touma run with the rest of the freshmen, letting the third-years handle the pitching out of deference to their pride, but it turns out that they just want to see Touma pitch – because they’re tired of losing, and they care more about finally making a splash than about giving way to a first-year. This makes a change from some of Adachi’s baseball scenarios, where winning over the oldsters is a major first hurdle for the MC. The fact is, Ooyama simply doesn’t know just how good Touma is because he’s never actually seen him pitch – and the rumors don’t do him justice.
Someone who does know, seemingly, is Nishimura – who expresses a not-so-subtle interest in what the Tachibana brothers are up to. “It’s still just Meisei”, his son says – that would have made an excellent chapter title actually – but Dad has seen more than Junior, and he knows enough to be worried. The battle-lines are being drawn both on the baseball and romance fronts – Haruka has drawn interest from both brothers while Nangou continues to obsess over her as he dodges bugs. Otomi thinks constantly of Touma (to the irritation of Souichirou), as Ichiban continues to think only of her.
But what about “them”? Surely Adachi can’t ignore the elephant for too much longer – its shadow covers pretty much everything else in Mix at the moment, and anticipation may become distraction if this drags on for much longer. But Adachi is the pro, the master’s master – and he gets the big bucks for figuring out the perfect moment to pull the trigger…