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Whistle! is a football manga written by a female author who was inspired by the Japan qualification of 1998 world cup.

Japan is a pretty interesting place for football because its standard is actually very high for such a young football nation.

J-league, their professional football league, played their first league match during 1993. Before that, their source of national team players are all from amateur teams. Since then, they have produce talents who flourish in Europe such as the retired Hidetoshi Nakata and the recent Shinji Kagawa who will be going to Manchester United next season.

Whistle! does a very good job in introducing the basic structure of Japanese football and lay down enough baits to get you interested in J-League even though its main characters are all actually middle school kids.

Beside being a good introduction to J-League, Whistle! is also pretty deceptive because it starts off like your hot blooded underdog story but changed its tone halfway through.

Unlike other sports manga, you can sense from its earlier chapters that the author is actually trying to do something different and ambitious because she actually want the manga to be realistic and deviate from the norm. For example, during the middle school competition, our protagonist team faced an ultra defensive team which relies heavily on counter attacks.  Normally, other manga will make this ultra defensive team the bad guy who “cheat” with boring cowardly football but Whistle! totally embrace them and shine them in a good light by praising their tactics.

Although in the end, the ultra defensive loses because they got too hot blooded with their attacking because they don’t want to win by an own goal but the manga still put a limelight onto to their defensive tactics by praising their defensive hard work and not rubbish it away just because defending is too coward or not hot blooded enough.

Not only that, it also touches on sexism in football and how difficult it is for girls to play football in Japan. This is rather interesting because even though Captain Tsubasa and Major also touches on this issue, in the end, they are still about girls playing men sports from a male perspective instead of a female’s one so the balance is tipped.

Then during the middle of the manga, it finally peels off the skin of its disguise as a hotblooded underdog story because the protagonist loses the middle school tournament without showing you the detail and the whole underdog middle school overcoming the best team got rubbished away just like that.

During the transition of underdog story to ambitious manga , it’s reveled that the protagonist’s father is actually a professional football player hence explain his talent. Then he went on and join a semi-pro team who competes for national football while leaving all his mediocre and hardworking middle school friends behind because fuck underdogs story and fuck your friends if they hinder your dream.

I stopped reading after the semi pro team go on and have a friendly match with a Korean team while touching on some sensitive Japan and Korea issues. It’s rather ambitious and daring for a manga to chart territories like these and I lauded the author intention of trying to deviate from the norm but I have to admit that I kinda lost interest after the protagonist turned semi-pro.

By turning semi-pro, the manga have no choice but to dump all his once mediocre teammates who were well developed for 10 volumes away and introduce a new bunch of unlikable and underdeveloped elite footballers. It also undermine the underdog elements which I adore because they are the elite team now.

Even though the manga always try to put an emphasize that the protagonist is still rather weak, it fails because everyone can see that he is actually pretty good. The manga also turn into a character focus series by trying to characterize a bunch of new and and unrelated-able elite football players and stopped with the details of the hard work by the protagonist.

Not only that, instead of focusing on the interesting struggle of  a team of underdogs, we are now only focusing on one character with their struggle of maintaining their place in the semi pro team. Now the stake of 15 people turned into a stake of one person. This kinda suck because it’s anti climatic and the protagonist isn’t actually that like-able.

You would let the protagonist off during the early volumes because he was so genuinely hardworking and there are other likable characters for you to enjoy.

In the end, it loses its spirit and passion of traditional sport series which I was looking for when I first start the series. Being semi pro is just not as exciting as the brutal and cruel elimination middle school tournament.

Realistically speaking, the chances of being semi pro is slimmer than winning a middle school tournament but from a manga point of view, the protagonist will not face with too huge of a obstacle to continue his semi pro route so you are being forced into reading a manga where the outcome of a match isn’t really that important anymore and the burden of regrets of maybe this being your final match with your best friends is lost since there will be plenty of chances next time in a professional setting.

It reminds me on how Major season 3 is the best season because so much is at stake due to it being the final chance for all these hardworking passionate mediocre students to make something out of their mundane high school life . Then it went down hill after Goro went pro because the matches aren’t exciting anymore and we suddenly lose the passion of other teammates because just like whistle, the stake of the team has narrowed down to Goro and Goro only.

