Buddy Strike (バディストライク) by Kaito
The creator of Cross Manage brings us a new sports manga about a pitcher and catcher duo (known as a “battery”). Buddy Strike features Ryo a pitcher whose throw is so fearsome even he can’t control it. And Kaname who can catch any pitch but asks for the pitcher’s soul in return.
As you can see Buddy Strike likes to be melodramatic. And that’s what I like about it. Once we start seeing pitches they are over the top interpretations of how characters look and react on a grand scale. The artwork is also hyper-detailed in these moments giving them intensity. We may end up with a more power-based sports series than a more down-to-earth one.
The mantra of sports series now seems to be “you can’t play x sport alone.” Buddy Strike makes this a central focus as Ryo has gone through many catchers who simply can’t play with him. Kaname with his skull-shaped birthmark and eccentric personality is really the only way to go for Ryo if he wants to become the best. Kaname is very mysterious so far and feels like the star of the show (but maybe I’m just showing my bias towards catchers).
Buddy Strike is neither too serious or too silly. Kaito created an excellent balance between sports drama and comedy with Cross Manage as well so I am hopeful that we’ll be seeing more of Buddy Strike.
Buddy Strike is the latest in VIZ’s “Jump Start” selections which feature new series hot off the presses in Japan.