Japanese Title: Tetsuwan Girl
Genre: Sports Historical Drama
Length: 9 volumes
- (Not sure)
- Strawman antagonists.
- One-note protagonist.
- The confrontational dialogue is painful.
- The eyes!
I don’t remember how Tetsuwan Girl got onto my manga list. The art doesn’t catch my eye, the premise reeks of strawmen, and nothing about it would make me pause while scrolling down the endless manga database. How did this get here…?
Tetsuwan Girl is about the start of women’s baseball in Japan and its players after WW2. In typical fashion of sports fiction, the team consists of the usual suspects of character types – the tough one, the butch one, the quiet one, etc. However, where good sports fiction will have this trait as the mere surface with depth underneath, Tetsuwan Girl stays at the surface. None of these women strays outside of their one note.
Take the protagonist. The author didn’t allow her to show natural toughness. Instead, her scenes feel like a reality show where the producer tells the “star” to act tough in front of the camera, manufacturing conflict for the dumb audience. They’ll even have some passing stranger pretend that he has a problem with women living to spice it up. I’d be more convinced this was real if Godzilla stomped onto the stadium.
The antagonists are worse. Each is a strawman setup to allow the protagonist to win effortlessly through some horrendous dialogue. The confrontations are so bad that I couldn’t take the struggle seriously. Did people really struggle for women’s baseball after the war? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t believe it after reading this. If it were real, Tetsuwan Girl’s conflict wouldn’t be so fake.
Art – Low
The art looks rough, unfinished, the draft stages of a painting. Every character has this peer-into-your-soul stare. Creepy.
Story – Very Low
A woman joins the first professional women’s baseball team in Japan after WW2. Flat characters, rubbish antagonists, and no direction make Tetsuwan Girl a mind-draining experience.
Recommendation: Avoid it. Tetsuwan Girl feels as fake as Jerry Springer but without the absurdity to make it entertaining.
(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)