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Baby Steps  
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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.

Note: Won the 38th Kodansha Manga Award in the Best Shōnen Manga category in 2014.


Related Series

Associated Names
เบบี้ สเต็ป

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.32 c.305 by Angelic Scanlations & Fallen Angels 28 days ago
v.32 c.304 by Angelic Scanlations & Fallen Angels about 1 month ago
v.32 c.301-303 by Angelic Scanlations & Fallen Angels 3 months ago
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
47 Volumes (Complete)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter
Starts at Vol 1,Chap 1
Ends at Vol 19, Chap 181

User Reviews

5 topics, 13 posts
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User Rating
Average: 8.8 / 10.0 (686 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.7 / 10.0
 40% (273 votes)
 23% (161 votes)
 20% (139 votes)
 10% (66 votes)
 4% (26 votes)
 1% (6 votes)
 1% (6 votes)
 0% (2 votes)
 0% (1 votes)
 1% (6 votes)

Last Updated
November 30th 2017, 12:53am PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #456 increased(+127)
Monthly Pos #662 decreased(-172)
3 Month Pos #472 decreased(-148)
6 Month Pos #345 decreased(-68)

List Stats
On 3597 reading lists
On 823 wish lists
On 61 completed lists
On 82 unfinished lists
On 416 custom lists

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Forum Posts
"Baby Steps" Manga Ends 3 months ago
Season 2 end. over 2 years ago
2nd Baby Steps Season Slated to Premiere on April 5 over 2 years ago
Baby Steps Gets Anime Next Spring over 4 years ago
more life over 4 years ago

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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Good read   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by meeu
December 22nd, 2011, 6:13am
quite frankly one of my fave sports manga to date. I like how the mangaka explores E-chan's overly meticulous personality as a student, a son, and a tennis player. It's quite intriguing how he used that behavior from being the best in class to being the best in the sport, realizing he found his dream in the attempt of trying to stay fit. The mangaka has managed to keep this one simple yet fun, and the pacing is just about right. . .
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Don't trust the bad reviews so easily.   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by bekyuubi
December 15th, 2011, 9:23pm
I got thrown off by some of the bad reviews from the start, but this is a manga that has none of the superfluous BS from POT.

The main character has quite a bit of charisma once you get to know his nature of working hard towards his goals. Not many people dislike others who work hard and doesn't brag about it. In regards to Liquidsin comment, I read up to volume 14 so I will like to point out some things.

- Ei works hard and manages to get a reasonable body that lasts just enough for 1 full tennis match. He even lost a long match due to lack of stamina.
- He has a great personality. He told his parents he wanted to stop studying for cram schools for a full year to concentrate on Tennis alone. How many 16-17 year old teens you know will do such a thing?
- He does gather data outside of the matches, but more than anything he does it in game against a strong opponent to reflect upon his mistakes and come up with a strategy for lack of experience.

Reading until this far, I felt that the pace is slightly slow and think that the rivalry section isn't right there yet. Looks like it will be really baby steps for a pretty long while.

Edit: Read up to volume 19 (with some really shoddy japanese knowledge). This manga is really quite awesome and makes you sort of cheer for the main guy. Can't wait to see more. Ahh, but it best be reading 10 volumes in 1 shot. This manga is slow...

... Last updated on December 16th, 2011, 10:23am
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Love it   
Rating: N/A
by BlackOrion
November 23rd, 2011, 2:22pm
The only problem is that we only have, almost, 6 volumes to 17 that exist T_T

I'm not the kind of guy who thinks he has the right to actually hurry the scalation, but i wish there would be more.
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Love it   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by LovinManga
May 9th, 2011, 8:45pm
I thoroughly enjoy this manga! It's one that I'd love to buy just to have it if I could get it here in the States. I like reading it so much that I go back and forth (much easier if it's on paper) between the pages and read them again and again. This is a very well written manga.

Responding to the main character being "weak", as one reader wrote:
I read the comment that one reader wrote that he/she thinks the male protagonist is 'weak'. I completely disagree. Just because someone takes notes and follows those notes does not make them weak. This is the same character that immediately started physical training so as NOT to be weak in the game, so I have to disagree with you. Look up V.A.R.K. Some people learn by seeing something (Visual). Some by hearing (Aural). Some by reading &/or writing the information (Reading/writing). And others by hands-on (Kinesthetic). Most people are able use all of them to some degree but most lean to one or two preferred styles - because that's the way we're made. It's how our minds are wired to learn and process information and everyone's brain is wired differently. It has nothing to do with weakness. Ei-chan (Maruo) would be a Visual and Reading/writing learner. He learns by seeing and by reading/writing. And he internally processes the information learned. It's why he does well in school. A Kinesthetic learner would have to do what that other reader suggests because he would have to externally, physically, 'do' the plan first to visualize it and learn it because that's how he learns and processes information - externally. Have you ever met someone who's great at sports and terrible in class? That person is probably not lacking in ability to learn nor in intelligence. He/she is probably just a Kinesthetic learner and unless they receive help, Kinesthetic learners frequently struggle in school regardless of their level of intelligence. So the next time you encounter someone whose learning style is different from your own, remember that a particular learning style doesn't have anything to do with either intelligence or strength.

