Cover Image: Medalist 1

Medalist 1

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Passion For the Sport – Medalist Vol. 1 [Manga]

	Publisher: Kodansha
	Genres: Drama, Sports, Seinen
	Published: May 2021

Everybody has a dream. It’s just that not all dreams are realized, especially if the dream is a highly competitive one. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all over. There are times when the dreams are passed on to another person. This often happens in the sports setting where most coaches who failed to reach their old goals, let’s say nationals or olympics, do their best to help their athletes reach that. It’s an added bonus if the techniques or skills they teach are those they once planned to use to achieve their dreams.

Contains Spoilers

Discussion Time

Tsukasa was a promising figure skater who could have reached great heights if it wasn't due to financial constraints. Before he can truly shine, he falls short before making a name for himself. Although he and his partner did great, spectators believed that he simply basked in his partner’s glory. As he steps on the rink again as a coach, he meets young Inori. He sees burning passion in her eyes and wants to be her guiding light to her path towards the Olympics. The problem, however, is that Inori will start a bit too late compared to her peers. They’re short on time, and they will have to put a lot more extra effort if they want to truly shine.

Why You Should Read Medalist Vol. 1

1.	Relatable Characters

Tsukasa, even though being really talented, fails to realize his dream. This is something most may be able to relate to. There can be something we’re really good at, but the competition is just too tough that we can’t shine amongst the crowd of geniuses. To some, that’s just what reality is. Disappointing as it may sound, it’s something that’s close to home. However, the same is true towards Inori’s passion. Despite knowing that there will be countless hurdles along the way, there are also people who don’t back down from the challenge. Whether it’s Tsukasa or Inori, both characters are very human and easy to empathize with.

2.	Not-so-Smooth Sailing Journey

Those who actually tried to pursue sports or art as a career know that there are countless walls hindering their path. The sad reality is that it often starts even before they start making a name for themselves. Family and society often discourage pursuing such a career as only a minute portion actually makes a living out of it. Even when they do get some support, there are a lot of others aiming for their throats due to tough competition and Medalist does a great portrayal of that. As someone who comes from what we assume as a middle class household, Inori experiences the lack of familial support. Given that she also starts late and receives Tsukasa’s favor, she faces a lot of scrutiny from other parents, athletes, and even peers.

3.	Realistic Hurdles

As we’ve already mentioned on our first two points, Medalist takes on a very realistic approach to its storytelling. Even though Inori is undoubtedly talented, she still goes through all the hardships of a beginner. It’s not a story wherein she miraculously becomes the best of the best after one or two lessons. In fact, Inori learns everything from the basics. Even after training daily, she barely manages to conquer her first wall, which is jumping. All of this happens as her character develops from a wimpy dependent kid to someone with grace and confidence.

Final Thoughts

We’re always up for a good seinen manga, and Medalist is definitely an exemplar of that. It tells the story of what we hope is a future Olympian in a very realistic manner. But because it is very realistic, the gratification of watching her succeed and slowly realizing her dream is also extra sweet. If you’re up to some good, serious read, give Medalist a try and join us as we bask in its glory.

By: Christian Markle
Was this review helpful?
Who doesn’t wish they could ice skate as gracefully as the professionals. Growing up Ice Princess was my favorite movie and the ice skating my favorite sport in the olympics. So it came as no surprise that I loved this manga. 

The story follows Tsukasa, a former professional ice skater and Inori a young budding talent. We follow their story as they try to succeed while overcoming the obstacles in their way. 

I can’t wait to read the rest of the volumes and find out what happens.
Was this review helpful?
Medalist is the story of a retired ice dancer Tsukasa who becomes a coach for a little girl named Inori. Both of the characters share the same background of having been called "too old" to start ice skating,
With the help of pretty art and an interesting cast of characters, the story is able to mesmerize and touch the reader. The scenes of Inori crying and talking her mind, were really emotional. It honestly made me jealous that there are people who have such a passion for something. But Tsukasa is also an interesting and relatable character. He portrays a person who wasn't able to chase his dream, but is now helping others to do so.
PS: that one dude with the dark hair that was there for like 4 panels was really hot.
Was this review helpful?
**ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review**

Medalist 1 by TSURUMAIKADA was an informative and touching sports(-ish) manga volume about an ice skate dancer and a young girl becoming friends when he sees her ice skating potential and offers to be her coach. It was real heartwarming and I'm hoping to try more volumes at some point.
Was this review helpful?
Here's something you might not know about me: even though I personally can't ice skate, I'm absolutely obsessed with it. There's something about the grace and strength needed by skaters, both physically and emotionally, in order to be successful that I find incredibly intriguing. So, it won't come as much surprise that I really enjoyed reading this.

