"Our family, the Uesugis, and our next-door neighbors, the Asakuras, had three kids born in the same year. This cute kid is Uesugi Tatsuya. that's me. This is my younger brother, Kazuya. We're twins. and this is our neighbor, Minami. We've always been good friends...but one day we noticed that one of us was a girl..."
A baseball/romance/Slice of Life manga
by Mitsuru Adachi
, which follows the lives of twins Tatsuya and Kazuya Uesugi and their neighbor Minami Asakura, as they experience triumph and tragedy both on and off the baseball field.
Tatsuya, the elder twin, is a lazy, perverted kid with no apparent ambitions or goals in his life. Younger twin Kazuya, on the other hand, is mature, intelligent, and a brilliant athlete, from whom everyone expects wonderful things. Their neighbor, Minami, is a bright and spirited girl, whom both brothers have known and loved their whole lives. Everyone believes that Kazuya and Minami would make a perfect couple, and that they're destined for each other - too bad he's not the one she's in love with. And even worse, early in the story Kazuya gets hit by a truck while trying to save a child from being hit... and dies
adaptation, which ran for 101 episodes, set viewership ratings records when it first aired in the 1980s.
- The Ace: Kazuya Uesugi is kind, polite, hard-working, a sports star, makes good grades, and is popular with girls. Akio Nitta is cut from the same mold. Minami Asakura seems to be a female version.
- Adaptation Expansion: As might be expected from turning a 26-volume manga into a 101-episode TV series, three theatrical movies and two TV-movies.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Tatsuya. Oh, so much.
- Be Yourself: Tatsuya eventually learns to step out of his younger twin brother's shadow, and also learns to favor his own unpredictable pitching style, rather than imitating him.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Yuka Nitta.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Tatsuya, at the start.
- Can Not Spit It Out: Yes.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Tatsuya and Minami.
- Cool Big Sis: Sachiko Nishio.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Poor Kazuya. Made worse because he was about to ask Minami out when he got hit by a truck.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Sasaki to Yuka Nitta. He even changes schools and joins the baseball team in spite of a lack of talent just to be around her. By the end of the manga, she's willing to give him the time of day, but not much else.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: On top of everything that's gone wrong in life, Coach Kashiwaba's going blind. But he's not going to let anyone else know it.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Coach Kashiwaba. Due to his bitterness at being unfairly kicked off the Meisei team over 20 years ago, he seeks to break his former sempais' hearts by breaking the current team's spirit.
- Flashback Effects: In the anime, flashbacks to childhood have backgrounds done in the style of a child's crayon drawings.
- Foreshadowing: Adachi uses it like it's going out of style. Particularly very early in the series Minami tells Kazuya that he "won't live long", and draws the ace of spades while using cards to predict the future of Kazuya's try for Koushien. "Hoshi no Silhouette", Kazuya's image song in the anime, also qualifies.
- Friendly Enemy: Akio Nitta.
- Gecko Ending: Just barely, and there's nothing all that different.
- Happily Married: Shingo and Haruko Uesugi.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted in Tatsuya's case. Although he is an amazing natural athlete, even better than Kazuya, years without exercising or practicing mean that when he eventually joins the baseball team he has to train hard to even come close to his brother's standard, let alone surpass him. Played straight, however, with Minami, who goes from not being particularly interested in gymnastics to winning a championship very quickly.
- Heroic RROD: At the end, Tatsuya is heavily implied to have a permanently injured shoulder.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Early on in the story, Kazuya dies saving a kid from being hit by a truck.
- Hidden Eyes
- Image Song
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: All Tatsuya wants is for he, Kazuya and Minami to be happy together, even if it means letting Kazuya have Minami. Even after his tragic death, Kazuya still remains the elephant in the room, as Tatsuya continues to think himself unworthy of Minami.
- Tatsuya still feels guilty about "taking" Minami from his brother, too; probably even moreso because Kazuya is dead and unable to compete with him.
- Jerk Ass: Coach Kashiwaba.
- Killed Off for Real
- Kissing Discretion Shot: In both manga and anime. Dammit.
- Averted in Miss Lonely Yesterday.
- The Lancer: Koutarou Matsudaira, arguably Shohei Harada.