Finally, I want to talk about  Whistle!’s fascination with the 3-5-2 formation. No one uses 3-5-2 in this day and age where the flanks are flooded with 2 wingers and 2 fullbacks. That’s because the wingbacks in the 3-5-2 formation would always face a 2 on 1 situation so they have to lay in deep to defend the attacking winger and fullback while not being able to push up so to prevent overwhelming 2 0n 0 attacks from the flank.

However, Whistle! was drawn in 1998 where fullbacks are real defenders and not pseudo wingers and teams in the 90s won trophies left and right with variation of 3-5-2 so it’s understandable why the author will think that 3-5-2 is the best formation. No one can predict the prevalent of attacking fullbacks in 1998 so you can’t really fault the author because she was actually right during the time. In fact, I am impressed with her football knowledge and it really shows how much she knows.


In all honesty, I have zero expectation when I first lay my eyes on Alive . I thought it will be another generic Shonen manga . It’s not until I saw that the author died from cancer after finishing the last volume that I vowed to purchase the whole set no matter what. The idea of an author, trying his best, fighting his incurable disease and hold it out till his last-minute is something admirable and worth my respect for. Hell, he even wanted to start another series even though he knew of his illness( I presume that cancer patient actually know how long more they can live).  Maybe I am just imagining it but  his actions show that he truly like comics and not necessary doing it for money. This really get to me and as a fan of comics, I just have to show some respect for his passion by buying the comics.

Even so, I was really surprised at how good the comic actually is. It was a competently written story that carries the theme of living very well. Of course it is filled with corny lines about how we should struggle with our sadness and continue living but considering the author status when he wrote the story, these cheesy themes just seems to carry more of weight. You can feel that the author had thought really hard about the theme of life and death.

The fight scenes are really well done as well. It’s done in a tactical approach that actually make sense. This is why when our heroes is in a pinch, you will be really interested in how the author will deal with the situation because you know he is capable of  coming up with witty methods to get out of it. This is why every battles are worth looking forward to and why Alive is one of the best Shonen fighting manga for me.

After reading the author’s final note in the last volume, it does really impact me and make me reflect on life and death. It might be due to the knowledge of how the author might have actually written this note during his deathbed that I felt kinda sad. His cover note on how he thanks his fans for supporting until the end also added another meaning and depth behind it because it makes you wonder what he really meant. Is it a simple thank you message or is it a real goodbye?

Maybe I am injecting too much of my impression of the author, which in turn helps make Alive better than it actually is but I honestly think that it is a good work even without knowing the author’.

Even if you don’t like the work, I still think  that the passion of an author who wants to finish his work even with illness is something we should look up to, especially to those who put their work on hold because they want to play more Idol Master.

Kawashima Tadashi, a true manly man.

People always wonder to themselves why the fuck are they going back to Adachi’s work every time a new one come out even though all of them look and feel the same . It’s a joke that even Adachi himself knows , his character designs have remain the same for almost 30 years and the setting is almost always the same old  slice of life . Though unlike everyone else , I always believe that all of his works have different focus but I do agree on two things – the ambience and the interesting interaction between characters of his works remain the same throughout .It’s just like what others had said ,”  You don’t fix something that isn’t broken and if it works well , why not keep using it ?”

Though it’s not easy as it sounds , people will get bored when stuff  became repetitive. However ,  if that the case,  then how the hell can Adachi’ work be so refreshing every time I read it? I have seen almost 80 +volumes of his work and I still can’t enough of it . Why? The reason is clear after I finished Rough just recently , the root of this addiction is in the ending .

Newcomers may be upset by Adachi’s ending because all of them have this conclusive yet inconclusive conclusion . Yes , you know who’s going out with who and  the characters’ life goes on happily but you really wanted to know what’s next .Unfortunately , you can’t because all of them end with such a high yet subtle note , it makes you yearn for more . So what can you do to cope the urge? Since the thing you wanted more is the same ambience , feelings and interesting character interactions , you can only find it from his other works , and after another conclusively inconclusive ending , you can only read his other work , then another work , then another work and the cycle just goes on and on and on .

It also helps when all his character design looks the same so it’s easy to get into with his another work due to familiarity . To give you a final blow , his works are full of sceneries panels and every dialogues are so interesting , you will  burn through 70+ volumes just like that . “Whew” and you finished everything before you notice it. Perfect , awesome and you will be finding yourself searching for his other works . It’s a vicious cycle , a cocaine powder created specially by  Adachi Mitsuru himself .

