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Maruo Eiichirou (Ei-Chan), a first year honor student, one day decides he's unhappy with the way things are and lacks exercise. His mother gives him a flyer for the local Tennis Club and he decides to check it out. He's instantly captivated by it. With no prior experience and poor physical conditioning, join Ei-Chan as he embarks on a tennis journey using his smarts, dedication and work ethic.
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solid and realistic; what more could you want?
This is realistic sports manga at its finest.
If you're looking for exciting, shounen-esque competitions with the protagonists making ridiculously impossible moves that have cool sounding names, Baby Steps is probably not for you. I personally find the matches pretty intense and interesting, but it's definitely not at the level of Prince of Tennis (I don't think anything is quite at that level, actually, thank goodness) or other sports manga in its tradition. So, yeah, Baby Steps is not for you if you're looking for that kind of action.
Otherwise, it's a really, really good sports manga, emphasis on the sports. I'm constantly amazed at the creativity in which the mangaka constructs matches all the while remaining realistic and down-to-earth. It just goes to show that you can still make interesting characters and movesets while keeping some semblance of realism! It's obvious the mangaka really likes tennis and likes writing the matches because the main ones are always a lot of fun!
And one of the really good things about Baby Steps too is that it doesn't waste any time with unnecessary scenes. There are times during a match in which the mangaka will skip ahead a few sets because nothing really happens, and while this might be disarming for some, I personally liked it because it kept up the interesting pace and the realism all without becoming too boring or bogged down. Also, I really like how she describes Ei-chan's training but shows only the select, relevant parts of it. I've always disliked training arcs in sports manga, so I really appreciate Baby Steps' care in making them relevant but not altogether the focus.
The characters themselves are, like everything else, really realistic. But since this is a sports manga first and a character-driven manga second, the protagonist Ei-chan develops really slowly, though he does become really fleshed-out and likable. The side characters also get some slight development/cursory background story, but, while they are well-rounded characters, you don't really see that deep into their histories. There's definitely no cast full of superpowered humans with deep internal angst over tennis, nosiree. Most of the players just genuinely love the sport and want to win because they love it. That's it. And I really appreciate that.
Also, the slice-of-life moments have been really heartwarmingly adorable recently.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Mainly because Nacchan and Ei-chan are basically the sweetest couple ever. Wow.
So overall this is definitely a really solid, realistic manga that really doesn't have any major, glaring faults that I can see. Of course, it caters to a specific demographic, so not everyone will like it, but it's definitely a well-written piece of work, without a doubt.
... Last updated on October 30th, 2013, 1:20am
The first time I tried to read I stopped after reading a couple of chapters. Then later on, I read through all the available chapters in one go and loved it. Been keeping with this manga ever since.
Good for being a sport manga
It's about tennis. It really is about tennis; not some supersonic tecniques used during tennis matches, just tennis (with few exceptions). That makes it the more enjoyable, even though it gets kind of boring after a while, but that's because it tries to stay as close to reality as a sport manga can, and I appreciate it. The characters are a little bidimensional, to be honest, but it's not that important to the story.
Don't be put off by bad reviews
This manga is great. It has alot of realism, which I didn't expect to enjoy. Romance in this manga is slow, but it is there. Don't expect much to happen between volumes though since the main focus is the tennis, and Maruo's route to becoming a pro.
Art The art is very good. At first I couldn't help but keep staring at Maruo's hair everytime it had his face in it. All I could think of is "why a rooster??" But after you get over that (or maybe it's just me) The art in the matches really gives you a sense of the speed and power of the shots or player's movements, or the speedcut for a drop shot.
Characters. There are some great characters, with a variety of playing styles that Maruo goes up against. [From d3m0naras] "Every time he encounters a new tennis character, he'll lose. After training alot, he tries it again and wins by "luck" " I disagree with this comment. Maruo comes across a new player with a different playing style. Ofcourse he's not going to always win the first time. You need to gather some information on the other person's playing style, and learn to read the moves. Maruo trains to come up with countermeasures (As would any tennis player in real life) and then applies them to his matches. That is Maruo growing as a player, not him being "lucky". But aswell as bringing in new characters, we get to look into their lives a little, and find out how important the match/tournament is for them, and their career aswell.
Story: The story is amazingly engrossing, though this may differ from person to person. If you enjoy some realism, the character over coming obstacles (whether they be other players, or his own physique), comedy, a story where the matches will soak you in to the point that you may end up on the verge of yelling "cmon!!" when the Maruo makes a break at a crucial point, or just enjoy tennis. Then this is the manga for you. And if you don't like tennis, then give this manga a shot, since it may just get you into it like it did me.
