Crimson Hero Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2006



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Mitsuba Takanashi
Translated by:Naoko Amemiya
Adapted by:

What They Say
Former star setter Tomoyo joins the ranks, and now the six players are an official team at Crimson Field High School! However, Nobara is so focused on training that she fails to notice her team is falling apart under the pressure. Not only that, but Nobara must now find the money to pay for her uniform and club dues. Will Nobara be able to swallow her pride and ask he mother for help? Or will she have to give up on her dream after coming so far?

The Review
One of the trickier aspects of writing a sports manga is maintaining a good balance between the actual sport and the outside elements that truly drive the story. You want to make sure the title still remains true to the sport, but not become so technical as to drive away novice readers. If the outside elements drown out the sport, it really becomes nothing more than a gimmick. It's all much more delicate than one would imagine.

Going into, as well as during, this third volume of Crimson Hero, it feels that there is just too much weight holding down the story from progressing: Nobara's family issues, Nobara's money issues, Nobara's dorm issues, Nobara's new teammates issues, etc. It's no wonder Nobara was breaking down in tears every other chapter; one can only take so much stress! The manga was also a little too Nobara-centric.

However, it is during this installment where Takanashi begins to steer this manga back on track and really sets up the story for interesting times ahead. Gone are the family and money issues. The clich�d team-building exercise seems to be mostly completed. That just leaves Nobara and the budding relationships between two of the boys in the dorm. The setup was handled in a natural, subtle fashion that allowed the characters to find their places on stage in what looks to be a dramatic love triangle (rectangle?) showdown. There is also a little bit more background stories for a couple characters that helps flesh out some of the supporting cast.

What about the sport of volleyball? It's still there with the added dimension of relationship battles. If Nobara's love interest is going to the prelims, you can you can bet that she isn't going to let him go alone! It's the springtime of our youth taking place on the volleyball courts!

Extras include side-panel free-talk from Takanashi as well as her experiences at the All-Japan Girls Volleyball Training Camp prior to the 2003 Volleyball World Cup.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 8.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 1-4215-0577-0
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left