Do You Guys Know Adachi Mitsuru?

Judging from the otaku and normal people crowd’s responses in general, I found that not many of you actually know who Adachi Mitsuru is. At this moment, I bet you’re screaming "I KNOW I KNOW!!!", then OK you win.

Cross Game is his most recent manga, and with its adaptation into an anime, Adachi’s fame amongst the younger crowd should increase and many of you probably heard of him after watching Cross Game. It truly is an awesome series, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Adachi Mitsuru is this old guy who had his manga debut back in 1970. YES HE STARTED BEFORE BLEACH AND NARUTO’S AUTHORS WERE BORN. Basically, we just have to know that he’s considered one of the most famous mangaka in the 80s and 90s, alongside the likes of Inoue Takehiko and Hojou Tsukasa. He’s well-liked because his works appeal to both guys and girls and both anime and live-action adaptations of his series have been huge successes.

But we should all also realise that while he’s a sort of a living legend already, he’s only a freakin expert in one and only one genre, the romantic sports comedy drama, and his characters all look the same. If you don’t believe me, check out all his manga, be it H2, Touch, Katsu, Cross Game etc. All the main characters are short, atheletic handsome boys with the same face and the heroines always have shoulder length hair and the same face. Cross Game is a variant, as there are two main heroines but one of them is the usual shoulder-length haired girl.

Now, before we get all ballistic and start complaining that his art is bad, I don’t think it’s bad at all. If you look at his manga, you’ll see huge amounts of old school hand-drawn background, exquisite landscapes and plenty of scenes that show off his artistic talent. It’s just that he always reuses the same character designs that pisses some people off.

Speaking of which, it could be said that he’s old school enough to still be influenced by old post-war film directors, such as Ozu Yasujiro and Ichikawa Kon, which is the reason for Adachi’s love of using beautiful scenery to indicate temporal and mood changes. However, to the regular reader following weekly chapter updates, it can get uber frustrating when after a week of waiting, all he gets are a bunch of scenery panels. Seriously, it happens, and this is why I almost always wait for his manga to end before reading it all at once.

I succumbed to the temptation and marathoned Cross Game manga and it’s still ongoing. So I’m stuck.

People have commented that Cross Game has great character development. This is true, and is true of all Adachi works. The characters, the 3-4 main ones at least, always get plenty of fleshing out and growth, though the others are always neglected. Unfortunately, they always develop the same way. It’s predictable, but a successful formula since people are lapping it up. I guess the mark of a skilful mangaka is to reuse the same shit over and over again and still make money. The side characters are kinda identical, like this loser girl-chasing flashy short stop, a fat/ large good friend who isn’t very good, parents, etc.

See, most mangaka have one great idea and then they die off like a mayfly. Fujishima Ryu (Houshin Engi), Nobuhiro Watsuki (Kenshin), Takei Hiroyuki (Shaman King), Kobayashi Jin (School Rumble), even Toriyama Akira and plenty of others have given us one awesome epic series and then disappeared. It’s only the ones which are beyond god-like that can replicate or even surpass their success, as in the case of  the names I mentioned in the 2nd paragraph, the Hunter Hunter guy, Urasawa Naoki, Takahashi Rumiko etc. Otherwise, you can just keep going like a zombie, which the Naruto Bleach and One Piece guys are happily doing.

The Adachi formula just works, and he isn’t ashamed to repeat it, and it pleases the consumers too, since they won’t run out of inspiringly sweet and pure sports comedy drama romances. LianYL hates Adachi, apparently because he thinks the author is "pretentious". LianYL unfortunately has only limited contact, as he read Itsumo Misora, a short series, and then for some reason thinks its too artsy. I mean, wtf, artsy? Let’s have some gourmet food at McDonald’s! This is why Engineers can’t have nice things, they just need mecha and guns and explosions and naked titties.

Generally, reading/watching an Adachi creation is akin to going to your favourite restaurant and ordering the same thing over and over again. I do that, I like it, and I’ll lament its loss when the restaurant closes down. There are people who don’t like the same thing over and over again, and want creativity (LOL). I say, we can have both! Leave the creative juices to other creators, and let Adachi do his beautiful back-to-basics manga forever.