'Medalist' follows Tsukasa, a former professional ice skater, and Inori, a young, budding talent, and their somewhat unlikely team up to succeed despite all the obstacles in their way.

This manga gives you main characters you find yourself genuinely rooting for; Tsukasa's given up on his dreams because of time and other issues, while Inori's dreams, despite her talent, aren't supported by those around her. While I do hope that future volumes delve more into their characters and how they grow, their passion for their art itself makes you want them to accomplish and achieve their dreams.

The art style is fascinating in that the characters' portrayal is far more intricate when compared to their location, providing an interesting contrast, especially considering the characters' facial expressions, etc. There's also a fair amount of information on the technical aspects of the sport as well.

Overall, this proved to be an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for sports manga.
Was this review helpful?
Medalist is such a good and different kind of sports manga! I had high hopes when I noticed that this is seinen, even though the cover isn't the best possible. Tsukasa's dream of becoming one of the best Japanese ice skaters doesn't happen and his self esteem is low perhaps even due to his personality. If you want to become a top in Japan, you have to start early, since the country excels in ice skating. Tsukasa is already 26 years old. He happens to meet Inori, a 11-year-old girl, who wants to skate, but her mother doesn't support that dream and the girl has practiced by herself. Tsukasa sees the potential and becomes her new coach. The series is truly a sports series where you learn about skating and it's full of info and nothing like Yuri on Ice. This makes the series very interesting and finally we have kids doing sports too, which is so different.

The art looks great and works well with the series. Perhaps the panels are a bit stuffed, but I like the vividness and expressions. I loved the warmth of the story and the characters are well built. We need more sports series and especially those that do things differently and still put the highlight on sports. I'm a fan of sports series, I do admit that, but my bar is high and this surely made it.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book . It was super super fun , I enjoyed reading about all the different techniques one must master to be a champion at figure skating . All the characters in this book are super friendly and relatable .  The little girl in this story is so focused and determined . I also love how hard the coach works on trainung this girl and ensuring that her dreams are fulfilled .Highly reconmend to anyone who wants a short fun , easy read .
Was this review helpful?
WOW! That last page (before the bonus chapters) though! What a way to drive all the emotion of this story into that final page. SO good!

This was quite the adventure…and would say one of the most stressful manga I've read. 

What I mean is that there is a real sense of pressure when reading these pages. I don't know how the mangaka did it but I felt myself anxious on the behalf of Inori. I honestly couldn't imagine being in her shoes, but I could imagine this is why her story is all the more compelling. We are hearing and seeing the things spoken to her that are just SO degrading. And if not that, then far from encouraging. 

The crazy thing is this is not just from other parents, but children her age too. While some of their talk is only on a few pages, there is no denying the hurtful words from other skaters who don't even see her worth the time of a day. 

Truly, this is an underdog story and it's hard not to want to root for Inori and her success.

Tsukasa is AMAZING! I absolutely love love LOVE his energy and him as a character overall. He is a phenomenal coach and while I already found myself cheering for Inori before his excitement, I couldn't help but cheer for her even more because of him. He's amazing! <3

The art was superb! The sense of movement really reminded me of figure skating because it's bold, graceful, and enchanting. The mangaka really brought to life the beauty of this sport through art and would have not thought that possible before reading this.

Overall, this is an excellent sports manga that is memorable in many ways! It is intense, beautiful, and exciting. Highly recommend!

*(I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.)*
Was this review helpful?
This was such a cute read! I loved the plot and was rooting for Tsukasa and Inori all the while. I can't wait to see that happens next!
Was this review helpful?
4.5/5 stars

(Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for this review)

Medalist is much more than a manga about skating, it is a story of overcoming, of evolution and chasing dreams.

