Friday, July 25, 2008

Crimson Hero Vol. 8 by Mitsubasa Takanashi

Main Character: 15-year-old Nobara Sumiyoshi
Location: Japan
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Manga, Sports, Volleyball

Nobara arrives at Central Sokai University and looks for Ryo, the ace player her coach told her about. But the Volleyball players laugh at her and tell her that a) Ryo is too small to be an attacker on their team and b) she can’t train with them because she’s a girl. When she finally finds Ryo, he is playing beach volleyball with an amateur club.

Ryo turns out to be Coach Shima’s brother, and, Nobara realizes later, the young player who had inspired her when he played in the Spring Tournament when he was in high school. She is leery of him at first because she thinks he’s a ladies’ man, but he turns out to be a perceptive coach and is the first to realize that what’s keeping Nobara from really excelling at volleyball is not physical but emotional.

I really like this series, and I liked the little touches in this volume—Ryo’s understanding of Nobara and his encouragement; the boys back at Crimson dorm missing Nobara; Yushin finding her cookbook with all the notes she’s kept on what the boys like and dislike. I especially love Ryo’s mother—when the members of the Eagles, the amateur beach volleyball team, are trying to encourage Nobara and boost her self-confidence, Ryo’s mother gives her a slap. "No matter how hard you need to push yourself, you have to take care of your body. That includes eating your meals and enjoying them." So there! Gotta love her!

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