Lots of interesting stuff going on in these two chapters, the first of which acts as a kind of father-son montage. Most amusing here is Nishimura Isami telling his son “You don’t have to take after me with the stupid stuff” when the boy expresses his fantasy that Otomi is interested in him. And we’re treated to Souichirou walking in on his stepfather staring at the Meisei “Ace” jersey in the storage closet – but it doesn’t belong to him.
Sawai Keiichi isn’t a name I remember from Touch, but it seems to be a very important one in Mix. It’s the name of Sou and Otomi’s late father, and according to the dude at Ramen Dragon and Ooyama-kantoku, the best pitcher Meisei ever had after it won the Koushien. He didn’t pitch many games and died very young, but Sawai-san seems to have made quite an impression.
Also of consequence here is the identity of the Kenjou formely Sumikou slugger who was plunking baseballs into the river at the close of Chapter 26. It’s Akai Tomihito, and he’s the older brother of the soccer boy who’s sweet on Otomi and may have the ghost of a chance with her – the same one who said “baseball is the only sport I never tried”. It seems likely Tomihito is the reason, though whether it’s his raw talent or equally raw personality that’s the reason it’s too early to tell.
So far our connections with Touch are still pretty indirect, but the net seems to be closing. Ooyama is still trying to goad Souichirou into pitching, and asks him whether he doesn’t dream of fulfilling his late father’s unfulfilled destiny – but Sou replies that he believes there’s no way Touma can fail. Touma is the main character here – he gets all the glory moments and he has Adachi’s “MC face” – and it seems very likely his connection to Touch is going to be the most direct and most resonant. His mother’s identity is the one great variable we still haven’t seen revealed, and it’s hard not to imagine it’s going to be a game-changer when we do.