In the end , I can’t help but wonder , did all this happen because we are shallow humans who wanted to feel the same great emotion every time or is it because of Adachi’s sheer brilliance in writing? I will always believe that it is the latter .

Try it now and start with any of his longer work like “Touch”. I am interested to see whether you will be caught into the same situation like many of the Adachi fans out there .

Multiply these by 30 and you will get half of what I”s is about . The other half is your usual top graded romcom stuff and by top graded , I meant it depend how you like this type of manga. Personally , I am a sucker for it , hugely due to non-perverted reason(believe me).

Maybe this is also why you shouldn’t read I”s .

I just finished Wild Life the manga recently after almost 6 month of hiatus. At first it was dull in a sense of how the hell can it run for 27 volumes but after a while , this feeling changed to how the hell can it finish at only 27 volumes! So what and why causes this change?

I have a really first good impression for WIld Life because the first volume although started off weak  but showed what it is capable of by the end of volume one . However , as the series goes on , it will make you wonder how the series can run for 27 volumes as the rescue animal theme doesn’t look like it can run for so long . Surprisingly though , the animal trivia are really interesting and they can keep you interested till the end of the series. During mid way , they add in some romance element and other educational tibits such as how to buy stock , how to choose meat , how to train your dogs , how to date girls and etc .  It was really interesting and fulfilling because it felt like you are reading an interesting textbook with a plot. It exposes me to lots of things that I  neglect or don’t even know about.

What’s more important is the messages that the manga conveyed. They are simple messages but sometime , these messages are so simple , we totally forgot about them . I especially liked the chapter where animals were killed during WWII due to the fear of them running loose during bombing . It shows the darker side of life and bring our attention to how war destroyed more than humans . The chapter about creating an artificial leg for a Giraffe with crippled leg  is my another favourite. The chapter showed us warmth and hope . Lots of chapters are also dedicated to the importance of keeping the balance of the ecosystem while showing that no one or nothing is useless. You may call these ideals and message overly idealise but most of the chapters are based on real life happening so it just added on the impact and substance of the messages. In other words , these messages are supported with facts and proof so they are strong enough to make us believe in them . <- The story of installing an artificial leg for a crippled Giraffe.

Wild Life brought up the possibility and effectiveness of manga being an educational tool . Even if isn’t educational or what not ,I always encourage people – especially those that hate reading to read manga because it is a great starting point . For one , if you can’t even be bothered to read a manga , how the hell can you digest a full length novel?

To conclude , I will highly recommend Wild Life to everyone because it was one satisfying and educational ride. Although I do agree that some chapters were too far-fetched but 90% of the animal knowledge are well researched and  true. Not to mention , it has everything for everyone . It even include some tasty fanservice scenes(20+  pages in total including title page) and a romance sub-plot . For the shallow people , the female characters are hot . It contains lots of Gar and Gay as well … … Nanoha reference included.

Give it a try , it will grow into you and before you notice it , you won’t want it to end.

I don’t really know what to write about Angel Densetsu but every time after I finished a great work , I felt compelled to talk about it . It is like giving an end to a long journey and bidding farewell to a friend .

Angel Densetsu is an interesting experience . After finishing the first volume , I couldn’t really see how I will enjoy the series as it was rather pointless and aimless . Not to mention , it was a comedy that I couldn’t laugh at due to its repetitive nature . Just think about it , 15 volumes of ad nauseum formulaic comedy? That  just make me sick . That’s why I stalled on the first volume for almost a year until I started it again recently. Then gradually and slowly , when the plot kicks in and more and more interesting characters join in the group , I felt attached to it and couldn’t stop reading . The interaction between the characters although follows a similar formula of misunderstanding before realisation , keeps the whole pacing and mood going and in the end , what you get is the feeling of  happy and bitter sweet. Happy that I had read such a great comic , bitter sweet because I still couldn’t get enough of it . That’s how attached I am to it .

One of my biggest enjoyment was derived from the beautifully drawn characters. Yagi Norihiro , the author of Angel Densetsu and Claymore really has a knack in drawing  realistic yet beautiful characters . Just by looking at his art can be one satisfying ride. I personally like the sketchy art for the side story . They are both experimental and fun to look at  . People think that Angel Densetsu has bad artwork but I personally felt that it was clean , simple and nice to look at .  But I think I am the only one that thought that Adachi’s characters are beautifully drawn as well when everyone lament about it so maybe I am just weird.

