Manga of the Month: Buddy Strike

Buddy Strike (バディストライク) by Kaito

narutaki_icon_4040 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.

~ kate


Baseball in the Time of Taisho

narutaki_icon_4040 I went on the Taiiku Podcast to discuss Taisho Baseball Girls with host Kory and Ink from AniGamers.

Just as the protagonists in the series struggle to be given a chance, this anime has also been greatly underestimated!

Taiiku Podcast: Episode #12—Taisho Baseball Girls


Manga of the Month: Ranma ½

Ranma ½ (らんま½)
by Rumiko Takahashi

hisui_icon_4040 Ranma ½ is a lot like Akira.

Wait, wait, wait. Put down those torches and pitchforks. Let me explain for a second. It will all make sense if you just give me a chance.

They not the same when it comes to content. I meant that in the sense that at one point in time it was almost inconceivable to think that anyone who was any sort of casual anime fan had not seen at least a little of either. People tended to either love or hate either title and of course that led to lots of “overrated” and “overexposed” being thrown around about both. But even if you your opinion was in the middle of the road about it you were expected to have an opinion about both. They were an integral part of the framework of fandom conversations.

And then time passed and luster fell off both titles. Neither of them are forgotten. They still randomly appear on top 10 lists. They still influence people. They still get brought up in conversation. They are just no longer the essentials they once were. You can bring them up at a convention and if half the audience has not seen either of them you’re not too surprised.  And so at some point both of them went out of print.

Viz announced at Anime Expo that the Ranma 1/2 manga was going back into print in a new format. Then at Otakon they announced the same for the anime. With this classic coming back into the consciousness (and store shelves) soon I decided this was a good a time as any to talk about this series.

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