15 Responses to “Do You Guys Know Adachi Mitsuru?”

  • The first Adachi Mitsuru work that I read was Miyuki, and I soon got hooked and began reading whatever of his work that I could find. I actually like the simplistic overly reused character design. Heck, I even bought a H2/Touch Uniqlo T-Shirt.

    One thing I’ve noticed is how he likes to begin of each chapter with the landscape instead of the characters. Usually, about 1-2 pages of nothing but scenery panels.

  • Compare the character designs between Touch and Miyuki (the original siscon manga/anime). The character designs aren’t just similar; they’re 100% identical. Still awesome though.

  • “I succumbed to the temptation and marathoned Cross Game manga and it’s still ongoing. So I’m stuck. ”

    lol i did the exact same thing after watching the first ep.

  • *raises hand* Stuck here too, but I’ve been following this since chapter 43, when I had just finished reading Rough and H2. I go to mangaupdates and select the first one that was released by him in the list. Got stuck since then. Of course in the meantime I read all that I could find from him, but who said that I could get my head off CG. There’s something about his works that if you don’t marathon all of it at once you start to feel anxious about the next chapter, even when you pratictally know what will happen.

  • Adachi is one of those figures whom you would have heard even if you have never experienced one of his works (sadly, that applies to me).

    Sometimes reusing the same formula does not have to be a bad thing, and apparently it seems to work for the mangaka pertaining to this matter. Since I have not read any of his works (I like boobs and mecha), I can only make a baseless assumption of why his repeating of the same concept can be a good thing.

    In terms of repetition with variations, I would tend to visualise such a practice as developing “collective roundness” in characters across different works. If Adachi is capable of creating new characters who will be placed in a new story setting somewhat similar to the circumstances of a previous story, and generate different actions and thoughts as compared to the previous story, then it contributes to unexpected understanding of character complexity in a retrospective manner. In view of that, I guess it would make it a necessity to appreciate his works comparatively and view them as an anthology of different stuff, same good shit (with extra insight).

    Suffice it to say, if you want to have a better understanding of Character A1 from a 1990 work, then you would need to analyse Character A2 from a 1992 work (I think lol).

    Anyway, I think I am hooked onto Miyuki

  • Someone still remembers the film module, heh.

    However, Ichikawa Kon is not in the same period as Yazujiro Ozu… Ichikawa Kon’s cinematography is highly influenced by Ozu but they are not in the same period.

  • I was thinking the exact same thing a few days ago, that Mitsuru Adachi’s works are more or less ‘more of the same’, but I like it that way, and doesn’t change the fact that his works are awesome. So yeah, more love for Mitsuru Adachi!

  • Yeah Crest I know, but why bother explaining here since nobody knows? And since it’s just a conjecture.

  • Well, at least, I do!
    I’ve been reading all his stuff since 5 or 6 years ago, when i went into H2.
    Outdated and repetitive, Adachi rulz.

  • Wondering if you’ve heard of Tezuka, TJ? I would imagine you know his name. Rave about him to the mindless zombies instead. There needs to be more talk about the guy around these Singaporean blogs.

  • Sohkai, do you realise raving about Tezuka is lame? First of all, most people only think he is awesome pioneer, but the more knowledgeable people also know that he’s the one who came up with the sweatshop system where animators are paid worse than dogs.

  • I’m a big fan of Adachi’s works, but I did have to get used to the simplistic (or so I thought at the time) artwork. So far I’m satisfied with what I saw in Cross Game’s anime; I was affraid they’d screw it up.

    And I’m surprised so many people distinguish Miyuki out of his work, since I didn’t really like that one at all. Rough is the one to beat imo.

    And I have this feeling that Cross Game might be his last one…

  • Ahh.. loving Cross Game… after all why fix what isn’t broken.. though i agree with Decel.. why is Miyuki, out of all Adachi mangas so memorable..?
    Though i believe that H2 is the epic to beat.. it’s the first one i read and the one i followed for years while mangascreener scanlated it. Touch would be a fairly distant second.. they may be his cannons but they’re the most well known of his works for a reason.

  • Hey! That’s a very nice post. I’m very positive I’ll counsel it to my co-workers.For those who put up more posts please email them to me.

  • Incredible. I’ve now seen the light. In fact, I am going to surely have to wear my sunglasses now.

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