Otouto Catcher Ore Pitcher de! volume 3 manga review

On on we go. Otouto Catcher Ore Pitcher de! volume 3 concludes the first match of Hirataka High School’s attempts to qualify for the Koshien summer tournament. They’ve been down by 3 runs since the first inning, and while Touma is pitching well, the Hirataka batters just can’t get a good hit off their opponent’s excellent defense. What’s more, the opponents are deliberately doing their best to burn through Touma’s stamina to make him easier to hit – and it’s working! Is Hirataka’s campaign doomed to fail right at the very outset?

While it would be awesome if that happened, you and I have both seen enough sports anime/read enough manga to know that something that anti-climatic would never happen. That’s why it’s a little irritating how writer Shinji Tonaka spends so much time pretending the other team actually has a chance. It would be one thing if he’d gone the usual route of having Hirataka face last year’s champions or some elite team, but the opponents are just some low-ranked team without much of a background. No purpose would be served by having them win, so of course they don’t.

What is achieved in this volume, then, is to show some bonding between the Touma brothers, to expose the flaws in Touma Ichiya’s pitching, namely his lack of stamina and his easy distractability, to show Yoshi’s intelligence and prove that he’s softening up a bit and, most importantly, to set up the inevitable showdown between Hirataka and their soon-to-be rivals, a showdown that Hirataka will inevitably lose.

Why am I still reading Otouto Catcher Ore Pitcher de? Mainly because there’s no reason for me to stop. It’s one of those things you continue out of inertia unless something better shows up or they mess up royally. Things won’t get interesting until Hirataka High is dropped from the tournament. A lot of mangaka lose focus once there’s no Koshien to keep things interesting (see: Ookiku Furikabutte) so I want to see how Shinji Tonaka handles the team’s future development. Of course I can’t guarantee I’ll read the manga long enough to find that out, but I’m still here for now.

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