Mar 17, 2009
Stories about sports in the anime and manga genre nowadays have been mostly dominated by popular series such as the Prince of Tennis, Eyeshield 21 and Hajime no Ippo, to name a very select few. These are your standard shounen sports stories where its basically the coming of age party of a shounen hero from a place of mediocrity to the path of greatness. As heart-warming as these stories sound, their execution are somewhat similar and highly predictable. And they rarely try to touch on deeper themes. That is where the magic of Adachi Mitsuru comes into play. His works
not only tell of a story about an everyday kid entering the sports world, they not only involve a deeply rooted romance that the story hinges upon but they also touch upon aspects of everyday life that people may take for granted. That is where the true beauty of Adachi's "Touch" comes into play.
Touch can be best described as a story where, similar to most of Adachi's other works, combine a touching romance story with sports. In Touch's case, its baseball. Uesugi Tatsuya and Uesugi Kazuya are twin brothers, and along with their childhood friend, Asakura Minami, are as close as friends can be. Kazuya is the sibling who excels at baseball, gets the good grades while Tatsuya is the lazy twin who steps out of the limelight willingly so his brother can receive the accolades, even when the topic comes to Minami. While all three of these characters can be seen as the main characters in this story, the plot is driven around Tatsuya. Any more information would ruin the stunning plot twist that Adachi is brazen enough to introduce. You'll wonder whether or not that was the correct move to make in terms of progressing the story. Rest assured, it works well.
The art that Adachi implements is a style that is extremely simple and light, contrary to most other shounen sports manga. There are no crazy hair styles, absurdly figured bodies, but just simple, every day, run-of-the-mill people. This works well because Touch can also be seen to fit under the slice of life genre as well. However, as simple as easy to understand, Adachi does seem to have a hard time showing emotions of character's faces, even in some of the more touching scenes. Whether that's on purpose because of keeping the manga as light and easy to read or if its something he does struggle with, its something to be argued about. However, he still gets the job done exquisitely and stay extremely consistent from start to finish.
The characters in Touch are both the strongest and weakest aspect of the story (if this story has a weakness). As stated previously, the story centers around Tatsuya and the development he undergoes from beginning to end is immense, and done perfectly. The same can be said for the other two main characters, Minami and Katuya, although not to the extent of Tatsuya. Adachi also introduces a lot of side characters - many of which are rivals on the baseball field or rivals that vie for the hearts of Minami and Tatsuya - which really help justify the development seen in the main characters. However, sometimes these side characters are introduced extremely randomly and Adachi will bring them back into the story just as randomly. It's funny because Adachi - in the story - actually pokes fun at himself because he knows he's doing it.
Though Touch is a perfect example where sports and romance meet in earnest, and supporters of both genres will be highly satisfied with what Adachi uses, Touch also falls into the category of slice of life. Adachi creatively weaves in many life lessons, both in a surreptitious manner and a straight-in-your-face manner. Throughout the manga, Adachi also pokes fun at himself many times too and the reader will definitely chuckle at some of the panels in which he does this. Basically, Touch is a highly touching story about the lives of Tatsuya, Kazuya and Minami as they go through middle school all the way to the third year of high school and is a story that any anime or manga fan will enjoy immensely.
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