Tokonatsu Taichi took the summer Koshien by the storm as a sensational ace pitcher, with a full arsenal of pitches including a 98 mph fastball. But on the way home from the game, the team bus suffered a tragic accident and Tokonatsu Taichi lost his life... Only to be transported to a new world where all international conflicts are resolved by a game of baseball. Unfortunately, the country he landed in was the weakest, and had seen gradual loss of its resources and people to neighboring countries. Can Taichi turn their fortunes around?
My primary enjoyment of this baseball isekai (and I do find it more enjoyable than not) has come from the portrayals of how one can use strategies and keen insight to adapt to opposing playstyles, exploiting any weak points. I've also appreciated the superhuman capabilities and am interested to see how far that aspect will be taken (so far, it hasn't come across as all that extreme). In other words, I like the baseball games themselves for the most part. Though I should mention that the game against Wolfsmund wasn't all that great, 'cause Taichi just dominated so thoroughly. The game against WST has been far more challenging, and thus more interesting, and I'm sure that games going forward will also tend to be on the more challenging side of things. I'm not sure how I feel about the way Taichi is able to dominate so much largely because of fe is portrayed as having superior baseball know-how than feir opponents. I think ideally, I would've liked to see Taichi bringing Earth-style baseball to a world wherein there were just vastly different strategies and physical techinques which hadn't ever developed on Earth. Perhaps even slightly different rules ('cause it's not as though baseball has always had the same rules even on Earth). That way, Taichi would've still had something to bring to the table, but fe still would've had a whole new world of baseball stuff to learn from and adapt into feir knowledge. As is, it just feels like lazy worldbuilding, like the author didn't want to put in the effort into thinking about alternate developments that could've occurred in baseball and so just fell back on the idea that all alternate realities would eventually reach the same exact techniques and stuff as Earth. The ecchi elements are also a red mark against the manga, at least for me personally. I think the author threw in the fan service and sexualized imagery as a cheap way to make up for the lack of good characters. I don't think any of the characters are all that compelling. The story is able to remain interesting despite that largely because of the engaging baseball games. There's some stock righteousness and good-versus-evil ideas that create enough of a narrative intensity that it remains engaging. And then any empty space is filled with cute outfits and butt shots and tentacle porn and stupid manga tropes and blushing and stuff. It's weak. Honestly, if this manga had good characters (and thus didn't have the need for the ecchi filler), then it might've had a shot at becoming a classic. As is, it'll probably be a decently fun read while it lasts--but once it's over, I doubt I'll give it much thought ever again. [Reviewed at chapter 17]