Thank you kindly for your attention.
It seems to me as if Adachi-sensei’s fourth-wall breaking – always a staple – is on the upswing of late. That passage was how he justified Touma getting a first-pitch triple-play in his very first high school appearance. It’s an attention-getter, that’s for sure. Earlier in the chapter Adachi follows up an argument over whether winning the Koshien 30 years earlier is a “long time” or a “little while” ago by stating, “We have a very stubborn mangaka”.
The latest volume of Mix is at about 300,000 in sales in its second week, so one thing’s for sure – Adachi hasn’t lost his commercial relevance, at least not when the subject at-hand is Meisei. I’d lay pretty good odds we’re going to see an anime adaptation of this series at some stage, perhaps two or three years down the line (or perhaps it’ll be timed to finish concurrently with the manga, as Cross Game was).
It’s tempting to be lulled into a false sense of security because it feels as if we’re farther along in the story than we are, but Adachi still has plenty of time to inject … into the mix – in terms of page count we’re only about halfway to where the big event happened in Touch (though well past where it did in Cross Game). Adachi doesn’t have to go that route of course, and he hasn’t in all his manga – only his two most famous ones. But I can’t shake the nagging feeling that some sort of big shoe is waiting to drop, and given the switch to monthly publication Adachi might drop it sooner than he would have otherwise.
For now, things are still moving along at a fairly gentle clip. We have arrived at one milestone moment, the beginning of the Tachibana Brothers high school baseball careers. It comes in a practice game against Toushuu and Mita Hiroki, the pitcher we saw being interviewed in Chapter 17. Ooyama slips from his role as general layabout and leech and into that of coach, and seems at least modestly competent so far – if wildly overconfident that his ragged bunch of boys can draw inspiration from a championship won 15 years before the best among them were born.
Toushuu is for real (Koshien Final 16 the year before), Mita-kun is a legit ace and the matchup is one-sided from the opening bell. But it’s really about seeing what Touma can do against legit competition, and while his appearance is delayed until two more senior pitchers (the latter of whom leaves Touma with a bases-loaded, no out jam) are mulched, the drama really only begins with the aforementioned triple play. It seems clear that this is the point in the story where Touma makes a statement – not by winning the game (I doubt Meisei could score five runs off Mita at this point if you gave them six outs per inning) but by showing Mita and Ooyama that he’s truly something special.
There’s also a bit of a subplot brewing between Otomi and Mita’s imouto, Natsuno, who “thinks of Otomi as her rival”. It’s still not absolutely clear where Otomi is going to fit into the story, but I still say the tea leaves strongly suggest step-incest with Touma – that story about the hill and the bloody shoe has “fated pairing” written all over it.