Touch by Adachi Mitsuru
Published by Shogakukan
Serialized in Shounen Sunday
Touch. I got into Touch one afternoon where there was nothing I could do but watch some free videos online. It was considered as the highest rated anime ever. It is so popular that it’s an institution. It is, as some have noted, a classic among all manga stories. According to my friend’s mother, it was so popular in Japan that TV stations looked for girls like Minami. Koushien became the most popular sports event over the summer. And the manga turned Adachi Mitsuru as the premier mangaka of the 80s. In short, it was the series of the decade.
Years later, a stale lunch, natsu anison, a visit to Manga Kissa 10, and a random curiosity caused me to grab the series from the shelf. So what was it in Touch that touched the hearts of many Japanese? Well… Koko de touch. lol. ^^;;
“Our family, the Uesugis, and our next door neighbors, the Asakuras, had three kids born in the same year. the cute kid is Uesugi Tatsuya. That’s me. This is my younger brother Kazuya. We’re twins. And this is our neighbor, Minami. We’ve always been good friends but one day, we noticed that one of the three of us was a girl.”
This was how we are introduced with the story of Touch. You have a love triangle between these three friends. One could easily think that this will be an easy plot of the girl being indecisive on which of the brothers she will pick. However, the genius of Adachi-sensei stems out of the usual formula and breaks all the conventions of what was usually followed. In this case, our hero is not the charismatic Kacchan. In fact he’s more of a plot device for the true hero of series, the reluctant ace Tacchan. Minami herself was not in love with the more appealing Kacchan, instead she loved the kinder Tacchan. Tacchan himself was not the perfect hero. He may have some innate talent but he still needed to work hard to hone it.
In short, it was not the conventional tale of the kid who has it all and gets it all. It was a story much closer to the hearts of every Japanese boy out there… the guy who doesn’t have it all and has to do so much to be the ace that everyone admires. With that basic rule Adachi spun a great baseball drama that has swept the hearts of entire Japan. Most of the time I found myself rooting for Tacchan to do his best. He was too kind much too kind that it’s unbearable how he tortures himself in order to make the people around him happier. But I’m so happy that he grew out of this phase and finally became the man worthy of Minami. Oh Minami. Minami.
Minami and Tacchan
I finally understand why many Japanese boys love Minami. She’s amazing in all aspects but she’s not entirely perfect. She’s sweet but not helpless. She is spunky but not tsundere. As much as everyone thinks that she’s already perfect, Tacchan will still point out something that will always takes her back home. I guess what keeps Minami grounded is Tacchan’s existence. In the end, what makes you anticipate the next chapter is the sweet exchanges between Minami and Tacchan.
I had the chance to watch the live action movie of Touch and it turned out to be overdramatic for me. On the other hand, the anime which was faithfully based on the manga was more pleasant in terms of presenting the relationship between Minami and Tacchan. I can go at length on why it is pleasant but to wrap it in a nutshell, Minami and Tacchan’s relationship is like that of a warm blanket wrapped around you on a rainy day. It is comforting and it gets warmer the longer you stay in it. Their relationship is nurturing. Despite all the banter that they throw at each other they know that they always say this within the best interest of the other. And for me, that’s really nice to read.
As you go through Touch, you realize that part of Touch’s joy is the funny supporting cast who just keep on pushing Minami and Tacchan to finally get their act together. Kacchan is prolly the first and most important person. The next one would be Harada (which was just dead funny despite his scary face!) among many others who would make this series more colorful.
Honestly, I feel I can go a mile just to tell you how fun and fantastic this series is. If wangsty shounen drama isn’t your fit, then this one is for you. It was simple in terms of art and story line but the characters are so colorful that you can’t help but grab the next volume in the shelf.
Oh god, I remember not being able to watch some episodes of the anime that when I visited Manga Kissa the next day, I just had to read the rest of Touch. 13 volumes in 3 hours is no joke (I wish I had the luxury of reading a little slower, but I just want to get to that part when Tacchan goes “Minami, I love you and I wish I’ve become the man that is truly worthy of you.” KYAAA~~! >w<), but it was a worth it ride. It was very easy to read and pleasant to the eyes.
Reading Touch has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in terms of manga. It was a love story tastefully done without the frills and rose-colored add ons. It is strange that one of my favorite love stories so far were actually written by men. I do wonder why but there is a sense of honesty in men telling love stories. And it in this case, we have a story that truly touches all the bases. It has a sense of purpose, love, determination, and challenge. It may not be the usual formula, but it is something that all of us can certainly understand.
On a side note… the anime also has these really really nice songs. If you have the luxury of time and bandwidth, try to catch Touch and hear the songs in the series! :3 Soooo nice! ;w;