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All that matters to 15-year-old Nobara Sumiyoshi is volleyball--she's an awesome player with big-time ambitions. But sometimes it seems like a girl just can't get a break in the competitive world of high school volleyball. Nobara's family wants her to inherit the role of "young mistress," serving rich patrons at her family's old-fashioned Japanese restaurant. No thanks! When Nobara transfers to Crimson Field High School, known for its top-notch volleyball team, it turns out that her mother will stoop to dirty tricks to keep her off the court. With assistance from her feisty Aunt Momoko, who's got some connections at Crimson Field, Nobara decides to start playing offense.
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Just a thought
I disagree with the user below. I don't think Nobara is masculine. She just lacks self-confidence regarding her femininity. Sure she's big-boned. I'm also big-boned and very tall, but actually, aren't most models are? And the plot is not that repeating. She's not dumb like all the other heroines who get swayed by the merest of kindness. She's kinda pure and pushes through with her love so naively. Sure, there are some pitfalls in the plot and cliches` but I think people have forgotten that cliches` happen in real life too, at the most alarming rate.
The best shoujo sports manga!
It's difficult to find a shoujo manga about sportswomen that takes the sport as (or even more) seriously than the romance. Crimson Hero is one such anomaly. And what a wonderful anomaly it is! The heroine is unique and strong and completely dedicated to her sport. It's wonderful to see a girl who doesn't just turn into a wilting damsel at the first sign of trouble or romance. Her pluck and her talent make her awesome to watch.
Sure, the actual volleyball matches don't start until the second volume, but the action is well worth the wait. It's pretty realistic, too... For example, the heroine's team doesn't just start winning immediately. They face many personal and athletic challenges along the way. Watching the team grow and change is very rewarding, and reminds me of the comraderie of my own high school days.
The individuality of all the team members is portrayed very convincingly. Their personal tribulations and strengths aren't ignored completely in favor of the heroine's characterization, which is a bonus. Usually, the friends of the heroine are treated as mere chorus characters by most shoujo mangakas, but in this case they're all slowly brought to light. It might take a while, but we end up learning about the setters and the blockers, not just the team's ace.
The boys are great, too, but I love the fact that this manga doesn't lose its head around them. What I mean is -- sure, the guys are gorgeous, but girls don't turn into glittery candy wrappers around them. They don't fit into bishounen stereotypes, either, although they might appear to do so at first. The brash, loud one actually turns out to be vulnerable and sensitive; conversely, the quiet, apparently well-mannered one turns out to have a thorny personality.
At any rate, boys or not, this manga's very much about the girls. And about volleyball.
Sports lovers absolutely shouldn't miss this. Even if you're usually allergic to shoujo because of its trashy romance factor, trust me when I say that Crimson Hero goes way beyond that, and celebrates sports as much as it does love.
I don't understand why this isn't popular!
Seriously! This manga is one of the best shoujos out there. I mean yes, the romance is a bit slow and pushed to the sidelines but that's the point. The manga is about volleyball. It's about doing anything to follow your dreams. Nobara is one of my favourite heroines. She isn't one of those heroines who transfers to a high school to follow her love interest or someone who, at the very first page says "I'm going to find a boyfriend!" Honestly heroines like that make me wanna bludgeon them to death. Nobara is one of the few characters who isn't like that. She knows what she wants and is determined to get it no matter what. She's a real tomboy, not the fake ones you find in most mangas. Even when she falls in love she never forgets her original goal. She does become more feminine but I love her recklessness and rebelliousness so much! She actually reminds me of me.
The art is lovely. It might be a bit choppy in the beginning but it becomes gorgeous later on. People might be turned off at the sports aspect of it since it is shoujo, but I loved it. I don't even play volleyball but I still got drawn in. It's great. This was much better for me than Akuma de sourou by the same author. That one was alright but was too cliched and the girl was way weak. This one was much more enjoyable.
Unfortunately, this isn't a very well known manga. It's a shame because it's on par or even better than the mainstream shoujo nowadays.I would love to see it being made into an anime or live action. I really think everyone should read this.
