Monday, March 30, 2009

Impressions: Ninja Baseball Kyuma

Picture a ninja boy, Kyuma, in his cute ninja outfit practicing his shift and powerful moves. All of a sudden another little boy lurks in the shadows. It is the Captain of the local children’s Moonstar City Club baseball team, Kaoru, who came looking for Kyuma. He asked Kyuma if he would like to join the baseball team. Not only does Kyuma learn about the sport of baseball, but with the leadership of captain Kaoru, Kyuma and Moonstar learns that baseball is more than just a sport and winning is not everything.

According to Udon’s Manga for Kids website, “life lessons include the power of teamwork; losing is not the end of the world, and the importance of always giving your best effort.” At first I was not sure what to expect, but after reading the first volume, that short description is not enough to describe the lessons taught by this book. Even though this is a manga series for children, it teaches everyone, including grown-ups, lessons that we should all keep in mind.

This book does not just teach the reader about teamwork or working in groups, sports and non-sports, it also teaches the reader the work, behavior and effort put in by the individuals of the group. How can a group function if each member is not doing their part? You cannot, right? How can you function if the group members do not get along? You cannot either, huh?

Captain Kaoru is a great team leader. Through out the book, he never gave up on his team and encourages them to believe in themselves. He does not tolerate fights, even if it is a punch, between members, and he protects his team from bullies without using violence. He cares for his team by showing that the safety of his team comes first and that winning a game comes second. He is a leader that is there to keep the group together, making sure the group activities run smooth, making sure everyone is accounted for and no one is hurt. You can tell what kind of leader this boy is just by hearing him say, “I choose to believe in my teammate” with a smile. Even though he is only a boy and a fictional character, he can teach us a lot about being a leader.

Our ninja boy, Kyuma, is the happy smiling kid, who always shows extreme team effort. He does not want to let his team down and always provides his best. Unfortunately, he does not know when to stop when he has reached his limit. Read the book and you will find out. But do not worry, Kyuma learns that winning is not everything and losing is not the worst thing that can happen to one self. He also learned that he should never go over board to please his teammates, because if something happens to him, it not only affects the team at a game, but it will affect the team as a whole. As Kyuma said, “I’ve learned that this battle isn’t the end,” which is a good lesson to learn.

Now I could go on and on about what I have learned from other characters, but I think you should read and find out yourself. This is a book that I think any adult can relate to, especially those who have worked in teams or group projects, and it does not have to be sports related. If you want someone, child or not, to learn a lesson or two about the value of teamwork and what one should and should not do, this is the teaching tool for it. Read and find out yourself. Do not worry grown-ups; the humor that comes into the book is the ninja aspect. I laughed quite a few times and cannot wait for volume 2.
© 2009 Linda Thai

When the series is coming out:
Vol.1(APR 2009) ISBN: 978-1-897376-86-7
Vol.2(SEP 2009) ISBN: 978-1-897376-87-4
Vol.3(FEB 2009) ISBN: 978-1-897376-88-1

Thank you Udon Entertainment and Manga For Kids for their manga, logos and cover image!
Fors more information check out Manga For Kids from Udon Entertainment.

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