Sunday, February 26, 2012

Katsu's Boxing

Okay, I have just decided to marathon all the Adachi manga and get them out of the way. I'm almost finished, so I'll be getting back to something different soon. No worries!

So, next sport on the Adachi list is boxing! It is pretty refreshing that he focuses on a different sport between each of his baseball manga. I would get pretty bored reading nothing but baseball all the time. It also gives him a chance to actually bring in stronger female heroines in my opinion. Girls can't play baseball in Koshien, sadly.

Ah boxing, the modern gladiator sport where men fight each other out to the K.O. It is, quite honestly, the sport that I know the least about. With the amount of anti-violence campaigns going around in the U.S., this is highly unsurprising. And, I'll be honest, I always imagine Sylvester Stallone running up those stairs with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background. Of course it's a cinema classic, but that was pre-Tipper Gore. 

Anyway, back to the manga. One of the first things I noticed about Adachi's non-baseball manga is that there is always a very physically strong heroine that attracts attention because she is the perfect dichotomy of being cute and being brutal. This makes them really good characters because Adachi is able to evenly place the male physical role with the female one without automatically delegating the heroine to the "bench" so to speak. While they are always going to be overshadowed by the male protagonist, they are still respected by males for their achievement in whatever sport Adachi is using. 

Katsuki and Katsuki, the male and female lead in this manga, are the type of characters that anybody can identify with. Every guy has tried something new to impress a girl and most girls are going to be attracted to a strong female lead. While it is obvious that the male Katsuki is going to go on to be one of the greatest boxers, the female Katsuki is still spotlighted through the beginning of the series and heavily involved through the hero's development in boxing. The female Katsuki becomes the motivation for the male Katsuki to develop and show the type of boxing talent that hasn't been seen in Japan for almost 15 years. 

I really enjoyed the realistic representation of boxing in modern Japan. Like sumo, boxing is not exactly a popular sport in Japan and Adachi stayed true to that even when bringing in the rival who walked away from his fame as a pitcher to box. When the media darling was not in the competition, the spectators dwindled accordingly, just like what would happen in real life. Boxers have other jobs to support them and so on. I was really connecting the lives of the boxers with struggling musicians and artists. All doing what they want even if it doesn't actually pay their bills. 

The male Katsuki's rise on the boxing scene follows Adachi's other male protagonists, but he made him a little different because of his almost NEET personality and lifestyle at the beginning. Instead of being born with the 3 D's, determination, discipline, and drive; like other Adachi protagonists, male Katsuki had to learn and develop it, making him much more realistic and inspiring. A regular male reader is able to identify with him quicker because of it. Let's be honest, a manga is a story to the Japanese too and all Japanese boys might dream a little of going to Koshien, they are not all going to be born with that drive to get there. 

Through the complications of family, friends, rivals, and ambitious gym owners, the male and female Katsuki train and perform in the ring. This manga was a solid fun read, not my favorite Adachi manga, but it was fun and entertaining. Worth the read!

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