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by Riccardo Panichi and Martina Galea
translation by Antonio Gualardia

Who created Rough? 1995: Orange road by Izumi Matsumoto (with its appendix Sesame street) has just finished and Star Comics is about to launch on the Italian market the mangas by Mitsuru Adachi, an author who is already a myth in his native country. Rough, published in Japan since 1987, maybe one of his most successful works, is the title chosen in order to break the ice with the anomalous Italian public, who however appears almost detached in hailing and welcoming in the Italian comics panorama such a poetic and sensitive writer. Rough hardly met the public's agreement and it ended by being issued on another paper; then it has reached an end far from troublelessness and wastelessness (it is said that the series have been published at a loss for a long time) It's the beginning of long troubles for Adachi, forgotten until 1999, when Kappa Boys bravely decided to feel the pulse of Italian public again, by proposing Touch, another successful series. This time it was a great success and this let Adachi enter into the narrow circle of cult, as well as, trendy writers. In fact Rough is one of the back issues most frequently requested to Star Comics; and many other works, written by who is by now considered a master in teenage comedies.

What is Rough? The story deals with the relationship between the swimmer Keisuke Yamato and the diver Ami Ninomiya, two promising players in Japanese sport. Their relationship begins from a mutual hatred which changes day by day, year after year, in a imperceptible way if observed on a short time, but in a substantial way if analyzed for a longer. The episodic narration of Adachi reconstructs perfectly the large degrees which separate hatred from friendship and friendship from love. Little misunderstandings, gazes, half sentences mark the three long years' episodes whose rhythm is timed by the coming of seasons and competitions.

Who are the characters? Adachi mainly focuses on feelings and circumstances which involve Ami and Keisuke, being able, however, to create many other minor well-defined characters in the meanwhile. Hiroki Nakanishi plays the gooseberry role, Keisuke's opponent both in sport and in love, as well as Ami's childhood friend and fiancée. Other two friends/enemies of the couple are: Yuji Serizawa, expert swimmer, and Kaori Koyanagi, a national level diver. The girl, at first unfair towards Keisuke, falls in love with Yamato at the end, and this makes Serizawa, her boyfriend, still more unfair towards Keisuke. But Adachi shows his ability in describing minor characters through Ami and Keisuke's friends: Kyotaro Kitano, Kazuaki Seki, Takeshi Ogata and Masaru Kume have, as the story develops, a "Fame" moment which lets the reader know them more. Then the Manga has many other curious second lead characters: from more detailed ones as Ami's and Keisuke's fathers, to comic ones as Narita or the boys' mums.

What is the story's locale? Rough is a typical teenage comedy and, as such, it's set for the most part, in a scholastic scene. The spaces in which the events take place are: the boys' dormitories, as well as the long corridors at Eisen Institute, and the numerous sport clubs. Sometimes the action shifts to holiday resorts, on the contrary we hardly ever find in a domestic set. However, in every occasion, a sort of simplicity and familiarity of the places prevails, which fully reflects the lack of complexity in characters.


Mitsuru Adachi
in 1987

Mitsuru Adachi

Mitsuru Adachi
from n.1

Mitsuru Adachi
Copyright (c) 1987
all right reserved worldwide


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