No women allowed! Smiling is forbidden.”⁉”Battle Studies” depicts the reality of a powerful school. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

No women allowed! Smiling is forbidden.”⁉”Battle Studies” depicts the reality of a powerful school.

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From the first volume of “Battle Studies,” the main character, Kano Ryotaro, is shouted down by his sophomore classmates. The story depicts the behind-the-scenes of a powerful school.

The World Baseball Classic (WBC) has the Japanese archipelago in a whirlpool of excitement. After a 13-4 win over archrival South Korea, Japan advanced to the first round with a 4-0 victory over Italy on April 16. They will advance to the final round, where they are expected to become the world’s No. 1 team for the first time in 14 years.

The members of the Samurai Japan team have been in the spotlight and have been making the whole of Japan excited, but it is not hard to imagine the extraordinary effort they have put in to get to this point. There is a manga that depicts these players’ days of blood-soaked effort, sometimes realistically, sometimes ridiculously. It is “Battle Studies.

It is a hit baseball manga that has been serialized in the manga magazine “Morning” since 2003 and has sold more than 4 million copies in total. The story takes place at “DL Gakuen,” a strong baseball school in Osaka. The main character, Kotaro Kano, who represented Japan in junior high school, is scouted by DL Academy as a special student and joins the boarding school’s hardball club. However, what awaits him and the other first-year students, who are overflowing with dreams, is an unreasonable hierarchical relationship and treatment, as well as a storm of physical punishment and violence.

Also from the first volume of “Battle Studies. The new students are notified of the “Iron Code,” which is too strong. The story breaks the conventional high school baseball manga mold and devotes more pages to the depiction of their wild daily lives than to their games.

When one hears the words “DL Gakuen,” baseball fans immediately think of “PL Gakuen. The school has produced many famous players, including Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Masumi Kuwata, and Kazuo Matsui, and has won the summer Koshien championship a total of four times. However, in addition to its brilliant achievements, the school is also famous for its strict hierarchy.

This work was inspired by PL Gakuen. The author, Naki Bokuro, is a graduate of PL Gakuen and a former member of the baseball team that participated in the 85th National High School Baseball Championship in 2003. However, after graduating from high school, he quit baseball and entered an art school, where he worked as an illustrator. He says that his transition to becoming a cartoonist was triggered by “a dream I had about myself being a cartoonist.

This work is based on the author’s real-life experiences and is therefore very realistic. For example, the “DL Academy Iron Code” contains a large number of unreasonable rules, such as “first-year students are not allowed to look at women,” “smiling is prohibited,” and “use of the restroom is prohibited except at the left end. There is a parade of other unreasonable rules, but they are strangely realistic because they are based on real experiences. The charm of this work, however, lies in the fact that these overly unreasonable events are not presented in a dark way, but rather as “entertainment” with a light Kansai dialect.

In “Battle Studies,” the reader can relive the harshness and fun of baseball. It is sure to make you root for the players participating in the WBC with even more emotion.

Click here to read the first volume of "Battle Studies

  • Interview and text by Ajidouen

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