Shuukyuu Shoujo (Football Girl)

footballgirl

Yuuki was one of the star players of his football team in junior high school, who wanted to continue playing football in high school, aiming to be the best and win tournaments. Hence, he joins a school with a pretty well-regarded football team. However, upon arriving he discovers that the football team no longer exists, with the only members being two kind of pervy girls that seem to have driven out the old team members and taken over somehow. The intentions of the lead perpetrator behind this, a third year named Fujisaki Rin, aren’t to create a girls team, but instead to create a team where boys and girls play side by side. Due to various circumstances, she has a boy she has to defeat, someone from her past named Ootori, and she has to defeat him on her own terms. And to that end, she eventually puts together a team in order to do so. The team is mostly amateur girls, and going up against teams of experienced guys, so the odds are stacked against them. But Rin is determined, and though her crazy personality may also result in lots of crazy and perverted hijinks, in the end Yuuki gets to play the football he’d hoped for all along.

***

This manga is unique in that it’s an interesting blend of a serious sports manga and fanservice gag manga. It starts out as pretty much a complete fanservice gag manga, but as it goes on the plot takes more and more of a focus. It starts off with continuing the fanservice aspect but beginning to develop a plot. But as it goes on, the plot takes more and more of a focus and becomes the core of the manga. The fanservice doesn’t disappear however, in that it takes place in between the plot, meaning there’ll be a long portion that’ll be dedicated to moving the plot forward that’ll have no fanservice at all, and then there’ll be a very evident break dedicated to solely fan service, and then it’ll move back into more plot without fanservice. There are a few exceptions to this, but they stand out due to how rare they are. It’s a very strange dynamic, but to be honest I thought it worked really well. As for the plot itself, it was a pretty decent sports manga. I don’t have a lot of experience with sports manga or soccer, with Whistle being my only frame of reference, so this is from the point of view to someone new to the genre, but from that perspective I think it was solid. There was a solid build up to things with random twists and ultimately it feeling pretty awesome when things work out. Beyond that it was character focused, and in that it was somewhat of a mixed bag. The character motivations for Rin were developed well and her character arc was great, with her story and not Yuuki’s ultimately being the center of the plot. Yuuki’s motivations and story sort of got dropped and at the end barely acknowledged basically just to say they don’t really matter, which is fine I suppose as he ended up growing well in a completely different direction, but it felt kind of messy. Another major complaint I have though, is that I felt that it was building up a relationship between the two of them, but in the end it didn’t manifest which I found really disappointing. As the for the rest of the team, almost all of them got some development, though none of them got that much, so they very much felt like side characters. Still, it never really felt necessary to have side stories like that for pacing purposes, so what they got felt fine. Though I should note that despite it being 10 volumes long it goes through as much plot as a 5 volume series due to how a lot of time ends up getting spent on fanservice, which I think actually helped with pacing purposes, but meant that there was a lot less plot than one would expect. The art was pretty rough, so while it looked decent enough on occasion, most of the time it was lacking.

A strange combination of sports manga and gag fanservice manga that works surprisingly well. 

8/10 

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