Can Nobara concentrate on volleyball as her personal life spirals out of control?
Writer/Artist: Mitsuba Takanashi
Translation: Naoko Amemiya and Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adaptation: Naoko Amemiya and Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
With one of their ace players injured, Nobara and the Crimson Field girls must fight harder than ever. Their challenge is the Newcomers' Tournament, and their performance in this venue will determine just how far the team can go. But Nobara's distracted when she learns that one of her not-so-secret admirers seeks to crush Yushin and destroy the boys' team! All that matters to 15-year-old Nobara Sumiyoshi is volleyball--she's an awesome player with big-time ambitions. But sometimes it seems like a girl just can't get a break in the competitive world of high school volleyball.
Nobara’s life gets decidedly complicated in this volume. First, rich bad boy Kaz is chasing her with the enthusiasm of a lion racing down a gazelle, and his methods are more than questionable; they are downright criminal. Then, Yushin confesses to Haibuki that he has fallen for Nobara. This admission causes grief for everyone, and it threatens to tear the boys’ team apart.
Wow, just when things seem to be going in the right direction for Nobara, everything just blows up in her face. Her regret over keeping a secret from Haibuki is causing her to lose sleep, but that’s nothing compared to fallout from cluing him in on the truth. Yushin’s confession opens a gulf between them, with Haibuki feeling betrayed and wounded on one side, and Yushin and Nobara feeling guilty for hurting him on the other.
My own feelings for Haibuki keep running hot and cold. There are times when I think he is the most thoughtful, caring guy, but at others, he can be controlling and manipulating. I can certainly understand his feelings for Nobara, though. When he was a child, he was fragile and sickly, and Nobara was the total opposite. She was so full of energy and life that he couldn’t help but admire her. She is like a comet shooting through the nighttime sky, and it only makes sense that he would want to bathe in her light. His feelings for her are more akin to hero worship than love, but I still sympathize with him for losing something that is so precious to him. His jealousy and fear of being left behind is understandable, and I think that this makes for a very compelling love triangle.
Kaz, on the other hand, I just don’t like. He is just spoiled and willful, and he thinks that he deserves to possess whatever catches his fancy. It’s too bad that right now he’s infatuated with Nobara. I am not keen on this story arc, because I don’t think that adding more turmoil to the plot is improving it. If anything, there is a little too much going on, and the situations that he causes just don’t feel convincing. Nobara has a stalker, but this development isn’t driving the story anywhere. On the contrary, I thought that it bogged down the action, and it diminished the confrontation between Yushin and Haibuki.
Crimson Hero continues to showcase the intense emotional commitment of Nobara and her friends to each other and to the game of volleyball. Off-court dynamics dictate on-court success, giving many of their decisions far reaching impact. This is an engrossing soap opera, and the run-up to every tournament is chockfull of potential landmines. I never thought I would be interested in a series about volleyball, a sport that I have no interest in, but Mitsuba Takanashi manages to wring out every last bit of drama to deliver a compelling, fun read.