It’s been so long since we’ve seen a translated chapter of Mix that I’d almost forgotten where the story left off. Such are the frustrations of being a manga fan who can’t read Japanese fluently. A quick review later here we are, picking up right we left off – which was just at the point the story seemed to finally be coming together.
A lot of the focus of these chapters – including the title of the second – is on a different set of brothers than you’d expect. Adachi continues to allow a trickle of information about the Tachibana siblings’ deceased parents and thus the Touch connection, via Touma’s father, but he’s still not giving up the really big stuff. We even got a brief mention of Touma’s mother at-last – she was an elite softball pitcher who made it all the way to the national final. But not a name – even the nickname is cut short by an untimely interruption from Souichrou (which suggests that nickname was important).
The opponent in the first round of the East Tokyo Qulifier is Kenjo, and that means Akai-kun’s older brother. These are the brothers of the Chapter 30 title, and it’s clear they don’t get along too well – “Because we’re brothers”, the younger pointedly tells Otomi. They seem much further along than Meisei in the quest to reclaim their former glory, with a first-year but well-connected coach who’s brought with him a quintet of “fearsome” first-year players. The elder Akai (who bears a marked resemblance to Azuma Yuuhei from Cross Game) is the most fearsome of the bunch.
Because Kenjo has become rather well-known, it’s easier to get info on them – but no one seems to know anything about Meisei these days. Ooyama sends his daughter to scout a Kenjo practice (is it a coincidence that her sport is rhythmic gymnastics?) and she comes back with a dossier of their fearsomeness, but the Tachibana brothers seem not at all unconcerned. Touma can barely stay awake, and Souchirou memorizes the report in a blink – and both boys seem pleased that their opponent is “merely” as good as advertised.
For any Adacbhi baseball manga, this is really kind of the moment when things start “for real” – the first pitch of the first Koushien. Fate is always a guiding hand in any Adachi manga, and there was never any doubt these two teams would play first. Touma plays a little possum in the first inning, but these brothers have too much ability to keep under wraps in game conditions. But while the nature of the challenge Meisei presents is becoming apparent by the end of the top of the 1st inning, it’s clear we’re not going to see what Touma can really do unlike the Kenjou cleanup, Akai-kun, leads off the 2nd…