A little while ago I managed a few minutes in that magical land of used Japanese manga, Book-Off, and managed to find the entire run of the Battle Athletes Daiundokai manga, which is very, very, VERY out of print. (I occasionally get requests on how to find the manga – read the line before this one about where I got my copy. That’s basically all the advice I can offer you on finding it.) I immediately went home and read them with great interest – now I want to tell you all about it. ^_^
More people are probably familiar with the OVA and the television series, distributed under the titles Battle Athletes and Battle Athletes Victory, than the manga. The television series is based on the manga more closely than the OVA, so it’s basically the same story as the manga, with Ichino given a stronger role to play, both in the story as a whole and in Akari’s life. The manga is more about Kris and Akari and less about the back stories for all the other characters…. But there are few things that *all* of these have in common
Mylandah is psychotic in every series. I like that. I find psychosis to be an extremely attractive quality in a strong female character – the fewer morals, the more I like them. In the manga, like the anime, her psychosis stems from a once-healthy obsession turned ugly – her feelings *for* Lahrri changed into competition *with* Lahrri. In the TV series, they end up acting like a married couple, to the confusion and consternation of the other girls – their conversations approach near-silent communication. It’s a cute, subtle touch, in what is otherwise a really dumb story arc. In the manga, just as in the TV series, Mylandah is forced to realize that what she really feels about Lahrri is *not* hate, but love. In the Epilogue of the manga, we see them cuddling in a thatched roof hut on a beach somewhere, completely alone. So that ends that story – and it’s a really sweet picture. :-)
Anna’s story is also in the manga – in fact, it is the same story as both the OVA and the television series, which makes Anna a much more bizarre character than either of the two animated versions. Jessie, Ayla, and the others all exist in the manga, but their stories are reduced to mere traces, which didn’t make me cry, really. What the manga really focuses on is Kris and Akari.
The relationship between Kris and Akari, in almost every version is made explicit, but I like the manga best. Sure, they kiss in the anime, and sure, even naive little Anna can see what’s between them, and sure, Kris comments to Ichino that they are rivals for Akari (even if Ichino is in denial). But, in the manga, the entire end of the Cosmo Beauty competition is between the two of them and the final race is Chris versus Akari. A personal conflict comes between them and threatens their friendship on the eve of the final race. It’s very tense, emotional and well done.
Ultimately they do race and, after the race is over, in front of all the spectators and, presumably, the entire world watching on TV, they kiss. I mean they *kiss*. It’s pretty fabulous. :-) I wish there were more anime and manga with such kisses.
The manga has so many of the good things about the anime and almost none of the really bad things – no cow, no aliens, no resurrected Tomoe Midori, none of that. The Principal of University Satellite is still a pervert, but that seems to be about as bad as it gets. The manga also loses Akari’s crybaby tendencies, and her inability to learn from her experiences…a very good thing, IMHO. And the Yuri is 100% real, no substitutes accepted. So, honestly, if you like the anime, then it’s really worth it to get the manga for the *real* story…and that kiss. ;-)
Yuri – Anime (7) Manga – (9)
Art – 6, it’s nothing special in either manga or anime.
Characters – Manga (8) Anime (6)
Story – 7
Overall -Manga (8) Anime (7)