|Cover of the magazine where the first chapter was printed|
|Original run||2011-02 ~ 2011-12, 2013-04 ~ 2013-11|
|Magazine||Weekly Manga Goraku|
Pride or Hokori (誇り-プライド-, alternatively PRIDE instead of the katakana or simply PRIDE altogether) is a seinen drama manga series written and illustrated by Yoichi Takahashi in which the sport of football is featured. Of all comic series of Takahashi, Pride is thematically the most mature and complex, with a deeper narrative than previous works.
The comic series was first irregularly serialized from issue #2252 to #2293 of the magazine Weekly Manga Goraku, a publication focused on a mature public that is affectionately called a middle-aged Jump, published by Nihon Bungeisha in the period of February to December 2011. After almost a year and a half on hiatus, the series returned from issues #2362 to #2389 of the same magazine in the period of April to November 2013.
With a total of 33 chapters (including the 7-page long prologue), the series was compiled in four tankobon volumes and is also available in ebook format in several popular digital services such as iBooks and Amazon Kindle among many others. These volumes are also currently being published in Italy by the Italian publisher Goen.
The stories focus on the struggles of footballers who were former stars in the J. League Division 1 (J1) and now play in the J. League Division 2 (J2) in new harsher conditions, keeping their pride to keep on playing football despite setbacks in their lives. All clubs and footballers mentioned in the story are fictional, but are based on real life counterparts.
Besides taking place in the J2 instead of the J1, Pride gained extra-notoriety in the Japanese football community for a full homage chapter dedicated to Japanese footballer Naoki Matsuda, who perished on 4 August 2011. It is also infamous among Japanese otaku for being the first series of Takahashi, known for romantic comedies and light romance dramas, that deals with a netorare scene in an important point of the plot of the fourth story arc.
The plot is divided in four arcs:
- Pride 1: "The defender of the number 9" (番号9のディフェンダー) - Yoshida is a former talented Olympic representative who played as a forward (FW). After being injured for two years, he is discharged from his club Albino Niigata (アルビーノ新潟) of the J1 and is transferred to the Hakodate Troopers (函館トゥルーパーズ), where he is unable to score so he will now have to play as a defender (DF).
- Pride 2: "Shinichiro Kamitsuka's melancholy" (神塚伸一郎の憂鬱前半戦) - The manager of the Hakodate Troopers is the protagonist of this arc.
- Pride 3: "Pride does not stop" (やめない誇り) - Naoki Matsuba appears in the stadium to retire from the team after 16 years. Arc of a single chapter dedicated to the memory of Naoki Matsuda. Several characters who are pastiches of real life players appear in this chapter.
- Pride 4: "From then a couple: Same thoughts, different places" (あれから二人 -同じ想い 違う場所-) - The longest arc which is covered in the last three compiled volumes. The story narrates the daily life of Kono, a famous forward of the J1, who gets gravely injured and tries to return to the playing field with a team of the J2. This arc is subdivided in:
- Prologue (プロローグ)
- Part 1: Hiro & Saori (ヒロとサオリ)
- Part 2: Hiro, Midori & Nobu (ヒロとミドリとノブ)
- Part 3: Hiro & Kaori (ヒロとカオリ)
- Japan national team member who is playing his last season and shows Yoshida the ropes as a DF.
- Takashi Sekizuka, manager of the Japan U-23 football team at the time of the serialization.
- Japan Football League (JFL) to play for the Matsumoto Miyabi (松本雅) in his final professional years. The real Naoki Matsuda played with Yokohama Marinos in the J1 and, for a few months before dying, with the Matsumoto Yamaga in the JFL, a league which is below the J2.
- Nicknamed "Mr. Hat-trick", during a match he gets injured so severely that his J1 club, the Urawa Red Dragons (浦和レッドドラゴンス), considering also his age, decides not to renovate his contract. While thinking about retirement, the team Oita Phoenix (大分フェニックス, ouita phoenix) of the J2 offers him a spot at a lower salary, but with full medical care to recover from his injury.
- Oita to be treated for most of her short life. She knew Kono and one of her few pleasures was taking photographies of him. She died at 14 years old.
In an interview, Takahashi mentioned that he chose pride as the topic of the series because in Japanese football many players, such as Kazuyoshi Miura, keep on playing even after their peak has passed, with the only motivation being their pride which doesn't get extinguished. He also commented that he decided to change the protagonist of the story between arcs inspired by baseball manga Yakyukyo no Uta of Shinji Mizushima which was a favourite of Takahashi as a child.
Chapters and serializationEdit
To promote the comic, YouTube channel Mangapolo produced a few videos of an interview between Yoichi Takahashi and retired Japanese footballer Masashi Nakayama, who from 2010 to 2012 played with football club Consadole Sapporo when it was in J2 and helped it ascend to J1, similar to the frame of the story of Pride.
- ↑ "「漫画家としての誇りは●●」『キャプ翼』高橋陽一が新作発売記念サイン会を開催" ["Pride as a cartoonist..." Captain Tsubasa's Yoichi Takahashi holds a commemorative autograph session for a new work release.] (in Japanese). Daily Cyzo. cyzo. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2014-11-17.