Wednesday, February 22, 2012

H2 vs. Touch

You know, I really only became a baseball fan while I was living in Japan. I'm not sure how to describe it, but you just cannot ignore the sport in Japan. It doesn't even matter what sport you're into, you will always hear somebody talking about it. Between their own major leagues and then Koshien and high school baseball, it's almost always on the news and most Japanese ask me if I like it or not. I usually end up disappointing them when I say that I am not such a big fan of the "Great American Past time". When I tell them that I'm a soccer fan, I usually win some respect points back.

So, I don't usually make marathons of certain mangaka, but after finishing ROUGH I decided to just start reading H2. H2 and Touch are considered 2 of Adachi's best manga and, since both of them are apart baseball, they are heavily compared. Now that I have read both of them, I shall weigh in my 2 cents on the topic. I know that Cross Game also deals with baseball, but I haven't gotten that far in the list, so I'll leave that comparison for later. It'll be fun to compare all 3 of them together.

Alright, if you look at the 2 objectively, H2 is the better baseball manga. It details more of the relationships between the baseball players than being more romantic comedy. The friendly rivalry between Hiro and Hideo and their otherwise slightly complex friendship is very fun and it makes you wish you had a friend that knew you so well. I felt that their friendship was more of the story than just the more complicated love triangle that was being formed between the two of them and Hikari. 

Adachi's MO is the romantic comedy and he always does well with it, but I could see that in this manga he was pulling it down as more of a sub plot than the actual plot, like in Miyuki. Yet in Touch the love story was much more complex because of the death of Kazuya. While the love triangle was mostly established, it did not reach near the level of H2's triangle (which almost turned into a square). 

In regards to the baseball side of the story, I was really reminded of Ookiku Furikabutte by the strategy that was brought up during games. And that strategy is why I like Ookiku so much. It's interesting to get into the heads of the players and how they feel about the game. The relationship between pitchers and catchers is well represented, it's a lot like the relationship between quarter-back and receivers in football (American football, I mean). That relationship is also a central theme in Ookiku, as well as the batters themselves. 

But between H2 and Touch, I say Touch wins as the better manga all around. The depth of Tatsuya's feelings about baseball and about his brother over shadow H2. While there are problems, emotional and physical in H2 I don't feel that they really compare to the harsh reality in Touch. In Touch, baseball was a love, but it was also a mourning mechanism as well. By bringing that element into the story Adachi made Touch more than just a baseball manga, he made it into a platform for growth. Now don't get me wrong, H2 also made this happen with the death of Hikari's mom and how Hiro dealt with his own sense of grief over it, but it was not nearly as important to the story as Kauya's death in Touch. 

While I was reading this manga it was very easy to see some of pretty obvious similarities between Tatsuya and Hiro in regards to how they deal with love. They are both very firm in their almost self sacrifice and they both held firm on it till the end. Yet, Hiro seemed to understand more about Hikari and Hideo than Tatsuya understood the relationship between Kazuya and Minami. On that point, Hiro would be seen as the more perceptive of the two. The relationships the 2 develop also ran that almost slow uncertain route that the reader is almost unsure of how it will develop. I enjoyed the fact that at the end of H2 it wasn't Hiro's relationship with anybody that was up for grabs, but Hideo and Hikari's instead. It was refreshing. 

So, there you have it, I am going with Touch as the better manga overall, but H2 is the better baseball centered manga. Adachi took more time out to play out games in H2 than he did in Touch. Both are great reads for different reasons. 

1 comment:

  1. It's been years since I read them, but I pretty much agree. I'm not a huge Adachi Mitsuru fan, so the fact that I read Touch first may have biased me towards it.