License request day: Rough

Greg (Read About Comics) McElhatton has joined the knot of fervent admirers of Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game (Viz). It’s a title that inspires a bit of evangelical fervor among its admirers, or at least I feel like it is, and that enthusiasm must certainly extend to Adachi himself. Whenever the subject of out-of-print manga comes up, his Short Program (Viz) is always among the bemoaned.

There are plenty more volumes of Cross Game still to come (five of the twelve seventeen have been published in Viz’s two volumes so far), but Adachi is so amazing that it’s impossible to resist wondering which treasure from his catalog might be next in line. Many people might vote for Touch, a 26-volume series from Shogakukan’s Shônen Sunday. I would have no objection to this, but it’s another baseball series, and perhaps some variety might be key in building Adachi’s reputation among English-language readers. So, for a change of pace, why not see what he can do with high-school swimmers?

Yes, I’m talking about Rough, a 12-volume series that also ran in Sunday. It’s about a boy who swims and a girl who dives from feuding families that fell out over owl-shaped cookies. Will Yamato and Ninomiya’s shared love of pool-based athletics help them overcome this great cookie schism? I have no idea, and please don’t spoil it for me. I do know that Adachi has demonstrated a real knack for portraying contentious relationships between sporty teens of the opposite sex, and he can draw anything, so I’m not seeing a down side to Rough. It’s even a reasonable length.

Did you even need to ask if Rough is available in French? Of course it is, courtesy of Glénat, who have also published Touch and Niji-Iro Togarashi. (an 11-volume fantasy series that ran in… wait for it… Sunday). The French are basically all over Adachi, and I dream of a day when the audience for manga in English catches up.

But I’m not so selfish that I’ll only accept Rough. I would love to know what tops your Adachi wish list, assuming you have one. And if you haven’t joined the forces of Adachi advancement, well… there’s this little book called Cross Game