Yamato Keisuke, a promising freestyle swimmer, and Ninomiya Ami, a talented diver, are the offspring of two rival families owners of confectionery shops. Two generations ago, Grandfather Ninomiya came up with an idea for an owl-shaped cake, but Grandfather Yamato quickly raised to the challenge and thought of a similar cake—but in Yamato's the owl had ears. Because they're priced the same, Yamato's extra ears were crucial, and that made the business of the Ninomiya confectionery suffered. Grandfather Ninomiya then fell ill worrying about his shop. Before his death, his last words were "I was killed by the Yamatos," and since that moment the two families have been sworn rivals.
So before I start this review, I think I should note that I am quite a fan of Mitsuru Adachi's manga, and Rough was one of the most recent mangas that I've finished.
In comparison with his other works, this manga was relatively short, 12 volumes at around 10 chapters each, this I feel is a plus for the manga overall, because sometimes his longer works (e.g. H2) drags a bit.
So alright, I'll just go through the categories then..
Story - it's been noted and referenced a few times within the manga, that the main characters are like Romeo and Juliet. Having said that should be enough
to paint a picture of how the story should be like, yes? Rival families + their kids liking each other? It was warm, it was sweet and it was satisfying. Adachi never goes over the top when it comes to romance/relationships and that's one of the things I love about his works. I wasn't bored by the story at all, and I'm surprised Adachi even managed to throw a few cliffhangers in there (lol @ the translator's notes).
Art - typical Adachi's style, although his character art never seems impressive at first, and always seems to recycle characters (think of them as movie actors/actresses playing different roles - it's like a parallel universe sometimes!), the characters tend to stick to you because of their soft and easy forms I believe. But you have to give him credit, even though his characters aren't the best looking out there (but more realistic, not like your typical anime/manga style/stereotypes), the environment art is always top notch.
Character - once again, I love the characters that Adachi comes up with, they always seem to fit in well and sometimes they make you think "isn't that such an ideal family" etc etc.. The character development was good too and I think Adachi always does a good job at keeping main characters as mains and support characters as support.
Enjoyment - well all up I finished the manga in like 2~3 days, is that no enjoyable enough?!
As an extra note, I was really impressed with the ending actually. I was wondering how Adachi was going to end this one. Although the endings always seem somewhat predictable (with the exception of like H2 probably), I never expected him to end it with this "style" I guess :P.
It's a shame, really. This series has an unpleasant ending. Like the scanlators manga downloads said, it's one of the best Adachi comics when they scanlated it.
Ahh... just wished that the mangaka hadn't wasted some pages including some scenes which were totally out of plot, but since it's published in 1989 or something ,it couldn't be helped.
... Cos it seemed like he needed a few more chapters for a more conclusive ending.
Right from the beginning, or somewhere the middle of this 119 chapters series, it had potential to score a 10. Sad thing is, some things were dragged out too long, and some "filler"
panels wasted chapters. The plot development was incomplete, along with plot consistency. However, this is still one great comic, one of my favs, as the story has great realistic value, and covers some highly desirable values.
+> Sportsmanship, hard work, camaraderie, loyalty etc. were well shown in this sports-romance centric comic.
+> Storytelling method was smooth except for a few kinks here and there. Able to move readers.
+> Main characters were able to play a great part in other people's lives
-> Characters sort of had some strange personalities towards the end
-> Romance was not developed that well, especially even with the ending
-> Not enough explanation was given for some circumstances, even the ending
-> Story was kinda slow in some parts, especially the start of the series, and too rushed near the end
-> Some parts of the story was a bit strange, even eeriely unrealistic, (like Yamato's strange luck in a competition. It made it like luck was more important than ability. Dun worry , it's only for a couple of chapters.)
Well, the storyline is quite on sports and high school romance, along with some Romeo and Juliet references, so if you like this kind of genres, try reading it.
Well, I recognized immediately this manga was published in the 1980s-1990s cos of the art, something similar to Ranma 1/2 or Kimagura(?) Orange Road.
What is spectacular about the art is that early till about middle of the series the drawings of the scenery shocked me. A lot of deatil in them and they look realistic. But somehow after some point they seemed less realistic.
Expressions were drawn nicely too, but some panels seemed to jump to much from the previous panel, so I had no idea what the panel meant.
Its art is great even for today's context, 2010. A lot of effort must have been put in, to reach that detail of art in a manga. Some panels look like they should be in a museum :D.
Very nice development of some characters, especially the main characters' personalities. However, the main characters' past were not explored enough, hanging a cliffhanger there, and near the ending, some events made it even more perplexing.
Character personalities' were pretty stable thruout the series, although some characters were introduced, then abandoned.
