Two soccer players who played as rivals throughout their three years of middle school join the same high-school to play as teammates in this new sports manga from the creator of Your Lie in April.
Sumire Suo, the star of her middle-school’s soccer team, has lost once again to frequent rival Midori Soshizaki. The two girls go to rival schools and have matched up repeatedly, resulting in Sumire being continually beaten by Midori despite Sumire’s skill. Recognizing that Sumire’s potential is held back by her teammates, Midori asks her to go to the same school as her so they can play on the same team. Together, the two set out to play their hardest and make Warabi High’s soccer team.
How Was It?
Coming off writing Your Lie in April, Naoshi Arakawa returns to writing sports manga. Just like his 2009 series Sayonara Football, Farewell, My Dear Cramer follows girls soccer, this time following the charming story of new high-schoolers Midori and Sumire as they join their school’s competitive soccer team. It isn’t especially clear what type of story this is going to be, but that’s just fine in the early going because what we do get is a satisfying beginning that sets up the goals of our heroes appropriately. It’s more subtle than the usual explosiveness seen in many sports manga series, but I enjoyed the little ways by which Arakawa highlighted the emotions in play for each of the characters. Several of the scenes early on between Sumire and Midori were quite heartwarming, and I liked that they emphasized the emotional threads at play here nicely.
Arakawa’s artwork has definitely improved over his time drawing Your Lie in April, and I was impressed by his work in this chapter. The character faces are well defined (if a little bit familiar to those who have read Your Lie in April), but more importantly they were consistently drawn and had much less of the flatness that rears its head at times in that series. However, Arakawa’s strong suit continues to be his paneling, and I enjoyed the way he would create a more cinematic feel for the story by varying the distance and angle of the scene to complement the proceedings. Additionally, the soccer scenes were really well drawn, and I really liked the way that Arakawa conveyed the games’ speed using his line work. Although this digital release had a few hiccups in some of the full-page spreads not lining up properly in the middle of the page, this wasn’t too distracting a problem and didn’t keep me from enjoying it.
This chapter has a couple of really nice story moments such as when the relatively standoffish Sumire reaches a sort of understanding with the other characters, and I enjoyed the coming-of-age vibes that I got from this chapter as the two girls head into their tryouts. Although I would have liked to have seen Sumire speak a little more in this chapter to provide some additional characterization, I thought that Midori more than made up with her spunk. I wasn’t super sure by the end of the chapter who the main character of this series is supposed to be because of the shared focus between Sumire, Midori, and another skilled first-year soccer player, but I liked that this chapter really got across the shared ambition and determination of these girls as they played. Even though I’m not sure what direction this story is headed in as we finish the first chapter, I enjoyed this as a more subtle sports manga, and looking forward to being along for the ride.
Farewell, My Dear Cramer is authored by Naoshi Arakawa and is currently ongoing in Kodansha’s Monthly Shonen Magazine. Kodansha Comics USA is currently simulpublishing the series digitally, and chapter 2 is due to be released on June 5th, 2016.
You can read Farewell, My Dear Cramer legally below on Kindle, or on Comixology! (And at $2 a chapter, that’s cheaper than a print volume!)
(We’ll give a grade when there is the equivalent of one volume out, but I liked this chapter!)
Date of Publication: May 5th, 2016
Author: Naoshi Arakawa
Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA