The Touch and Catch Brothers: Touch Manga Review

Having any series that takes place in “the present” is always interesting to go back to and see how well it’s aged. It’s especially interesting with manga, not just because I’ve become accustomed to such mainly being in the realm of fantasy, but because I get the 1-2 combo of seeing a former culture both time-wise and region-wise. So when I started Mitsuru Adachi’s Touch, I was anxious to see the amount of pure unadulterated Japanese ‘80s culture it gave off.

Touch11

Published from 1981-1986, Touch tells the story of twin brothers Tatsuya and Kazuya, along with their neighbor/love interest Minami. Since childhood, Minami has pushed Kazuya to train hard and eventually be skilled enough at baseball to be able to reach Koushien Stadium—venue for the annual baseball tournament between high schools around the country. But while the series does focus on baseball and can almost be a slog to read for non-sports-fans during those points, the series is really about coming of age and growing into your own person. With Kazuya and Minami being such main character material, Tatsuya is left at odds as to what he should be doing with his own life, which slowly becomes the main focus of the series.

What really makes the series for me, though, is how firmly set it is in the real world of the time of its publishing. We’re not dealing with Dragon Ball levels of fantasy, or a Kids on the Slope type of period piece. Rather, it’s an ‘80s story that was written and published in the ‘80s. As such, we’re given an unfiltered non-rose-colored look at the Japanese lifestyle of the time. To have Tatsuya’s typical day after school consist of drinking iced coffee followed by a bath before bed with absolutely no technology to speak of besides maybe a radio, record player, or CRT television is fascinating, to say the least. Additional aspects, like female characters’ noticeable and accepted subservience in the household, while still being able to act independently and even snippy at times shows just how far gender roles have come since the series’ publishing. They’re the kind of small details that make the world more interesting rather than distracting from the plot. And even in the case where something so “of that era” is presented…

dmncap01…it’s done to such a degree that I can’t help but love it.

I won’t give away anything more, since going into the series knowing as little about it as possible proves to be a great benefit, but I will say that it deserves every amount of praise it gets, even with its occasional story hiccups.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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