- Lethal Chef: After taking Minami's place as team manager, Yuka Nitta's cooking is like this, due to being too exotic. she eventually tones it down.
- Mistaken Identity: Partway through the manga the baseball team's coach fall ill and hires a replacement. Rather than Eichiro Kashiwaba, a kind man with a deep love for baseball, he accidentally hires Eijiro Kashiwaba. Hilarity Ensues
- Names to Know in Anime: Yuji Mitsuya (Tatsuya), Noriko Hidaka (Minami), Shigeru Chiba (Shingo Uesugi), Kazuhiko Inoue (Akio), Mina Tominaga (Yuka), Ryūsei Nakao (Nishimura), Hideyuki Tanaka (Kashiwaba), Yoku Shioya and Ryo Horikawa (Kashiwaba), Hiromi Tsuru (Sachiko), Kaneto Shiozawa (Kuroki)
- Naughty Bird Watching: In several chapters Tatsuya and his friends spy on the girls with binoculars as they are using the lockers room (a plot point during the early volumes was that Tatsuya had accidentally broke a friend's binoculars as spying and he had to find a mean to pay for them).
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Tatsuya doesn't even want to bother trying to compete with his brother in any respect, so he hides his own considerable talents under a bushel and gives the impression that he has no ambition in life.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We never actually see the Koshien match in the manga or the anime, and only Tatsuya's trophy in the manga.
- Panty Shot: Another common Adachi trope.
- Pet the Dog: Kashiwaba never even touches the poor thing on-panel, but still... when he's hospitalized he asks the baseball team to take care of the dog.
- Power Copying: Takeshi Yoshida is able to learn how to imitate a person's pitches perfectly just by watching them. Unfortunately, he lacks in physical and mental endurance.
- Put on a Bus: Yoshida is sent to South America just before dueling Tatsuya for the title of ace pitcher.
- Really Dead Montage
- The Rival: Akio Nitta to Kazuya Uesugi and later Tatsuya Uesugi., Isumi Nishimura to Nitta (One-sided), Takeshi Yoshida to Tatsuya Uesugi, also one-sided.
- Romantic False Lead: Yuka Nitta would like to be this, but Tatsuya ain't biting.
- Samus is a Girl: The dog Punch is revealed to be female about one-third of the series in.
- Scary Asian Man: Shohei Harada. He's actually an uncommonly perceptive and wise Gentle Giant however.
- Secret Diary: In an early chapter, Tatsuya found Minami's diary. Later Minami accused him of reading her diary. Tatsuya swore that he did not, and it is left ambiguous whether he did or did not. The next day Minami confessed to Tatsuya what it was true what was written on her diary and she is in love with him... Tatsuya got so flustered that she realized that he had NOT read it, so she backpedaled and claimed that she had only written bad things about him.
- Shipper on Deck: The twins' parents and Minami's dad really want Kazuya to marry Minami...
- Harada occasionally comes across as this for Tatsuya and Minami.
- Sibling Triangle
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Deliberate on Tatsuya's part.
- The Spartan Way: Coach Kashiwaba's training methods are cruel and even outright criminal. But they work, whether he likes it or not.
- Speech-Impaired Animal: "Punch" the dog, though technically the closest thing she does to speech is snickering.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Fan-translators can't seem to decide whether it's Kazuya or Katsuya.
- How this became an issue with the manga, at least, is unknown; the furigana given for the kanji of his name is かずや—Kazuya.
- Triang Relations: Type 9. Both Tatsuya and Kazuya are in love with Minami, who loves both of them in return. She's in love with Tatsuya, however.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Yoshida goes from nice fanboy to arrogant, victory-obsessed prick.
- Twin Switch: Tatsuya often pretends to be Kazuya for laughs. And pulls this once after Kazuya dies.
- The Unfavourite: Tatsuya
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Tatsuya and Minami's relationship starts out this way. She treats him somewhat harshly because she knows he's being lazy and immature on purpose. As he grows more mature and confident, this fades.
- Wham Episode: Guess.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Takeshi Yoshida starts this way...but quickly becomes The Resenter.
- Younger Than They Look: Harada is a teenager, believe it or not.