Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adachi Mitsuru Overload

I've been working on Adachi Mitsuri series for a long time, seemingly forever. Hiatari Ryoukou started up more than two-and-a-half years ago; Miyuki, more than 18 months ago. Frankly, I didn't expect them to take all that long, based on Yawara, but for "reasons," the projects have stalled out repeatedly. Working on them in parallel has introduced a sense of perpetual deja vu, because one Adachi series looks very much like another, and nowhere is this more true than Hiatari Ryoukou and Miyuki.

Both shows are slice-of-life comedies, at the center of which is a love triangle. In Hiatari Ryoukou, the heroine, Kishimoto Kasumi, is torn between her long-term boyfriend, Muraki Katsuhiko, now a college student, and a boy who lives at her boarding house and attends her high school, Takasugi Yuusaku. In Miyuki, the hero, Wakamatsu Masoto, is torn between his high-school crush, Kashima Miyuki, and his newly returned step-sister, Wakamatsu Miyuki, to whom he is conveniently not related by blood. The character designs are interchangeable, with Yuusaku a dead ringer for Masoto, and Kasumi a dead ringer for Wakamatsu Miyuki. (That's a big spoiler for who will end up with whom, by the way.) Both shows feature some amount of high-school baseball, Hiatari Ryoukou fairly seriously, Miyuki just as incidental color. In both shows, the comic sidekick (Mikimoto Shin in Hiatari, Muraki Yoshio in Miyuki) is played by the same seiryuu, Shiozata Kaneto. Hiatari even makes a cameo appearance on a TV screen in episode 30 of Miyuki. See why I'm confused? By the way, so is the mangaka: in a recent interview, Adachi was unable to tell his own heroes apart.

One difference is that Hiatari Ryoukou is actually a complete version of the manga (when the movie is thrown in), but Miyuki stops about two-thirds of the way through. (The manga is completely scanlated, if you want to find out how it all ends.) Perhaps the 1983 audience wouldn't support five cours of Adachi Mitsuri, but after the smashing success of Touch in 1985, there was enough interest to see Hiatari Ryoukou through until the end. Besides, the characters in Hiatari are indistinguishable visually from the characters in Touch, so perhaps the audience thought they were watching the same show. Adachi would revisit the themes of baseball and a love triangle in Slow Step and H2, before moving on to other patterns.

I'd like to move on as well; I've had enough of Adachi for a while. (No, I'm not going to marathon Touch any time soon.) For one thing, Yawara! is out on BluRay, an event which cries out for a pristine new version. If I have to spend close to three years on a series, I'd rather spend it with Yawara-chan and Jigoro, Sayaka and Shinnosuke, Jody, Fujiko, Matsuda and the rest than a cast of characters neither I nor the author can tell apart. I'm sure both Hiatari and Miyuki are enjoyable in their own way, but long acquaintance has stamped out all the fun for me.


  1. Adachi's works are very similar, not only In art style but also the stories themselves. I am a big fan though so I hope in the months since you posted this you have given Adachi another shot. Your releases have been great. Miyuki was very well done! I hope you'll continue on Hiatari Ryoukou as well as I have been very impressed with the quality of the subs on the first 12 episodes. Yawara is also a really fantastic show. I hadn't heard about it until you guys started working on it. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks so much for the all the work you do! It may be monotonous but it is appreciated.

    1. I'm happy to reply that work on Hiatari has restarted. It won't be quick, but at least it's no longer on hiatus.