Macmillan Koukou Joshi Koushiki Yakyuubu

In English Macmillan Koukou Joshi Koushiki Yakyuubu would be mean something like “The Macmillan High School Girls’ Hardball Baseball Club.” A 2-volume 4-koma gag manga about girl’s hardball baseball, which is apparently a real thing in Japan, even though there are only 16 teams at the high-school level, in this manga at least.

One would think that premise would be interesting enough, but the author went further. Male sports teams in manga tend to have female managers, so the author gave the Macmillan team a male manager instead.

Since Masakiyo is a rare breed of high school boy (even in this ‘politically correct’ age) who loves cooking, sewing and laundry and has relatively no interest in or knowledge about sports or girls, it would seem he’s not much different from your female regular team manager. And indeed, possibly because the manga is so short that there was no time to explore complex concepts, remarkably little fuss is made about his presence on the team. His classmates tease him only a little, with one exception the girls get used to having him around quickly and don’t really treat him as a ‘boy’ and he himself doesn’t spend any time thinking about gender roles, he just gets on with the washing and mending.

Macmillan Yakyuubu is short, but it does manage to cover the ‘essentials’ of baseball manga – training, rivals, team bonding and, of course, Koshien. Everything is handled lightly but not necessarily comically. This is one of the least gag-heavy 4-koma I’ve ever read. It’s very laid-back slice-of-lifeish, though the last few chapters have quite a bit of sports action and some rather predictable drama.

I wish I could say the characters are all likeable, but the pitcher really lets the side down. Apart from her, all the other team members are hardworking, friendly, fun-loving and cheerful. The pitcher is just your typical high-maintenance tsundere who often ruins the mood for everyone concerned, the reader included. She’s also the one who just can’t get over the fact that Masakiyo is a guy, and keeps making things awkward all the time. Still, she gets better quickly, and in any case there’s no time for that kind of drama once the Koshien Tournament rolls around.

All in all, Macmillan Koukou Joshi Koushiki Yakyuubu is a pretty good read. I liked that the author didn’t try to shoehorn laughs in where they didn’t belong (Mr. Fullswing, are you listening?!), the sports action was well-drawn and easy to follow, the series is short enough that it ends before it get tiresome, and apart from the first chapter it has very little fanservice. Most of all, I really appreciate the existence of at least one manga about a guy surrounded by girls that doesn’t devolve into a harem manga. Most of the characters keep their heads on and their eyes on the prize the whole time, even when they’re having fun. Good stuff!

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One Response to “Macmillan Koukou Joshi Koushiki Yakyuubu”

  1. […] particular I can’t help comparing Shiratama! to Macmillan Koukou Joshi Yakyuubu, another short 4-koma manga about a girls’ baseball team. While both series start with the […]

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