Play ball!

In the spring, a young man's fancy turns to baseball, and manga is here to help. There are two baseball series debuting this month, and one is free to read on the internet: Cross Game, a "poignant coming-of-age story," according to the Shonen Sunday website, about a young man who wants to play baseball and the family of four sisters who live down the road (because, after all, this is still manga). The first chapter is up on the website now, and Viz is also streaming the first five episodes of the anime at their anime site.

If that whets your appetite, check out Diamond Girl, a new series from DC's manga arm, CMX. It's about a girl with an unusual talent for baseball that is matched only by her hatred for the game. The humor is broad and slapstick, but the art is very stylized, so readers who don't care for manga might want to sit this one out. (Alas, we have just received word that CMX is shutting down, so this series probably won't be completed. It's a fun read anyway, though.)

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