Otasukebito Hashiru! manga review

Otasukebito Hashiru! (or: Help comes Running! おたすけ人走る!) is a shoujo sports manga from 1979, written and illustrated by Hikaru Yuzuki. Yuzuki is probably best known for Amai Seikatsu/Sweet Life, the barely worksafe long-running manga about a naive young man who goes to work for a lingerie company.

That is that and this is this. Otasukebito Hashiru is worth a read at best, but it’s not the kind of manga that really sticks in anyone’s memory. The story is simple: PR Academy is an ex-girls’ school on the verge of collapse. To save their skins and get more students, they decide to become famous for sports. But why start from scratch when you can recruit the best (and dumbest) sports students from across Japan? First, though, you have to put them through their paces… with a set of increasingly ridiculous tests.

otasukebitohashiru000001It could have been good. And I suppose it really was considered funny back in 1979. Now, though, the gags are cheesy and stale and while the art is clean and the story is amusing, the manga suffers most of all from a thoroughly unlikeable cast. The main female, Kana has a short temper, a sadistic streak and a tendency to look down on those who don’t conform to her ideals.

On the other hand Sukesake Oda, the “hero” is a hero in name-only. He’s a lazy, perverted and uncooperative cheat, though those qualities don’t come out till later in the manga. The worst character of all, though, is Kana’s mother the principal, who is willing to do anything (and I mean anything) to see that her plan succeeds. Money comes before everything else, her own daughter included.

As a character manga, therefore, Otasukebito Hashiru! will leave you fuming at every turn. It’s quite amusing as a sports manga, though. Volume 1 ends with one of the most ridiculous ‘tennis’ matches I have ever witnessed, though for people who’ve read Prince of Tennis it will barely be a blip on their radar.

Still, I picked this up because it promised to have baseball in it. And it does, as the team strives to win the national Koshien tournament, the quickest and most reliable way for a school to become famous in Japan. That’s the good news. The bad news is, they only play baseball in volumes 2 and 3 so… yeah. If you want to find out whether they win or not, buy the Otasukebito Hashiru manga on Amazon (and ignore the wacky Google Translate titles).

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