Daydream Sanctuary Features

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Flavors: Takkoku!!!

by Fukuchi Tsubasa
Tamano Kako and Marunouchi Gaku were the best of friends, but Gaku had to leave with his father to travel the world. However, Gaku promised that if Kako waited, he would come back in 10 years and they would go out. However, right after Gaku left the law of Takkoku was created: If you confess your love to someone, you must beat them at a game of ping pong; if you touch each other before the game, that person will be punished. If you win, regardless of the other person's feelings, you automatically go out. However, Kako is called the best ping pong player in Japan and Gaku has never played ping pong before AND he wants to be the one that confesses. How will these two people's love flourish under these conditions? Will Gaku ever be able beat Kako at ping pong? (Baka-Updates)

It's a new manga from the mangaka who also did Law of Ueki, which is a series I haven't really seen nor read much but I remember liking it. It's a kinda popular anime and manga anyway, so I thought the other works of the mangaka couldn't be bad. Another thing that made me check out this manga is because it's the first time I see a sports series that deals with ping pong! Being one of a kind is enough to make me really curious about it.

Now that I've read it, I actually find the plot pretty stupid and it's got the shounen miracles and cliches (to be specific, it has the "leading guy with no experience in the sport gets to win even if his opponents are experts" and the "leading guy wins by the last minute by the exact same way/style/miracle as the previous battle" crap).

However, I actually find it enjoyable. Many of the jokes are overused though, but it's cute. What I like best in this series is the romance, because it's canon from the very beginning. No more wait for gazillions of chapters just to have the main couple confess to each other already even if they're already so obvious from the very beginning. Shounen series usually does that.

Though the main couple are aware of their feelings of each other and are going out, there's the twist that they can't really date normally. It's because of the ridiculous law made by the prime minister wherein all young people who had confessed their love should battle to the one they have confessed to through ping pong. If the confessor wins, he/she will be officially paired to the one he/she has confessed to. But if not, they can't even touch the other. Apparently, after 10 years of traveling, the leading guy returns and confesses to the leading girl, not knowing about the new law. But the leading girl had become a champion during his absence because of her determination to not be taken by anyone else because she only wants to be his. So when they tried to battle, the guy easily loses. The girl couldn't control her champion instincts.

I find that as a stupid excuse to make this manga longer. Seriously, their problem could already be resolved if the girl will JUST NOT MOVE so that the guy can win and they can live happily ever after already! Can't the mangaka tell more stories for this series if they finally got together? It's not fun if it ended that easily though. But the mangaka should've made their problem more challenging. And what I meant by challenging, as in actually challenging! Not challenging that can actually be resolved easily but they're making things difficult, like what this series is already doing. *facepalm*

Also, I find it weird that for a sports manga, it seems that the mangaka doesn't know much knowledge about ping pong at all. Why I'm saying that is because we don't get any ping pong trivia. We aren't taught of most of the rules, the real techniques, the set-ups, the moves, etc. Sports manga is supposed to be educational regarding the sport it is featuring, but this manga isn't doing such at all!

Though. . . it had actually been educational . . . but in a different sense. The leading guy gets to share different trivia/techniques/ideologies/etc. that he learned from other countries. Some of them are pretty absurd though that I'm not quite sure if they're factual (like the sniffing-for-a-lost-item thing he did that he claims he learned from a country he visited) but they have been fun and interesting.

By the way, the leading guy also got engaged in battles aside from with the leading girl. And if it's a battle wherein he'll end up with someone else or will have to break up with the leading girl, he will have continuous loses in the beginning then win starting at the last round. And his winnings also have something to do with what he learned from his travels, not exactly out of experience (of course). So yeah, he wins by using the knowledge he learns from other stuff but . . . geez . . . it already uses the shounen battle miracles but does it always have to be the same formula as well? I don't think this is exactly a gag manga, so I'm not sure if it's something excusable.

As for the characters, I don't find them that interesting (as in interesting enough that I would be having favorites); however, surprisingly, even though the story/plot is stereotypical, the characters aren't. They seem to be stereotypes because of the roles they play, but if you observe their overall traits, I think it's not that common or at least similar to characters from gazillions of stereotypical manga out there. Take the leading girl for example. She seems to be the cute but incredibly strong type, but she's only strong in one area. She is cute but she's not exactly moe. She's lively but not the usual clumsy type that blushes when she sees pretty people. . . . I'm sorry if I can't explain my point very well. Ehehe~ But what I'm basically trying to say is, the characters in this series are pretty unique. If I compare the characterization from this series from the one I talked about in the previous entry *referring to her first impressions on Fly High*, this one is hell better! Gazillion times better!

Overall, this series has flaws, mostly on the story parts because of its cliches and stupid happenings. But despite of those flaws, it had still been very enjoyable. I guess I'll still be following this series but not putting it in priority. I admit that there's a possibility that I might drop it if it's becoming too repetitive though. But so far it's doing okay. Hehe~

This sports manga had been really unique, and I'm impressed. I think others who read sports manga that don't mind a stupid story should give this a try. Hehe~

Sapphire Pyro
READ: 6 chapters (out of 6 scanlated chapters released so far of a new ongoing manga)
VERDICT: Following for now but Non-priority
First pingpong sports manga I've heard of! I'm in! Haha!
The story was pretty stupid, imho, but it had been an ejoyable read! ^_^


Double H said...

Too bad I`m not into sports manga `cept for Eyeshield 21. XD But overall, nice review as always!! ;)

Sapphire Pyro said...


Ah, Eyeshield 21 . . . haven't been updated to that x_x but I like that one too =D

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