Title: Ninja Baseball Kyuma! Vol 1
Author: Shunshin Maeda
Publisher: Udon Kids
May Contain Spoilers
Kyuma and his dog Inui live in the mountains, where Kyuma trains every day to become a great ninja. But when Kyuma mistakes a baseball coach for his training master, the local baseball team ends up with its first ninja player! Can a ninja step up to the plate and learn how to play ball? Find out in Ninja Baseball Kyuma!
I waited for such a long time to get my hands on this book! There is only one copy in the library network, and I requested a hold on it all the way back in January! My patience was finally rewarded! Was it worth the wait? Well, yes and no. Here’s why:
The illustrations are so cute! I love Kyuma and his faithful ninja mutt in training, Inui. All of the characters are energetic and there is no mistaking the full range of emotions that the team experiences as they train for the nationals. These little guys are intense! They love baseball as passionately as I love manga! They want to win! But there are limits to that drive to be victorious. When Kyuma is injured, the team captain stops him from hurting himself more, even though it costs them a game. This was a great message, and so was the reaction from a rival, after his team wins because Kyuma is hurt.
The book emphasizes teamwork and putting aside personal differences to achieve a greater goal. I liked that, too. Despite some friction, everyone is willing to work together and encourage each other to do their best to win. But here’s my dissatisfaction with the first volume; there are too many characters to really get a handle on any of them, other than Kyuma and Kaoru, the team captain. The end of the book felt especially cluttered with kids who didn’t really do much except take up space in Kyuma’s house and add to the balloon pollution invading the panels.
Overall, Ninja Baseball Kyuma! is a fun, breezy read. Kyuma is completely clueless when it comes to baseball, and all he really understands is training to become a ninja. When he applies the same dedication to the playing field, hilarity ensues. There’s lots of action and even more speed lines as Kyuma struggles to protect his Lord Kaoru while learning to belt a home run.
This book was checked out of my local library. Support your local library!