Jan 14, 2016
Nine is a very old manga (late '70s) from the mangaka who eventually would go on to give us Touch and H2, among others. It is much shorter than is more well-known works, but is still a solid mixture of romance and sports manga... if you don't mind some of the old-school elements seeping through.
The manga starts out a bit awkwardly: two best friends (a middle school judo star and a middle school track star) decide to join their high school's down-and-out baseball team, because both become instantly infatuated with the team's manager (who is also the coach's daughter). It turns out the
judo star wasn't really serious about her--but he keeps playing baseball anyway--leaving the track star as the sole hero to pursue her affections, against several less savory rivals of course.
Yeah, so it strains credibility, even in the magical land of shounen sports manga. Still, once that all gets out of the way and they get on to playing baseball, dating, maturing, etc. it turns into a pretty good manga. The main couple do really like each other and have several nice scenes together. The baseball gets a little silly at times, but it's nice to see how it deals with the team coming together and growing over the course of three years--this isn't a team that instantly gels in one season. And by the end of the manga, I can honestly say that I've developed some affection for the crazy bunch.
That being said, it is old-school. The fashion is extremely conservative. The hair is big (or shaved). The relationship dynamics all feel a little bit stilted.
So, if you can get past the awkward start and don't mind the old-school nature of it all, this eventually becomes an enjoyable manga for anyone who likes some romance with their sports manga (or some sports manga with their romantic comedy).
Reviewer’s Rating: 7
What did you think of this review?