... Last updated on May 9th, 2011, 9:28pm
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My Only Sport Manga   
Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
by McCasper
April 23rd, 2011, 9:39pm
I don't mean to say that this is the best sports manga (probably far from the truth) but something about this one just struck out at me. I think it was the main character actually. In an age of manga where main characters are either endearingly stupid or scary smart Ei-chan is somewhere in the middle and its refreshing. He's actually very smart compared to most characters but he's far from super geniuses like L and Akiyama. The tennis is also interesting and creative playstyles abound in sport which I thought was pretty cut-and-dry. Over-all I think this manga hinges on the main character, if you like him keep reading, if you hate him drop it.
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Excellent and charming   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by enaikelt
March 3rd, 2011, 4:56pm
This manga is enjoyable and simple; very laid back but pretty exciting as well at times. Ei-chan is responsible, sweet and serious, a rare commodity in shounen manga, and I like that he doesn't automatically win everything; he works hard for everything he gets. He's also smart. Perfecting everything you put effort into is an ideal I feel good about applauding.

... Last updated on August 6th, 2013, 12:35am
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Ei-chan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   
Rating: 6.0 / 10.0
by liquidsin
February 9th, 2011, 4:31pm
The mangaka absolutely and undeniably failed when he created the main character. Within every chapter, his image and personality grind away at my mind to the point where I wonder why I even read this series.

Main Character: Maruo Eiitirou

  • Unique, in other words he has a fugly hairstyle that makes his face look like a fish.
  • Baby face and oversized eyes which only add to the problem. They also destroy any possible hope of masculinity in the main character though that's another issue entirely.
  • Weak physique that contradicts him ever being competitive in the sport of tennis. I also don't see how the mangaka expects the readers to believe that his endurance can keep up with the perseverance aspect.

  • Meticulously annoying. He carries the same style of data tennis as Inui from PoT while having none of his redeeming qualities.
  • Weak. Like his physique, he has a meek personality.
  • Rather than gather data before the match, crunching the numbers, and then forming a strategy, "Ei-chan" does it all in the very game he's playing.

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
One of Ei's opponents uses tennis to recreate paintings on the court... Yeah... Skipping over that issue, Ei records each of his opponent's seemingly random shots, somehow comes to the realization that they form paintings, and then forms a winning strategy all during one match.

Biased or not, I have come to despise this potentially good manga because of a single character. Unfortunately, this character can't be killed off or pushed to the sidelines which he rightfully deserves. Test this manga though it's not one I'll recommend to friends.

... Last updated on May 5th, 2016, 7:52pm
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A page turner...   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by JHax9999
September 26th, 2010, 11:42pm
Can't tell if the main character is a genius or if he's awesome because he works hard. I guess it's a combination of the two. Certainly, you can't deny that he trains his ass off to improve his skills, so first you think, "Oh, he's just an average kid who surpasses expectations because he puts in the effort." But then you see the way his mind works during matches and you're like, "What the hell is he? Nobody can think like this in these situations." But that's what makes Maruo so unique. He's kind of a genius when it comes to processing large amounts of data and analyzing what they all mean and organizing them in way that allows him to form plans of attack against his opponents (sometimes on the fly). On the other hand, he's not physically gifted, so he has to train his average body to be able to do the things his superior mind knows he needs to do during matches.

So yeah, this is a manga where you get to see the main character train hard to improve himself and sweat and bleed to earn his victories, as well as see him blow the minds of spectators with his one-of-a-kind, almost machine-like mental ability.

Makes for an interesting read.

... Last updated on June 20th, 2014, 3:57am
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very good!   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by palabasa
August 26th, 2010, 6:26pm
i have been looking for a very good tennis manga and so far this one did not disappoint me. IMO this is the best tennis manga out there.. the mangaka is either a tennis player or he interviewed real tennis players unlike some mangakas out there who uses out of this world shots or powers to make a story happen..

personally i have been playing tennis for 20yrs or so, and this manga brings back a lot of memories as a beginner and also about competing as an unseeded player..and being amazed by what seeded can do, hehe..but at the same time learning a lot from them..

again, a must read for tennis players, it has a realistic approach to tennis and also it has a good plot..thanks for the scanlators as well for taking on this one...keep it up guys! btw, just a comment on the translated term, when you're able to keep your serve the right term would be "service hold" not service keep...its either you hold your serve or your opponent "breaks" it, hence the "breakpoint" as opposed to "gamepoint".

... Last updated on August 26th, 2010, 9:32pm
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Unique Sports Manga   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by tamariskw
July 24th, 2010, 9:41am
I find CrimsonRuby's comment really misleading. The main character isn't meant to come off as being precocious. You just don't understand japanese culture enough to get what they mean by 'old'. The way he simply accepts the ideology that working hard equals success and does everything very methodically and routinely represents a 'traditional' approach to life. In the old days people laughed at you for having a dream that was seemingly out of reach. You were supposed to know your place in life and work hard at the things in front of you. This is very much unlike his classmates who either like to slack off and play around which is pretty normal these days, or the modern version of E-chan which is represented by Nat-chan: having a dream and striving for it. I also find it hypocritical to say that Nat-chan has barely met E-chan and is a busybody for calling him weird and giving him advice... seriously... you've only just read 1 chapter and you think you have the right to judge her?? If you seriously think the characters are so off then maybe you should just quit reading this manga. It's obviously lost on you.

The main character is unique because unlike other shounen manga protagonist he isn't all powerful, he's not a genius, he doesn't have a huge ego or the self-confidence to believe that he can be the best. He's a traditionalist who is discovering for the first time in his life something he enjoys doing. He's made it his goal (he had none previously) and strives to achieve it the old school way: through meticulous hard work and training, in the hopes of reaching perfection through routinely practicing and studying the basics. This is reminiscent of guys who trained in dojos for years and years hoping to perfect the form and principles of a particular school of sword style.

Obviously this is a shounen manga so it's not supposed to be super realistic, so of course he progresses quite far in a short amount of time. It's better than dragging it out... I especially hate it when sports mangas take 10 chapters to finish one game and fortunately this one doesn't do that.
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