I rattle on so much about it but I didn’t really tell you what’s it about right?  Well , it is a  story of

this guy and

this girl , together with

this bunch of retards.

Now that I have finished the legendary 3 Adachi’s Baseball series , let’s do a retrospective . First thing first ,for those that think  that Adachi can only churn out carbon copies of slice of life baseball series with the same character design , then you must have not really watch any of them at all.  Without  further ado ,let’s start our retrospective by going into details onto each series . Of course , there are full of spoilers but don’t you worry , I watched and read all 3 of them while knowing their spoilers but it doesn’t spoil any of my enjoyment . They aren’t series that focus on the result but rather , the process so no amount of spoilers will hinder the enjoyment for any of them. I also take it that you have watched and read all of them as I won’t provide any plot synopsis.

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If you don’t know who is Asano Inio , he is actually the author of Solanin and other emo Seinen  manga . So recently after Solanin , I bought another of his manga called Horograph . Yea , Japanese can’t spell but I am a weeaboo so I won’t call it Holograph .

So what is this Horograph all about? Do be frank ,I don’t understand some part of the story but don’t get it wrong ; I am not stupid because almost everyone else don’t get what’s going on as well. Instead , I am pretty smart because I got  some of the story’s elements that people need to reread in order to get it . To simplify it, the story is like its title , Holograph – the intermediate photograph (or photographic record) that contains information for reproducing a three-dimensional image by holograph. The story is a holograph itself where characters have many different form like a hologram . They intertwined together and form a never-ending sort of world . The male main character’s sister is actually his mother and such . This can happen because everyone has different form when view in different angle like a hologram .

Quite a mouthful huh? Know this and you will get the gist of the story though there are still parts where I don’t understand . I am not arse enough to analyse every single part of its metaphor nor am motivated enough to reread it since I more or less get it .

To be frank , I actually kinda dislike this kind of intricate story where you need lots of reread or re-watch to understand . Don’t get it wrong , I like complex story , but my beef is when it get so complex , it seems like the author is self masturbating in a sense that he  create these stories where only he and he get it  just to show how “deep” he is .  Not to mention , I always thought that re-watching and rereading just to “get” the story is a waste of time .Watch it once , don’t get then read more information about . If I get it after that then all is good but if I still don’t understand it then fuckoff and goodbye .

Though  people thought that this kind of series are smart because they must analyse and study it like some bible for years to truly grasp what it is .Bullshit I tell you .Understanding incoherent mass isn’t intelligent but rather , idiotic super intelligent to the level of Einstein. So what if you waste so many hours just so you understand a story? All it resulted to is you understanding the story and nothing else , fucking nothing else. Unlike analysing useful  stuff like physic or maths , analysing anime and manga is totally useless . You benefit nothing except of showing off that you “get” something . So you feel good  when you  understand some deep cartoon?  Good for you but I watch anime to enjoy it at one go, not to analyse  the shit out of it just so I can get my enjoyment ; it’s too tedious and I am lazy . While you waste all your time masturbating to your new understanding , I already came thousand of times by watching other stuff .

Not to mention , there are so many cases where anime and manga can be intelligent yet easy to understand at the same time . GITS might be heavy and full of shitty metaphor but it was easy to understand .  Planetes was well researched and full of useful knowledge about space and it was easy to understand . Those are then the truly intelligent series .

FLCL and DTB fall into the same category  of Evangelion with full of wtf but hey , there are exciting even though they make no sense! Though I won’t say I enjoyed Evangelion with its action and such .

Well , after saying all that , Horograph was still a great book and likewise,  Evangelion was still quite a decent series( The Rebuild was godly though) . As for Holograph , even though it was quite complicated , there are full of WTF psychotic maniac raping and killing  with nice sceneries of butterfly flying everywhere so all is still good . Actually , it  is more like the DtB category of ” exciting but don’t get it ”  than the “wtf is this plot” Evangelion.  Actually , I highly recommend it because its emoness make Osamu Dazai proud.

Saying goodbye to your old self.

Touch is one of the most relaxing and subtle manga I ever read. Everything just flows naturally and nothing seems forced. Even the ending ends with a life goes on story without a definite end . This ending truly embed the whole spirit of Touch where natural and subtilty are the keys.

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