Libraries are dangerous places.
My family and I went in thinking we’d just pick up a couple of books…. we left with four grocery bags full.
This time, the thing that caught my eye was on the ‘new releases’ shelf in the teen room. An odd little manga called Again!!
Apparently, in Japan, there are different types of cheering squads. You have your regular cheerleaders with the pom-poms, and then you have ōendan. Our hero, delinquent-appearing, Imamura Kinichirou’s only fond memory of all three years of high school is of watching the ōenden at opening ceremonies. It was just this one girl, but something about the experience really moved him.
Otherwise? High school was a waste of space for Imamura. He made no friends, joined no clubs, and pretty much spent all three years alone, miserable, and bored.
Now here it is, graduation day and it’s all going to finally be over.
Except, when he goes to try to peek in to the ōendan club room one last time, Aki, a girl from his class thinks he’s up to mischief.
But can you blame her? This is what he looks like:
When Aki sees him, she’s pretty sure he’s going to kill her. So, she freaks out, runs away, and falls down the stairs. Imamaru runs after her, tripping and falling down on top of her. They both pass out… die???… and end up three years in the past, on the first day of opening ceremonies of high school.
This is Imamaru’s chance to do it all again.
This time he’s determined to do it right. Or at the very least, save the ōenden team.
I ripped through these first three volumes and deeply regretted not picking up the other three that the library also had. I may have to go back to the library tomorrow.
It’s difficult to say what appealed to me about this story. I do love any kind of manga that teaches me about some esoteric custom of Japanese life, and this one is full of all sorts of odd bits, not the least, of course, is the whole cheering squad culture, which I’d seen in the background of manga like Haikyu!!
But, I also really like Imamura for some reason. He’s grouchy, maladjusted, and prone to shout out awkward things at the wrong time. Not your typical shounen sports hero. Yet… there’s something undeniably shounen about the way that he cares about the cheering squad and school spirit.
I guess I always love the stories where someone is enticed into giving a f*ck, you know?
Again!! is definitely about giving not just a singular f*ck, but giving ALL your f*cks.
So, yeah, I recommend it. There is, if you prefer, a live-action television drama.