“That’s My Brother”
So the last chapter was titled “My Brother” and this one “That’s My Brother”. Is Adachi getting lazy in his middle age? If the title of 20 is “Are We Really Going to Masadora?” we’ll have a pretty good idea.
The translations of Mix are coming fast and furious and my back is killing me, so I’ll just briefly check in on this chapter. A couple of things stood out for me, the first being Otomi telling her friend that “Touma is the one that always betrays your expectations – for better or for worse.” That strikes me as an incredibly classic Adachi line, full of hidden meaning and subtext. It’s also inescapable that Otomi is much more engaged with the game when “Tou-chan” (he says he hates being called that) is batting than when her own brother is. And Touma’s AB is certainly more entertaining, though he strikes out after a 9-pitch duel with Mita – on a pitch that was actually a ball.
We see a little deeper into Touma the ballplayer and the person here, because it’s clear that while he’s playing the role of the carefree raw talent, he understands the game of baseball very well. He immediately pounds the same spot off the outside corner where Mita’s pitch was called a strike, putting the onus on the umpire to give him that pitch as well. Touma blows through the order and scuttles Ooyama’s plan to switch pitchers after every run through the lineup, making it clear he’s for real – though that was pretty much a given, or we wouldn’t have a story.
The other thing that struck me as kind of interesting was that Touma’s Dad shows up to watch the game, arriving while Touma is on the mound. This is the first time I can recall a parent attending a game in an Adachi baseball manga (though I won’t swear it), and given the generational quality of Mix I wonder if this is a precursor to something significant in terms of exposition. Adachi-sensei has definitely established that Mix is cut from the same cloth as his baseball magna opera Touch and Cross Game, with its quietly charismatic and charming lead and complicated childhood relationships. What he hasn’t yet established is what makes this story different from those others – what the “hook” is. My sense is that we’re creeping closer to a nexus point in the series where it’s going to start revealing more of its true nature.