Title : Giant Killing
Written by : Masaya Tsunamoto
Illustrated by : Tsujitomo
Year : 2007
Published : Kodansha (Japan) & Elex Media Komputindo (Indonesia)
Giant killing follows the story of small football team located on the eastern part of Tokyo, East Tokyo United (ETU) and people around the club as they’re struggle navigating their way through the competitions in Japan Football.
The story stars as Gotou, CEO of ETU that going to England to search for Tatsumi who is now managing 5th division amateur club, in which, to everyone surprise, manage to get to FA Cup best 32. Gotou, after some negotiation, get what he was coming for, as for Tatsumi, he is going back to Japan.
Tatsumi challenge though, was not an easy one. ETU is in a dire place both in term of football and financial for a long period. This slump also took what Tatsumi’s love most about the town, the “football fever”. Could he bring ETU to better shape and make the town’s passion for football burns again?
Giant killing, while to some extent is another cinderella story, still is a breath of fresh air in the sport genre where the “norm” is a Japanese High School Entering Sport Club-losing in the summer- power up arc à la eyeshield 21’s death march (personally the most memorable one)-winning the winter tournament-the end.
The strongest suit of the manga, in my opinion is the variety of the characters and their own stories. You have the eccentric manager who -as per his words- trying to create a storm in Japanese Football despite the odds, a talented young player trying to overcome his lack of confidence, a veteran player struggling with his role as a captain. Off the pitch, there are side stories of club scout, team CEO, journalist following the club, even supporters of different generation.
Following their stories give me some insight about professional football player and their struggles. While their stories are fiction, it should remind us that at the end of the day they are fellow human being. In this era of social media and meme culture as a fan it is so easy to forget this when the team you support stop winning, when a certain player is underperforming or when the board making unpopular decision. Constructive criticism is another thing but most of the time it is straight up abuse that the so-called fan did, such in England PK lost at EURO 2020.
As of when this piece is written 614 chapters of manga already released, the season is entering its final stage, so how does ETU fare this season? I won’t spoil the fun. The season ends will probably conclude the whole story, yet there are still lots of things to look forward to, or as they said, there is football left to be played. All things considered, if you are either a football fan or a manga fan the chance that you will find reading this enjoyable is very high.
Read : Knowing Me, Knowing You
Writer : Somnus Tinro
Editor : Semirandah
lllustrator : Uli’ Why
Pictures : Tatsumi, Gramedia