Looooong story short. This is a GREAT manga. Just because it wasn't to the taste of a few others, doesn't mean you won't like it. So give it a read for a few chapters atleast.
As of chapter ~200 it seems the mangaka is developing the romance side of things a little further. Tbh I thought the slow development in this area would be something I would mark the manga down for, but the tennis action and story is good enough to have made me not care for that as much.
Art, Story, and Characters are all still well done. There are some long arcs (arcs may take the form of a tournament or in some cases a match) but they are deeply engrossing enough to prevent you being bored (for most of the arc at least). All else from the previous review still holds true.
... Last updated on May 19th, 2014, 3:29pm
I like it so far
Main character improves at an unbelievable pace due to his hard work. It almost feels unrealistic to think that he's at the level he is after only 2 years, but if anyone put that much effort into it and had his tenacity then it'd probably be the same.
I'm at Ch.111 now, and even though the main character grows a lot, the matches are starting to all feel the same. There isn't any fancy, flashy shounen-ish combat moves in this tennis manga, thankfully, but I'm hoping the author manages to put some more variety in there to keep the matches interesting.
I love manga with character growth, and I like this manga.
Don't follow the bad reviews
It's really a good series, especially if your into spots manga, this one is very realistic in what they do, the Main character's personality is very enjoyable and its just an awesome read! Its my favorite spots manga, that's for sure! X3
Yep, good ^^
Really good man....and I'm a hard view shoujo fan....because if this I finally realised how senseless all that stuff was and I kinda stopped reading mangas altogether (ok mostly is cuz I ran out).One negative is that It's good but too short, it didn't fill like how many volumes it said it has ...right now in just waiting for this along with my other 'unfinished' mangas .
Starts a little bit slow but once it gets into tennis, it shines. I like how you can basically see all the inner thoughts of the protagonist during a match as he tries to come up with legit strategies and counter-strategies. The character development has been good and am looking forward to reading more. Gratitude for all those scans!
Can't wait for next chapter..
It's all about tennis world, like a guidebook from amateur to pro tennis player. 1000% more realistic than POT, it have some good jokes, especially when the ei-chan makes weird faces.. lol, it also have a little bit romance in some chapter, good enough for refreshing.. Overall, a must read sport manga..
A tennis manga about ... well, tennis.
Baby Steps is a great sports manga. That is, if you're only in it for the sports, and not for say, likable characters or drama between them.
Most sports mangas barely even focus on the actual sport, and crank the action up to eleven when they do. It's not about the accuracy of the sport, but it's about the drama of the player, and how their sad little emo back story gives them the will to go through and reach the top.
None of that is in Baby Steps. No drama, thank god. Of course, the drama is what makes a lot of people like sports mangas period, so these people will probably, almost certainly, not like Baby Steps.
I wouldn't compare Baby Steps to Prince of Tennis. POT is one of those 'drama' sports, which cranks up the tennis to eleven, and the further it goes, the more unrealistic it becomes. The story could have picked out any sport and it would still have been the same. Not true for Baby Steps. It's very calculating, smart, and most importantly real. It's about tennis.
The main character is not your typical idiot hero, nor the genius prodigy who excels in everything he touches. No, Ei-chan is someone who's so devoid of any talent, that he's only good at being average or 'good' at whatever he does, but he's not the best or a genius, or excels at something in particular. No, that takes actual effort and training.
No curb stomp battles here, tennis is real and the main character loses quite a bit of matches. Of course he does, he only started playing tennis for a few months, despite his ability to be good all-around (but not anything specific), he still loses quite a bit because he doesn't have anything he's really good at. This is frequently mentioned in the manga, where he's an alright tennis player, he doesn't have any definitive moves, or finishing moves.
About his personality, well he's like an obsessed data miner, and writes everything down in his notebooks. He has big eyes that are always wide open in shock, surprise, or simply from amazement. There's not much to the guy. Really, there isn't.
Any other character doesn't get enough screen time to show their personality, or backgrounds or whatever, just long enough to introduce them to the reader as they have another tennis battle.
Oh, despite what it says as a romantic subplot, that's like saying Naruto has a romantic subplot. I don't even know why they bother with it, because it's so casually mentioned in like a page or two, you wonder if it has any point to it at all.
So yeah, Baby Steps is about tennis. Not about the drama, not about overcoming the battle despite all odds, or about interesting characters, but just tennis.