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.