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Gothic Sports, Volume 1

Review

Gothic Sports, Volume 1

Anya knows that if she gets the chance, she'll be great at any sport she decides to conquer. Her entire high school career is focused around sports. Lucrece High has the best sports teams in Germany, and she's going to break into one of them come hell or high water. As a new student blinded by optimism, Anya doesn't quite anticipate school politics, and before she even gets a chance to try out for any team, she alienates one of the toughest jocks in the school, the prickly Marie. Of course, Marie controls the basketball team, so no amount of moxie is going to get Anya on the team, and the soccer team only allows girls on as benchwarmers.

What's a girl to do? If you're Anya, who disguises an iron will with her perky smile, you create a new team for all the misfits. She gathers allies as she brainstorms her idea, and the first Goth-loli soccer team is born. Together they're determined to show up the elitist attitude of the other groups and make a statement about good sportsmanship (and fashion). Determination and good intentions can only get them so far. Can any of them actually play?

This title may fool you into thinking it's Japanese --- it reads from right to left and the art feels right in line with many Japanese artists --- but in fact the author hails from Germany. It took me a good five minutes to decide whether it was actually Japanese or not; I was more curious than I was suspicious about its origins. In the end, the country of origin doesn't matter at all. GOTHIC SPORTS follows in the footsteps of uplifting sports dramas everywhere, but it does so with humor, heart and an inspiring attitude akin to classic sports manga titles like WHISTLE! and PRINCE OF TENNIS and films like Bend it Like Beckham. The art is engaging and the character design is both clear and expressive, making the sports action just as comprehensible as the shifting expressions on each character's face. 

As with any manga title, it's only a beginning to the story, but as a setup for a three-volume series, the resolution is not 20 volumes away. The band of brothers attitude of the misfit soccer team makes the reader root for these underdogs, and while it may not be breaking any new ground, despite the gothic uniforms, this series is charming, engaging and certain to attract those readers who prefer their manga heavy on the attitude and light on the melodrama.

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Reviewed by Robin Brenner on October 18, 2011

Gothic Sports, Volume 1
by Anike Hage

  • Publication Date: May 8, 2007
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1598169920
  • ISBN-13: 9781598169928