Crimson Hero (series)

Crimson Hero, Vol. 3 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero, Vol. 6 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero, Volume 8 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero, Volume 9 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero, Vol. 14 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero 紅色 Hero 17 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero 紅色 Hero 19 - Mitsuba Takanashi Crimson Hero 紅色 Hero 20 - Mitsuba Takanashi

So one reason that I haven't been writing a lot recently (other than being busy), is I basically sat down and marathoned this entire series. I try in general to not overwhelm people with my posts and I know manga isn't for everyone so I try space it out. I also try not to read another book in a series until I had written its review so I didn't get confused. But I had already read the first nine volumes and had been put it off far far too long to finish to allow myself to take my time.


So here's my review for volumes 3-20 of Crimson Hero. I embed some of my favorites above since I can't do all of them.


As was explained in my reviews for the first two volumes, Crimson Hero is the story of Nobara. She loves volleyball, but does not have the support of her family who wants her to take over the family business and be more lady like. She starts her first year at Crimson Field High School because they have a good volleyball program, but then finds out it is the boys team that was good. She also ends up leaving home and living with the first year male volleyball recruits supported by her aunt (who was supposed to be the dorm mother).


Over the next 18 volumes, Nobara restarts the girls team, finds a great group of friends and teammates and falls in love. Since I had read the first nine volumes, I had always had a few ideas of where it would go from there and how it would end. I was actually fairly off which is always a nice surprise.


Nobara's overall goal is to get to the Spring Tournament. Only the top three volleyball teams are invited and to play on the orange courts is the dream of top volleyball players.


One of my favorite aspects of the series is during the games against the other teams, we frequently get to see what is going on with that team and always at one point during the story I start to get attached to them and want them to win. This happened almost every single time. I had to keep reminding myself, that while I liked them, I wanted Crimson Field to win.


My favorite storyline in the series is when Nobara is sent to train with Ryo, her coach's brother who is supposedly at one of the top universities on a volleyball scholarship. She shows up to the school, only to find out that Ryo doesn't go to school anymore and instead plays volleyball on the beach with a group of guys from various walks of life. He is short for a volleyball player and was told by the school that he would not be able to play attacker, whereas he believes that he can still play.


Nobara ends up living and training with them. Volume 9, which is probably my favorite overall, features the end of that arc with the beach team, the Eagles, against the university powerhouse team. It's a great game and features Nobara finally starts to come into her own abilities and believes in herself. Ryo also gains redemption and is able to leave Japan having proven himself to his former team. Nobara's leaving also prompts a certain classmate to come to terms with his feeling for her and ends with a short amazing scene of the two of them coming to an understanding. How the hell I just stopped after that (I do not have any good excuse) I will never understand.


My favorite moment in the series actually features Rena. Rena is a very short (under 5') player who joins due to a girl crush on Nobara. She has good reflexes but knows that she will always be a weak member of the team. She practices her serves as much as she can so that maybe one day, she can score a point. Well, one game she does. And it was amazing. 


Another good moment was when Haibuki finally realizes that Nobara is not perfect. My favorite thing about Nobara was as confident as she was, she was always a real flawed person. Haibuki took his damn time to figure it out, but it was a great moment.


Oh and one more favorite. When Haibuki leaves the team and Yushin (who I have not talked nearly about) tracks him down (with help) and gets him back. Their relationship never started off well and took many hits along the way, but this moment between them and Yushin's determination was inspiring.


Okay, a bit on Yushin. I loved him. He reminds me of Logan from Veronica Mars in that he gets off to a rough start in series, but actually is a great guy. I loved his relationship with Nobara and how he understands what she goes through and how he can support her. 


There was a bit more angst in the series than I would have liked, but it is a story and stories need drama. 


The ending this series was pretty perfect though unexpected. I'll throw the rest of my thoughts behind a spoiler just in case.



So I mentioned earlier that I had my own ideas of how the story would play out. I always guessed that Yushin and Nobara would work it out (or at least I hoped) and I loved that they did stay together, though the story does make it clear that it hasn't been easy.


I had always thought that the series would take places over multiple school years since I really didn't think that Nobara could get a team together that would make it to the spring tournament and that's where I guessed (correctly) the main storyline would end. But after getting through the manga I like that she and her team managed to get to the tournament (but not win which I liked) in that one year. I especially loved seeing how other girls got interested in playing volleyball at Crimson Field and the joy of the team welcoming their new players.


One other thing I thought would happen was that Nobara's mother would allow her out of the agreement to run the family business after seeing how she played. Her mother does show support for her, but the second to last chapter shows Nobara fulfilling her bargain and being run ragged by her mother. She is still dating Yushin, but as I mentioned earlier, they have had issues due to his busy volleyball schedule (he still gets to play) and her work schedule. They get together for a overnight getaway and after butting heads, come together and Yushin proposes :) Always one of my favorite endings.


But I had always hoped she would be able to continue to play and I was disappointed that she gave it up. But it was her choice and she did achieve her goal of getting to those orange courts as well as stick to her word. 


The final chapter features Ryo again. We learned during his arc that he had a contentious relationship with a girl in high school. He promised her that he would be a world class volleyball attacker within ten years. The last chapter expands more on their relationship and ends with him playing on the volleyball national team, ten years after his promise. Also, Yushin is his teammate. 


Ryo was my favorite side character. His desire to stick to his goals despite everyone telling him he was crazy and his ability to get through to Nobara and Yushin at key moments cemented his place in my heart. Seeing him reach his goal was a perfect ending to the story, even though it wasn't his story.

(show spoiler)