Karaoke OK's Reviews > Crimson Hero, Vol. 1

Crimson Hero, Vol. 1 by Mitsuba Takanashi
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Aug 27, 08

bookshelves: manga-okay
Recommended for: Fans of pretty-boy shoujo manga

[Series Length: 12 volumes / Read: volumes 1-8]

(Below is my original review. However, I improved the rating since then by one star, because the author finally decided to do some actual research and insert some real volleyball after volume 5 or so. And I could finally tell--for the most part, anyway--which character was who. So if you're patient enough to suffer through a slow start, it's actually not a bad series to pick up.)

The first volume of this series was particularly attractive, with the main protagonist Nobara as a devoted volleyball player who stands up against her family (who wants her to prepare to take over the family hotel and become a traditional Japanese hostess) and seeks to enroll in a school with a famous volleyball program (only to find that the girls team was recently disbanded). With all those unusual elements (as well as the uniquely angular character designs), I had high hopes for this title.

Sadly, though, the manga descends into a more run-of-the-mill shoujo romance drama in the following volumes. The female protagonist ends up the resident cook/cleaner at the dorm for the boy's volleyball team (where naturally she get entangled in love triangles) and trolling the school for potential recruits in order to revive the girl's team. Between serving the boys, acting meekly in front of her potential love interests, and deferring to other girls simply to preserve her fragile girl's team chemistry, Nobara has left me wondering what happened to all her previous fire and bravery that attracted me to the character in the first place.

Furthermore, as a fan of sports dramas, I was a bit disappointed to learn that most of the story takes place off the court rather than on it (probably because the author wasn't that knowledgeable about volleyball to begin with).
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