At first it seemed like Cross Game was more of the same from Mitsuru Adachi. Its initial similarities to Touch are quite easy to notice. They are both about boys who start with little interest in baseball and have a change of heart after the death of a loved one. After reading seeing a good deal of Cross Game they are very different shows. Tatsuya and Minami from Touch have a very different dynamic than Ko and Aoba on top of being very different characters overall. Cross Game shows that Adachi has not lost any magic as a manga-ka who blends dramatic romance with sports manga action. His characters are fun and play off each other well and he knows how to stage a scene for dramatic impact. So far we have not really seen anyone play a full game of baseball. Adachi is setting up the characters so that we care about Ko and his team winning before they play their first game. I like how Ko has become the secondary teams secret weapon. It leads to a good mixture of comedy and suspense as they try to keep his amazing pitching skill a secret. So far Cross Game is still on track as a good show to keep your eye on especially if you like shonen romance.
Vertical had mentioned the Shinjuku Shark books a couple of times at conventions and piqued my interest. After all, a detective story is what we have an affinity for around here! So the self-titled first book finally got a look see by both of us. The Shinjuku Shark strikes fear in all that know him and in many that don’t. He is somewhat of a rogue cop who the brass can’t stand. He has no partner to speak of as he prowls the streets of Shinjuku with little fear of the Yakuza and other gang types. While Samejima (The Shark) certainly has a hard-boiled feel, he is humanized through his relationships and by him actually having moments of fear when going up against the villains in these stories. Also after learning a little of his past in the force as well as the reason he has been permanently relegated to the Shinjuku streets he quickly becomes a character you want to follow. Some other notable people are Yabu the weapons expert on staff and Samejima’s boss Momoi who is nicknamed The Cadaver because of his stellar personality. Both of these guys help Samejima out once and a while, so you know not everyone is against him. They make a great team and certainly made me want to see them appear more. One of the things that struck me was some of the coincidences in this book. We aren’t looking at a small pool of suspects, we are talking about an entire city, but it is relatively obvious who is behind things about half way through. Also the final intended victim was rather convenient. However, if I accept these things the story has some well-paced and suspenseful moments.