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- Published on Amazon.com
Cross Game is unique in high quality of writing and drawing, a sport hero story part of a sports team underdog story. These combined with the team mate's stories give a great sports tale, but also hint of romance and humor for 12-40 male and female, baseball lover or not. This is one of the top 10 manga series to read this year.
We start and end the manga with a full story arc, yet wanting more. Viz has done a great job in making Vol 1-3 in the first book (the story of Ko, Wakaba and the Portable baseball team), and this Vol 2 about the game between the varsity, the evil coach and the wily coach of the `Portable' baseball team (read `disposable'). The poor Portable baseball team are not even allowed to practice on the field.
A great story needs a great villain and this coach who only cares about winning, to the point of hurting his own players and then dropping them, faces the `Portable' team led by Ko as pitcher. Told that if they play well, they might make varsity, the `Portable team are going to try to show the `varsity' who have been hand picked from across the country, that they deserve to play too.
Ko is the son of the sports school owner and the Tsukishima sisters who run the batting practice center live right down the road. Ko and Wakaba were inseparable childhood friends, and Ko only cared about batting. But on the day of Wakaba's accident, she told her sister that she dreamt of seeing Ko pitch before a packed house at the Koshien, Baseball's great stadium.
With Wakaba gone, the slightly older sister Aoba took up pitching, and she looks down on Ko, who seems to be wasting his talent. But when the coach, who only uses these youth who trust in him, instead of training them, uses Aoba off the girls junior high team as practice pitcher, hurting her arm just to give his players one day of batting practice Ko has gotten fired up. But has he left it years too late to practice, now with the game starting, we will find out.
The coach and principal don't even allow anyone to sit on the bleachers to support the Portables, and have an announcer, but who only does announcing for the varsity. In case we still had an iota of feeling for the varsity coach, he drops one of his players, (`where are you going? That's not your bench.') DURING the game for displeasing him.
What the Portable's lack in practice skills, they make up for in heart, but with an early 3-0 lead, is that enough, as with only 1 pitcher, and players who tire, facing the varsity pro's whose batting and fielding practice happens daily. This second volume gives us not only the full game, not leaving us wait three months for the conclusion, but gives us back story and teasers to the story around the coach, the catcher and other players.
However the game ends, the `Portable' team has literally disappeared. But where did they go, and what are they doing. We are tantalized but we will have to wait until Viz puts out Cross Game 3 to find out. A perfect read, satisfying but also leaving us wanting more.