Crimson Hero is going to be the next manga series I will be finishing. This one is a bit different since I started reading it about nine years ago when it was serialized in Shojo Beat. Shojo manga generally features female protagonists and has romantic elements. There aren't many Shojo manga in the sports genre. Crimson Hero was one of two titles that were published in Shojo Beat from the beginning to the cancellation of the magazine.
Unfortunately the series wasn't finished. Shojo Beat does continue to publish manga volumes in the US, but only released 14 out of the 20 book series. I've read the first nine and will be finishing the series.
The story focuses on Nobara Sumiyoshi, a fifteen year old first year student at the prestigious Crimson Field high school. She loves volleyball more than anything and chose the school because she heard that they had a nationals bound team. She quickly learns that it's actually the boys team that is great and the girls team was recently disbanded due to their losing record and inability to field a team.
Adding to her problems is that while she loves Volleyball, her family owns a ryotel, a high class japanese dining establishment and traditionally the eldest daughter inherits and runs the business. The tomboyish Nobara is a terrible fit for the job and more importantly, doesn't want it. Her younger sister Souka is the feminine one who would be perfect.
After finding out her mother was the driving force behind getting the girls team cancelled with a generous donation and a small request, Nobara runs away to her aunt who is the unconventional nurse at her school. Her aunt offers to pay her expenses if Nobara agrees to be dorm mother at the dorm for the first year recruits for the boys volleyball team.
There's Yushin Kumagai, who she has already had a run in with, Naota Tsuchiya, Tomonori Ichiba, and finally Keisuke Haibuki, who she shares a past with but doesn't remember until later in the book when he reveals he used to have a crush on her.
As the dorm mother, Nobara has to cook, clean, and make sure the athletes are on schedule. All things she has no experience in and the guys (other than Keisuke) have no patience for her mistakes. Nobara ends up working herself sick trying to meet all their demands, get her schoolwork done, and restart the girls volleyball team. After Nobara collapses the boys change their tune and start helping her. Yushin, after talking with her aunt, begins to understand her and even defends the feverish Nobara when her mother tries to force her back home in one of my favorite scenes.
Nobara is one of my favorite heroes. She has a take charge attitude and refuses to back down or take no for an answer. She'll take on any challenge or hardship that comes her way, but as seen already, does not know when to stop. This is one of my favorite series and I look forward to reading it again and seeing how it ends.