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Crimson Hero, Volume 1


Crimson Hero, Volume 1

written and illustrated by Mitsuba Takanashi

Nobara's life consists entirely of volleyball. No, that's not totally true. Lately, Nobara's life has consisted entirely of trying to play volleyball.

Nobara loves volleyball and is an excellent player who receives much praise. However, that doesn't go over well with her mother. Her mother has old-fashioned opinions of girls and how they should act: docile, quiet, pretty. Sports for girls? Never. Nobara has to fight against this ignorance, but since it's her own mother, there's not much she can do.

In fact, her mother does much more than quietly disapprove. She does what she can to get her daughter to quit the sport altogether. She even despises the fact that Nobara has cut her hair so short she gets mistaken for a boy. Nobara's aunt doesn't act in a way her mother deems appropriate, so the aunt has been pretty much cut out of the family. Clearly, it's her mother's way or no way.

Things get even worse at school. The girls' volleyball team --- which Nobara wanted to join so badly --- has been disbanded. This happened in part because the team wasn't doing so well…and in part because her own mother used bribery to finish the team off. That's how much she doesn't want Nobara to take part in the game she loves.

Nobara tries to join the boys' volleyball team. Unfortunately, they won't let her join, so there's another dead end there. Things get worse at home and she ends up moving out. She tries to live with her aunt, the school's nurse, and instead gets a job as the dorm mother for the boys' volleyball team. Cooking and cleaning for volleyball players is definitely not what she wants in life. In the meantime, she's putting out flyers and trying to reestablish the girls' volleyball team.

A lot of shojo titles (though clearly not all) center on romantic themes. There's certainly nothing wrong with this, but it's nice to have a change of pace. There are some romantic elements in Crimson Hero (Nobara and a boy at her school clearly like each other), but the main plot is Nobara's gung-ho attitude about making her dreams come true. That's really great to see. She's a spunky, strong-willed character, the type I'd like to see more often in shojo titles. There are times when she gets really down, but she keeps going for her goal. In that sense, it's an inspiration to teens --- and everyone else.

Reviewed by Danica Davidson on October 18, 2011

Crimson Hero, Volume 1
written and illustrated by Mitsuba Takanashi

  • Publication Date: November 29, 2005
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1421501406
  • ISBN-13: 9781421501406