... Last updated on May 4th, 2012, 8:38am
I'M SO SAD IT'S OVER!! I MEAN... I don't know what I'm supposed to do now!! Where can i find a manga like this??!?! It's pretty rare now'a'days you know!! I can't explain how glad I am that I decided to read this manga! It was worth every minute of every second of my time and I'm so surprised by the negative comments written here. Since I love this manga so much, I'll take the time to put some detail into this just to get other to read it too.
Art: Beautiful from beginning to end, very detailed.
Characters: Some of the best character's I've ever seen and some of the best friendships I've ever witnessed. The amount of hard work, persistence, trust and fragility they all had made this manga into a total gem. The amazing part is that they didn't even start off all that great. Throughout the story, they develop incredible strength mentally and physically and as a reader, even I felt proud of them when they overcame obstacles and sad when they struggled. I laughed when they laughed, cheered them on when they were giving it their all and felt my heart break when they hit rock bottom in their life. I don't think I've ever respected a character as much as I have with Nobara though. Theb best thing about her is that she's strong but she's also very fragile. She cries when it's something very important but she NEVER gives up. When she falls, she always stands up again and it's just refreshing how realistic the mangaka has created her to be. She's incredible. Absolutely amazing and the very definition of "a diamond in the rough." I loved all the characters in this manga. All in all, great characters, brilliant character development.
Plot: I definitely underestimated the plot for this. As I mentioned earlier, I'm very glad I decided to read it because to be honest I hesitated a little. Sports/Romance manga's are tough, I mean, There will be either too much of one or the other and I expected a bunch of whining girls and overly confident boys but this definitely took me by surprise. It had the perfect balance of sports/romance/drama and slice of life. Definitely slice of life. It was very realistic and spot on. I would know because I used to play volleyball and the team work, the crying, the hard work, the frustration, the audience, the cheering, the injuries are all spot on. I think I love this manga a tad more than others because I've felt it all too.
Romance: Can't.get.enough.of.it! I LOVE how it's not so sloppy or overly dramatic or overly innocent. The relationship between Nobato and Yuushin goes beyond any relationship I've seen in other manga's. The amount of trust and support they had for each other is truly worth seeing. Just by having each other, they were able to go through the hardest of times. What i found really awesome though was that they didn't just go "omg you're hot, I'm totally in love with you" they built it first. They're friends, comrades, lovers, supporters and dreamers. All of that together. I'm just really glad there's a perfect amount of romance in this manga. If it was all sports and just a hint of romance, I don't think I would've kept reading! Great couple, great connection.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I wish I could've seen them play during the spring tournament, that would've been awesome too but the ending was wrapped up pretty nicely.
All in all, I give it a 10/10. Please give it a read, I guarantee you won't regret it. Well, that's said, I think I'll go play some volleyball again.
... Last updated on April 7th, 2013, 5:57pm
A well-written story with great art!
I first saw Crimson Hero in a Shoujo Beat magazine I bought. I got to admit. The art drew me in. I decided to look it up online and I was given a pleasant surprise. However, after around chapter 50, I dropped the series for awhile. Recently, seeing as how it is completely scanlated now, I decided to read it again. Boy was I glad I did!
Characters ★★★★★ You know how a story either has a weak or strong heroine? Well, Nobara is neither. She's in between. The mangaka has given her character such depth. It's irritating when the heroine is weak but I find it irritating as well if the heroine is too strong. I really like Nobara because she has her flaws. Not only Nobara, her team has balance as well. They don't straight-out win matches or dominate other teams. Plus, the opponents have their own story as well. I felt sad that some of their opponents had lost even. The mangaka did a really great job in making her characters likable and realistic at the same time.
