“Now That’s Huge”
I confess I hadn’t realized that the translated version of this chapter has been out there for a while, so my apologies for that. It happens to be a pretty eventful one, too, with the best and most important on-field action of the series so far – though alas, nothing that brings us closer to the reveal of the “MacGuffin” – Adachi manga always have a MacGuffin – that will define Mix beyond simply being a sequel to Touch.
I’m in the midst of my most recent re-watch of Cross Game, and it’s striking how many of the same themes tend to repeat themselves in Adachi’s settings (not to mention how much his characters really do look alike). Cross Game was unusual in that it introduced the game-changing event very early by Adachi standards, whereas in Touch it came much later (at the end of the seventh volume). So it’s not unusual that Mix is still holding its cards close to the vest, but as I’ve said monthly series are different than weekly ones – and there are times when I struggle with impatience in reading this series. I like the setting, I like the characters (especially Touma), and I love Adachi’s trademark emotional subtlety and wit – but I still don’t feel as if I know what kind of series I’m reading, beyond the obvious.
What is becoming clear is that Touma is indeed a remarkable pitcher – he completely shuts down the Koushien Top 8 Toushuu to a fluke single in 5 innings. Mita Hiroki is perfect against Meisei – but he’s a third-year Koushien veteran and pro prospect, not a green first-year who should be in awe of the moment. Mita-kun in fact seems to be enjoying Touma’s performance very much – as does Touma’s Dad, watching via binoculars from the second floor of their house. As for Ooyama-san, I continue to expect he’s going to be revealed as a sharp baseball man before long, but for now he seems pretty helpless to try and slow down Mita. The only blip is an attempted safety bunt by Nangou, the huge slugger who’s afraid of cockroaches. Obvious foreshadowing that he, too, is more than he seems to be at first glance.
The effect of all this is that it’s like reading a very interesting manga while you see a Damoclean sword hanging over you at the corner of your eye, or think you can just hear the ticking of an explosive device. The other shoe is going to drop, sooner or later – we know it, Adachi knows we know it, and he seems to enjoy torturing us for now, The question is, what sort of shoe is it going to be and what kind of damage will it do when it hits?