If there is anything that I can give these two chapters of Cross Manage credit for is firmly establishing that Sakurai is a man who lives to be of help to anyone. We already know this since the series started out with Sakurai immediately going to Misora and teaching her the proper way to use the Lacrosse stick, and then warning her vehemently about playing Lacrosse in horrible conditions. But in the two recent chapters, it is 100% clear — if it wasn’t already — Sakurai wants to be of use somehow, to fit in with something he can contribute positively to, but in his state of waning interest in playing soccer yet still wanting to be a part of something where he can impart his knowledge, the only way he feels he can do that is by helping Misora and the Girls Lacrosse Team become a team that can actually compete at a high level, and imparting his past experiences in order for them to accomplish that. Now, I don’t quite agree that the manga had to go use Mayumi as an extra character to establish this, if only because this had been hinted at plenty of times already and the set-ups in those chapters were pretty mediocre. Now whether this is a case of impatience on my part, it could very well be; whatever the case, if this was a test of patience and some way of developing our main leads, then it ultimately paid off in Chapter 10, though personally, that may be because it went back to what Cross Manage is supposed to be all about: Lacrosse.
Most importantly, it went back to Sakurai doing what he wants to do and what we expect him to do: teach, motivate, and guide. Throughout Cross Manage Sakurai repeatedly likes to show off his knowledge when he’s into something. We saw this way back in Chapter 1, where he attempted to show Toriumi a couple of moves he could have made on the Shogi board instead of giving up the match. In Chapter 10, he realizes he has a long ways to go with his team. For starters, they only have 12 players — 12 players is the requirement for an actual match. As Sakurai astutely pointed out, they lacked the stamina to compete in a real match, which, aside from the other reason he has a long ways to go with his team, is one of the reasons why they got blown out by 48 and couldn’t score a single point. Of course, we all know the other reason is because they truly suck. They lack experience at almost every level, from the general basics to running a set to teamwork. If they ever want to actually think they can win a match in the upcoming spring tournament, having them do something as simple as passing the ball is something they have to do. As far as we know, there’s no single talented player on the team at this stage, a star in the making, etc. You would have to guess someone will step into that role. Will it be someone on the team though? Or will we get a new player to join the ranks down the road? Whatever the case, Sakurai giving his advice — whether it is accurate or not since he has never really played Lacrosse — instructing them on what to do on the field is what he has to do, and mainly, what he wants and loves to do.
- Wakamoto commented in the chapter that while he didn’t know all the details, Lacrosse sounds a lot like Soccer. Granted, I’m not exactly a big follower of Soccer, and I certainly don’t know enough about Lacrosse. But based on what I’ve read so far (or so little, since Lacrosse took a backseat to drama) and in blogging Ginga E Kickoff (which is a soccer anime), there are similarities in terms of the net, the field size, and maybe the action, but so far I don’t really see a connection. I guess there must be one right? After all, Akito’s been selling us on both sports from the start right? I can only assume aside from the obvious differences I’ll pick up on maybe a few things right?
- It was interesting to a degree about how Mayumi went to check on Sakurai’s leg. Doesn’t it remind anyone of what happened in Chapter 1?
- Also, I am probably the only one who sincerely hopes Mayumi doesn’t re-appear all that much in Cross Manage. She really seemed like she’d be an interesting character thanks to the build-up back in Ch 1, but I…was not overly impressed by her, despite some comedic moments. Maybe later on, after more Lacrosse games have been played.
- I do owe a bit of an apology, as I ended up combining these two chapters. Generally, that’s not something I want to do, but it happens. Admittedly, I found a lot of ground to cover by covering both chapters and working on them in one post. Not something I want to do, but I guess for manga it’s a lot easier (or more fleshed out) then doing it for an anime.