Watashi no Koshien volume 4 & 5 (skimmed)

Yup, as I suspected volume 3 was the end of Watashi no Koshien‘s run of quality. The manga continues for another 2 volumes and manages to achieve its initial objective, but the light had gone out and it was just a bitter angry manga till the end. Still the ending doesn’t feel abrupt, so I suppose it was meant to be a 5-volume series from the start. I’m all for the rare, short baseball manga, but this was just crap.

Not that I’m 100% qualified to say so, since I read about a third of volume 4, skipped through to the end and skimmed most of volume 5 as well. All I wanted to know when I started 4 was whether Wataya had repented of her selfish abuse of her charges, but not only had she not repented but the writers had decided “This is no longer an issue, okay?” and done an arbitrary time-skip to the next academic year. Plus all the angry team members suddenly love to practice and think Coach Wataya is the best thing since sliced bread. Explain? They don’t owe you any explanations!

Medetashi, medetashi

Medetashi, medetashi

Then 4 new students show up (recruited due to Wataya’s passionate efforts). The coach’s new plan is revealed: pamper and promote these new students to make the older students jealous, desperate and exceedingly grateful for every moment of playing time she chooses to bestow on them. In a better-written manga this would come across in a more charitable “trying to motivate everyone to do their best” kind of way, but as usual Shihono Wataya comes across as stubborn, scheming, self-centered and inconsiderate.

After that the team has a game against the best school in their prefecture, even better than the one they played last time. Aaand I stopped reading. Skimmed. They drew. More jealousy and bickering between team members. Somehow they all learn to get along and appreciate just how wonderful Shihono really is. Then the Koshien prelims start and they win all their matches and go to Koshien, the end.

Final verdict: That was… pretty bad. The art is nice, the baseball action is interesting and clearly drawn and most of the characters are passable but when the main character is selfish, self-righteous and is portrayed as someone who can do no wrong even when she is clearly wrong, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the manga is like. I saw some parallels between this series and Ookiku Furikabutte and I can only hope the latter doesn’t fall apart as quickly and as completely as Watashi no Koshien did.

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