I wanted to try reading a sports manga -just plain shonen sports- and it’s surprisingly hard to find xD But I found this one, so here we go!
(image from: https://myanimelist.net/manga/51835/Smoky_BB/pics)
I am going to be doing shorthand as I read. These descriptions are really more of a reminder to myself about what all I have been able to read so far. Sorry if this bothers anyone! I will do a full description on the final review page of each series I read.
Every post past this point will be a spoiler, so please read ahead with caution!
ch 1: I actually read all of chapter 1 without writing any notes. the translation I found online is really hard to read; there are a lot of sentences that don’t make sense. basically, there’s our main guy who is a star pitcher, or he was in middle school. he took a no-name school to the country-wide finals in less than a year, but then he quit. apparently he quits a lot, just like smoking (what?). 9 times he’s said he was done, but he keeps coming back, usually because of a bet it seems like (also he loves the sport). His family is having money trouble to the point that they’ve accumulated 100 million yen of debt; now the son -a middle schooler?- has to pay it off? so he quit baseball and school in order to work. despite this, though, he keeps getting challenged by yakuza people for a final match. enter some random chick! she’s the recruiter for Benten high school, and she wants this pitcher guy to join; she pays him 5 million yen at the start and says that if he can take their team to victory, then the school will pay off his debt. they’re desperate for a win because they’re on the brink of bankruptcy. when asked how baseball would fix it, she was very vague. I think the pitcher’s catcher friend is coming as well; I guess he’s probably the only one who can catch his friend’s insane pitches. Oh yeah, apparently the pitcher uses the “smokey” technique for pitching, except that it’s actually the “puffy” technique. … Idk much about baseball, so I’m not sure if this is a translation error or just my own ignorance.
ch 2: I’ll try to include names this time xD pitcher dude is actually named Haimura Enjirou. the recruiter girl is named Kuhou Komado; her family runs Benten High which is how she has access to their money and the power to create this contract with Enjirou. She’s wanting him to help their team win the Koshien Tournament. Apparently by winning this tournament, Benten will receive 400 million yen – maybe; she’s not really sure. this chapter mostly just showed off Enjirou’s skills, like how he can see what players need to do to improve and that he can throw more than 80km.
ch3: the catcher friend’s name is Kazami Hayata. the director of the school is named Kuhou Daimon. the school’s been in debt since his grandfather was running it, but the current director feels that he’s responsible since he never came up with a repayment plan. he says he’s willing to hang himself to fix the problem, but he knows that won’t solve anything (jeez!). on an unrelated side note, Enjirou is only capable of showing manners for baseball, and that seems to be sparingly. he does realize that being called an ace is useless; that’s a number you have to earn, and he’s willing to do it
ch4: the current ace pitcher of Benten is Kitazato Ayumu, and he’s also the vice captain. he heard about Enjirou being hired to play with them, and he’s willing to tell the entire team if Enjirou refuses to quit (apparently this is dishonorable somehow? I’d figure it’s like a scholarship; it was earned; what’s the problem?). he even throws a ball at Enjirou’s head, but Hayata catches it (good going, Hayata!). Enjirou side-steps Kitazato’s threat by openly telling the team himself. he explains that his family needed the money, so that’s why he agreed to come here, but if the team tests his skills, and he doesn’t measure up, then he’ll leave. his first opponent for the tournament is his own school! dun dun dunnn!! (sorry it ended with that cliff hanger, and I thought it was too good not to use)
ch5: Enjirou proposes his own game of 9out which means that the inning will last for each batter to hit once (so 9 hits) rather than ending after 3 outs; if they get even 1 point, then Enjirou will quit the team. no one offers to be their basemen or fielders (sorry if I get terms wrong; again, I don’t know much about baseball), but the team agrees not to steal bases or bunt to keep things “fair”. the umpire is also on Benten’s team, but he promises to be fair; Hayata believes him, so I believe him, too. his teammates seem mad about it, so I really think he will be honorable. 1st pitcher strikes out
ch6: apparently Enjirou has now done 6 strike outs xD the umpire switches in to bat and gets a foul ball on the first try! apparently he hits left handed which makes the ball harder to stop quickly; it gives the hitter more time to reach a base. while retrieving two foul balls, Enjirou meets and talks with a boy who likes baseball but hates Kitazato. when the ball is hit too hard to be caught by Enjirou, this guy -Ikki- jumps in and catches it in the outfield, causing the final strike. Enjirou made a comrade!
ch7: the left hitting umpire (Sakamaki) also thinks Enjirou could be good for the team; he wants to see more -this throws everyone off. Kitazato is ready to put Enjirou in his place, though. Despite being an alright pitcher, Kitazato is a stronger hitter. He can control the ball well enough to get fouls whenever he needs/wants -after knowing the timing- until he’s ready to strike. his taunts to Enjirou backfire, though; they rev Enjirou up; he wants to get to this tournament of monsters! so he strikes Kitazato out.