It's a pity the mangaka couldn't stay more focused on the main characters.
Sometimes draggy and slow, but it is very touching and some points, and inspiring. A must read for sports fans, or athletes who are interested in this kind of manga. Plenty to agree with, cos it's pretty realistic.
Btw, the romance in Rough reminded me a bit of Yume de Aetara.
Depending on preferences, you may like or dislike this comic. The character art is awfully simplistic and some panels literally show nothing but take a lot of space. But the storyline is a good one, though the ending was not so good. Well, come to think of it, it might have been a good ending, oh well.
If you like this series, try the mangaka's other works or Yume de Aetara.
O PS. I though that this series should be an anime better than a manga, since some parts would be better with voice acting and some parts were better if we knew the timing of some actions.
I’m not going to go on too much at length regarding Mitsuru Adachi’s Rough. I only really wanted to remark on a couple of things about it, which struck me as being significant enough that I should even make a point of laying out why I find them interesting.
Adachi is mostly known to me as The Baseball Manga Guy. I’m aware that he has many other works where has dabbled in other genres, sports, etc., but it would be hard to argue that his reputation isn’t based on his baseball works (primarily Touch, H2 and Cross Game). Before I continue, I should lay out my
biases (where I’m coming from): I hate baseball, and find it an unbearably dull sport; and I’ve only read one actual manga of his work (I’ve seen the entirety of the Cross Game anime, and about a third of the Touch anime). So, please bear in my mind that my observations regarding Rough and Adachi are based on a pretty small sampling of his oeuvre.
First observation: the main characters in Rough have complex interior lives that are revealed not through soul-bearing monologues, but through action. One of the strengths of Adachi’s work is that his characters are completely aware of themselves. Sure, they might not want to admit what they’re feeling (let alone verbalize it), but at every point they’re acutely aware of what they’re doing and why. Compare the protagonist of Rough to any similar work, and the level of self-knowledge is staggering. These characters aren’t confused or lost; they’re remarkably self-assured. But, more wonderful and more intriguing, is the way that Adachi lets us know completely what’s on their mind. There are numerous panels after panels where his characters witness something, or are in a situation that should warrant some kind of line of dialogue that will illuminate their thought process, but instead Adachi holds back. He gives us a panel full of only a side-long glance, or an almost blank reaction; but what Adachi trusts us to do as a reader is to fill in the blank, and notice that his characters’ brains are at full-throttle at all times. So even though there are no crazy love declarations, or angsty nonsense, when the romantic gestures do come out, they’re based on volume after volume of accrued body language, subtle visual information, and nuanced, elliptical storytelling. It’s a whole lot more complicated than just saying “I love you” - it approaches the sublime.
Which leads into my second observation: Adachi’s confidence in his style, his approach. In reading Rough, I often marvelled at the simplicity, the clarity, of Adachi’s storytelling. He’ll often start chapters with a couple of pages of nothing but still life scenery (a panel of an empty baseball diamond, a classroom, the classroom clock). It isn’t simple scene-setting; it’s almost the manga equivalent of Ozu’s pillow shots. These panels allow us to get into a particular mode of consciousness, a more receptive wavelength, where the interactions of the characters can be understood not just on a plot level, but also perhaps on a wider, more emotional level. By easing us into the story by giving us these partial slices of it, I think Adachi allows us to connect the experiences of the characters to our own memories; the empty classroom (though I think by now a Japanese visual trademark by itself) recalls images from our own life, and allows us to emotionally connect on an instinctual level with what’s happening with the character. Adachi allows us to both see the story, and see how the story is just a representation of certain rhythms, philosophies, attitudes. And, just like Ozu, he seems to return to the same basic subjects and themes, reworking them, putting them in different combinations, sometimes starting out at the same place, only to end up something different.
But that last part is something that I’ll have to investigate further. It’s all research after all.
copied/pasted from my blog: thenextthingblog.wordpress.com
The drawings are not very imaginative and the storyline gets really boring. At times I was like *yawn* is there anything interesting gonna happen? But this manga is deffinitely something for sport lovers, esp. Swimming, it's all about that. So if you're int o swimming this choice of manga might be the right one, altho i can't guarantee even a sports lover not to be bored by it, as it is and I repeat it unwillingly UTTERLY BORING and really LONG!!
Towards the end it eventually got interesting and it really turned out to be cute, altho there might have been a bit more romance and
action, cause nothing happened between the main two characters, Yamato and Ninomiya. They ended up being together, despite all of the family issues and the stern father of the girl who wanted her to marry Nakanishi, the world's swimming champion.
I loved the ending, where ninomiya recorder on a tape the words „i love you“ dedicated to yamato, before the swimming nationals. She chose him after all.