Typical – you wait ages for an English-translated football manga and then two come along at once! Last issue, we checked out Kodansha’s Giant Killing; now the publisher has come out with Days, a soccer series that was adapted into an anime last year.
While Giant Killing dealt with the professional game, Days is your more usual high school-set sports manga. Our protagonist is shy first year Tsukushi Tsukamoto, a horribly clumsy lad who gets picked on at school and has to look after his caring but widowed, wheelchair-bound mother at home. Having rescued him from a spot of bullying, long-haired classmate Jin Kazama invites Tsukushi to join in a five-a-side match.
Although Tsukushi is hopeless at sports, he agrees – and enjoys himself enough to join the football team at his new school. Turns out that what Tsukushi lacks in natural skills and speed, he more than makes up for in determination, effort and sheer stamina – so much so that star player and team captain Hisahito Mizuki reckons their unlikely recruit will be captaining the team himself in a few years.
As that suggests, Tsuyoshi Yasuda’s Days won’t be deviating from the classic sports manga formula much, with its plucky underdogs, hidden talents and occasional bonus bishonen. And barring an unexpectedly gruesome scene where Tsukushi rips off his toenail, this first volume is a comfortably conventional example of the genre.
Don’t let familiarity breed contempt, though: it’s also damn good fun. And who knows, perhaps this mini-renaissance in football titles will keep on rolling – we’d certainly not turn our noses up at a new release for Shonen Jump classic Captain Tsubasa or similar! Reviewed by Ian Wolf
Credits: Tsuyoshi Yasuda
Release Date: Out Now
Copyright: © Tsuyoshi Yasuda