Ongoing Investigations: Case #082

hisuiconMitsuru Adachi once again proves he wants to be writing shonen romance manga but keeps being forced to throw in a sports angle due to his perceived image as a sport manga guy. Cross Game has an ending that while different than Touch left me with that same feeling that the baseball and the trip to Koshien Stadium to just window dressing to the relationship. I enjoyed the series overall especially since I was braced for this sort of ending after Touch. I could tell you how I would have ended Cross Game but I am saving that for next month’s Final Denouement. Overall I think the series was well done and you should not let any criticism I give discourage you from watching the show. It ends well and is a very satisfying if you realize that the romance is the real heart of the series no matter how much the baseball might seem to be the key.

Cross Game started off incredibly strong then dipped in the middle as baseball appeared less and less even going for a stretch of 10+ episodes without the sport mentioned more than in passing. But throughout it all the characters were engaging and admittedly though I complained a lot, I did not give up on the show. Kou and Aoba are an interesting pair because they don’t change so much as realize what has been there all along, and that in itself is a change, but who they are is solid and established right from the beginning. I was equally happy to learn who each of the side characters were like Azuma (who quickly became my favorite) and Akaishi who both show how strong the bonds of friendship are. And within all of this the baseball really delivers, when it is in the story, with real tension and energy. The real problem for Adachi as I see it is that he can write really gripping baseball moments even if he doesn’t want to and therefore I wanted to see more of it. And believe me the ending hits all the right spots between a great last game and the wrap up of the romances I truly felt chills and emotion. The only hiccup with the ending is one piece of unfinished business that’s outcome is never disclosed. Much to my surprise I ended up being happier with Cross Game than I thought I was going to be.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #066

I received a copy of the first book of The Lizard Prince from CMX last week. It seems to follow in the footsteps of many of their shojo fare of late, not bad but not great and a bit forgettable.

In this short (just two books) story, we follow the misadventures of Sienna a Prince who was turned into a lizard only to have the spell (semi)broken by true love. And we and his new love Canary find out quickly he can still transform into reptilian mode though getting back to human is a bit dodgy. This is a running gag and makes up for a good portion of the incidents in the book. Woven into these frantic moments are some cute trials and growing affection between these two young members of royalty.Though they keep trying to make Canary into this tomboy princess it rarely comes through. Sienna’s kind of a weenie but very trying and sweet though he a lot more amusing in lizard form.

The humor, like the love story, is kind of just middling without really making you laugh out loud nor moving you to cheer.

There is also a one shot about a girl who is always burning hot and a boy with nice, cool hands. This story I liked a bit better than the main but that might owed to it being just a one off.

As a whole The Lizard Prince is cute but nothing that seems all that special.

With the gentle urging of a fellow Hitohira fan I finally decided to go and watch the anime. I prefer the manga but the anime is a wonderful adaptation.

Hitohira is the story of a painfully shy girl who after being roped into joining one of the two competing drama clubs learns to be more confident and peruse her dreams.

The anime captures all the powerful moments of the manga with the added force of voice acting for any of the scenes where they play is taking place. I enjoyed the manga a little more because I feel it was a tighter story. Everything happens pretty much the same they just take more time to do it in the anime.

Also Mugi Asai seems less hopeless when we spend less time with her running away from her problems. I was glad to see a bit of resolution to things that were only coming to a peak in volume three of the manga, which is the last volume of the manga that has been released in English.

The anime has a good stopping point but I know that the manga continues the story. I wish that we could finish the manga in the U.S. but I am not holding my breath until that happens.

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