ch8: the baseball captain, Toratani Masaharu arrives! he’s a lovable guy who’s so charismatic that even when he refused to be captain, they made him captain anyway. he convinces his teammates to take the field and get rid of the handicap. he’s able to hit both of Enjirou’s pitches (first as a foul, then for real). Kitazato originally intended to cheat in order to make Enjirou lose, but then he remembers his passion for baseball and forms a chain in order to get Toratani out. Hayata completes the chain with risk of injury, and Enjirou wins!
ch9: the start of the chapter shows off some people who will probably be important opponents later… so I didn’t bother learning their names >.>; they’ll come back later. back at Benten, they have their first match! and Kitazato has given his number to Enjirou (aww, that’s kind of sweet actually). oh yeah, also BB apparently means Baseball Business -according to a translation note
ch10: the coach decides that Enjirou will not play in the 2nd round (that seems like a bad plan…); they’re playing Hotei who destroyed Kitazato’s dream of being the best pitcher. the coach doesn’t want to lose Enjirou to the same depression; that’s his reasoning. Hotei’s star hitter, Mikami Shun, is a monster who broke Benten last year. But Enjirou knows that hiding from the fear only makes it worse, and Kitazato makes a deal with the coach before the game starts. If he, Kitazato, can survive the first inning without breaking down again, then Enjirou can play. Kitazato overcomes his fear, so though they are losing, they have not lost their spirit. Enjirou joins the game!
ch11: uh… baseball happens? Enjirou gets to pitch, and he’s pitching in a very non-flashy way, but thanks to his pitching style, every ball that does get hit can be caught by his teammates. Hayata notices that Enjirou is playing in such a way that works well with a team instead of show boating. Hotei is ready to crush them, though
ch12: Enjirou meets Mikami Shun off the field; Mikami and Toratani went to middle school together, but after joining Hotei, Mikami forgot how to laugh. He put everything into becoming a better, more unbeatable player; he doesn’t play for fun; he plays to win (what a monster). Mikami beats Enjirou’s pitch…
ch13: Enjirou beats himself up and says he’s failed. the game could be called since they’re 7 points down, and he thinks it’s all his fault. Toratani reminds him that baseball is a team sport, though, and that they still have half the inning to go. now it’s Benten’s turn to hit, and Enjirou causes the second strike; he’s sure they lost because of him… But then their ace batter, Ikki gets a base, and their 4th player gets a 2nd, and Kitazato gets the 3rd; Toratani himself hits a home run, giving their team four points. the game will not be called; now Enjirou has the chance to take on Mikami again.
ch14: Enjirou faces Mikami again. while trying to figure out a way to break Mikami’s timing, Enjirou gets desperate. this desperation changes the way he steps during his throw, and this slight change is enough to throw Mikami off. Apparently, it’s a type of step that only professionals can manage; now let’s see if Enjirou knew what he did. Mikami’s bat breaks on the 2nd strike, and he leaves the field.
ch15: even after fighting so hard and taking down the mountain that is Mikami, Benten lost; they just didn’t have the points. the team isn’t happy about the loss, but they’re not broken; they pledge to try again at Koshien. after the game, Komado has a talk with Enjirou (and Hayata). apparently, a rich old man made a bet that whichever school wins Koshien will get his fortune, all 40 billion yen of it. he loves high school baseball, and he started 20 schools -including Hotei and Benten- because of his love for baseball. but he’s getting old and has limited time left, so he sent out notice of his intention, and that’s why Benten wants to win so badly. Upon learning this truth, Enjirou asks that his contract be altered slightly. whatever prize money is left over, he wants it to be used to help other kids who had to give up baseball be able to play again (I think he’s asking for some kind of scholarship program to be put in place). the director agrees, and the changes are made. now they just have to win the tournament
ch 15.5: we get a special look at why Hayata plays pitcher. apparently, he’s known Enjirou since they were in kindergarten, and the only time Enjirou really opened up to talk to him (and listen to him) was when they played battery together (pitching and catching; Idk if it’s the right term, but that’s what the pitcher and catcher are called, apparently; they form the battery (?). again, I don’t know baseball). their first year of middle school is when Enjirou first tried to quit baseball because of his family’s debt. Hayata put together a game with the condition that if his team won, then the opponent would pay… something? I don’t really get it, but they didn’t tell Enjirou, so he played one last time and won. so something got paid, and Enjirou was offered help from his teammates and their coach gave him a part time job to help with the debts. and that’s how it started.
apparently the manga was cancelled after that (according to another translation note, but MyAnimeList says it was completed, so…)… which is really sad; I was enjoying this art style and these characters. Phooey. A great series gone to waste =/ I’ll post my review next week!
Click here for the review.