Story ★★★★ The story revolves around the Benino's Boys' and Girls' volleyball club and their matches against other schools as they aim for the Spring Tournament. Despite it being about volleyball, I like how the mangaka did not bombard us with technical volleyball information. There are occasional terms but the mangaka does explain them so it isn't a pain for those who are unfamiliar with the sport, especially since most of us are otakus anyway. The story flow is good. The team faces setbacks but through intense training, they get by. However, one reason I gave this series a nine and 4 stars for story is because everything ridiculously coincidentally happens. Most of the time you can predict what happens. Don't let this stop you from reading it though. It is an enjoyable read. Also, I just hate how everyone is happy or perseveres. There's not that one miserable person out there. Realistically speaking, not everyone has happiness. Though actually, it might just be the sadist in me.
Art ★★★★★ The art, despite it not being anything magical, it is pretty and it goes with the story. The characters are proportionate. I know sometimes the characters have overly-broad shoulders and can be too tall. Plus, they're only 15-17 year olds. However, they are volleyballers anyway so the mangaka probably wanted to emphasize this. What I like best however, is the form and poses. For examples, when Nobara jumps in the air. It looks beautiful. It may not be the best-looking art, above-average for me yes but it goes so well with the story!
If you have not read Crimson Hero yet or have dropped it, please give it a try! It is a wonderful story with balanced characters and will give you a pleasant feeling as you read it
I'm only 3 chapters in, but I can only hope for character growth in the intelligence department...
:EDIT: Nope, caught up with current translated releases and no improvement... In fact most of the cast have been demoted to mentally insufficient human-like single-celled organisms.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Seriously, the female lead doesn't want to inherit/work in her family's restaurant so what does she do? Run away and get a job as a maid somewhere else... I know the root is low self esteem/self hatred caused by the constant negative criticism in comparison to her younger sister, but in regards to true character profiling, she should have at least a little resentment toward the service industry itself. Thereby making the prospect of becoming a maid/dorm mother a naturally unacceptable choice even to further her original goals. The story could have taken many directions aside from this type of live-in scenario and been perfectly fine, but this turn of events makes the story impossible to enjoy from a logical mind's standpoint. the two more rational choices would have been: 1. transfer of school due to lack of proper physical recreation being offered 2. make so many mistakes so that current hostess is pressured by the clientele to choose another heir and/or make intentions known to abolish family's business upon inheritance to dissuade selection. She's been raised in the environment for 15 years, enough to understand how it works, so I hated her simplistic/counterproductive choice of future decisions.
:EDIT: near vol. 14, I found another disappointment.(for people like me at least) I have never been able to enjoy a single publication that included a "Because I think of his/her best interests I have to completely crush his heart, self esteem, and motivation by breaking off all relations." story arc. And to find that Takanashi Mitsuba is the type of author that would include it. I now know why every fiber of my being instinctively told me to stay far away from this series. I didn't listen, and now I suffer. Like minded individuals have been warned.
If you can look past that the art is good and it is a interestingly funny read, but the only reason I'm continuing is I have a self imposed rule to finish reading what I start.
... Last updated on July 31st, 2011, 5:58am
It derserves full score
the way the characters are drawn are really beautiful. its really consistent, realistic and appealing. the story flows and the momentum of it kept me reading even when i didnt want to. i really want to read a comedy manga now tho. this one is making me feel emo.
A Must Read!
I really love this manga! I have only read up to volume 4 so far but I like how the plot is progressing and I'm a sweet tooth for love triangle romance. The art is amazing and the characters are lovable. It does has some of the typical shoujo manga element to it, but it does not hinder to make a typical shoujo manga. I highly recommend it!
I started out liking this manga. It was cute and funny with a good balance of romance and sports. The plot progressed at a good pace, art was good as was the flow. The heroine was relatively likeable, strong to her word, and a good change from the weepy can't do anything for herself girls.
about half way through the story, things go down hill. Everything turns double melodramatic and cliches are thrown at you, front left right and from behind. I actually stopped reading it after a certain cliche that annoyed the hell out of me and just read the epilogue.
Thoroughly enjoyed it
I really did.
I love it when mangakas discuss the complexity of relationships and then apply them to different situations. I found the theme of unrequited love delicately expressed-you can sense that thought has been put into the writing. The mangaka does care about her characters and that's always a plus. The art is beautiful; it's one of those rare instances where you stay at one page before going to the next-to appreciate the art rather than just flipping through the thing.