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)
Every post past this point will be a spoiler, so please read ahead with caution!
Plot: 1/2 star. The plot was for Benten to win the Koshien tournament, but the series never got that far. In the final real chapter (not the side story chapter), there’s a montage, but I couldn’t tell if Benten actually won the tournament… So for starting a plot but being unable to finish it, I give half a star.
Art: 1 star. I really enjoyed the art style in this series. The expressions were great; I loved when the characters -especially Enjirou- would get more cartoony and stylized xD The action shots were really cool, too! When Hayata caught the ball Kitazato threw at Enjirou’s head, I felt that catch!
Story Progression: 1 star. I think the story progressed well. This definitely felt like it was going to be a medium to long series. The mangaka took the time to introduce other characters and schools and aces, so it wasn’t supposed to be just 15.5 chapters. They were supposed to go through the tournament, and I think the pacing was going great! There was a good balance between on the field and off the field action. We learned about the different characters; their hopes and fears, etc. I think with more time, we would have learned more.
Genre: 1 star. MyAnimeList says the genres are shounen and sports, and that covers it pretty well. If you wanted to add comedy, you could, but I think just shounen and sports fits better. There were funny moments, but those weren’t the main pull (though they were great xD )
Enjoyment: 1 star. I don’t know much about sports, but I generally enjoy sports manga, and this was no exception. I like the character relationships and the teamwork. I like seeing why characters are playing their sport and/or their spot. Learning about Kitazato wanting to be a pitcher but being terrified of Mikami/broken by him and actually being the ace batter was really cool! Ikki loves baseball fanatics, and I loved him for it. Toratani being a great captain and even being outvoted when he tried to quit but being a good enough guy to take the job and do it well. Sakamaki refusing to be an unfair umpire even though his team wanted him to; the guy’s got guts, spirit, and virtue! Mikami throwing away the joy of baseball in order to focus on being the best player was crazy interesting, and he started getting a change of heart at the end! I never got close with people like that when I played sports, but I think that’s half the game; yeah, you want to win, but you have to have these bonds with your team to do it, and it’s so fascinating to me!
I’m sorry I can’t give this a higher score, but I really did enjoy this manga! I can only unofficially recommend it. I will not be adding it to my “Recommended Manga!” page. It’s too bad this series wasn’t longer…
I’ll probably read more sports manga soon; it’s been too long.
If you would like to read my full review, then please click here.