The first volume begins with Tsukasa, a boy who left professional skating because he thought he was not enough and believed that he was being a drag on his dance partner. Now he is looking for various jobs and is offered one as a coach of a skating club. There he meets Inori, a slow learner who finds it hard to make friends since she suffers bullying at her school. Everyone laughs at her, even her mum doesn't have any faith in her (moreover when she is compared with her sister), and thinks she's inferior for it. The only thing that helps her cope with the day to day is skating, she learns on her own thanks to videos and rehearses alone on the track. Everything begins in that meeting. Tsukasa sees potential in Inori and wants to train her to a higher level.

This manga has made me fall in love with its characters, I am looking forward to seeing the evolution of Inori as a skater, but also as a person, just like Tsukasa. I hope that in future volumes they help each other and come to trust themselves more. I also liked the secondary characters, other skaters who have only appeared a little so far but will surely compete against Inori later. The character design has also been a plus, I like the drawing style.

And I do not want to forget to comment on the help that all the information they give about skating, competitions, lower levels, pirouettes, etc. It is especially appreciated for people who do not know how this sport works.

If you like manga and ice skating, I recommend Medalist.
Was this review helpful?
I was Immediately drawn to this title because it's about Ice skating, and It was such a wholesome read! 
Tsukasa and Inori both have a drive to be great on the Ice, Tsukasa is a former Ice champion and new Coach at the Ice rink where Inori aspires to become a great ice skater despite her peers and mother doubting her ability. Together they work hard to prepare Inori for competitions to prove that she can be a successful skater. 

#Medalist1 #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
This book had a couple strikes against it in the beginning. Sports manga are hit or me for me, and the female protagonist was on the younger side (not my favorite.) That being said, this manga was charming. I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it. .
Was this review helpful?
This is such an unassuming title, but oh boy! does it pack a punch! An instant 5 star read for me!

Medalist volume 1 by Tsurumaikada promises great art from the front cover and insert colour art and delivers throughout! The colour pieces are intriguing, well designed, smart, and beautiful, full of energy, and I couldn't get enough of it. Then the manga actually starts and Tsurumaikada's genius is laid bare. This mangaka *knows* manga. Knows the different genres, and styles, and utilises them for effect, whether it is for comedic effect, action,  emotions, every panel screams competence within this medium. But even more so, this manga art has a style of its own, something unique and different and was reminicent of another great Kodansha Sports manga series: Okiku Furikabutte. I would also suggest that this work is worthy of similar prize-winning accolades.

Medalist is at its core a sports manga, a genre that has grown in popularity in the West in recent years. Sports manga are always engaging, uplifting, and most importantly, inspiring. Medalist has all of those traits in spades. I felt energised after reading it, and can't wait to read more. 

Medalist is a feel good sports manga for non-traditional sport. It follows 26 year old Tsukasa, a jaded almost professional ice skater as he negotiates this new stage in his life as he contemplates retirement from competition. At the same time he encounters a cinnamon-roll of a child, a 10 year old girl, Inori, who exudes natural talent and burning desire to skate. Tsukasa recognises all of their shared similarities and struggles and decides to become her coach to help her achieve her dreams. Their relationship is pure and beautiful and it is clear that they will be good for each other. The side characters are a joy, especially the future rivals - sports rivals are *chef's kiss*. The comedy is also gold - I cackled!

Medalist has been made for me, it is the kind of story that I absolutely love and end up following for years. It has vibes of other amazing Kodansha sports series such as, Chihayafuru or Welcome to the Ballroom, both of which I love. I highly recommend that you check this out - I love it! I will wait impatiently for volume 2!
Was this review helpful?
Medalist was really great. I, in general, have no real interest in ice skating but have consumed the occaisional story involving it. Medalist is about a man who took up ice skating late and is having trouble landing a job doing anything involved with it and winds up getting a coaching position. It is not only about him but also an eleven year old girl who would love nothing more than to be the best skater in the world. They just happen to cross paths and he gets to coach her. Their enthusiasm alone is wonderful but together is terribly contagious. Not much happened besides their background and meet up in this first volume. I'm excited for the next to see how much they improve together.
Was this review helpful?
There is a full length review forthcoming on my site, and on my YouTube Channel! I go in depth on my analysis there.
Was this review helpful?
I overall enjoyed the story. I thought the artwork captured nicely the fluidity of movement in figure skating, which is hard to do when not dealing with a moving image. I review this Manga in my video this week.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

This manga was actually really nice to read. The friendship between the two main characters is so wholesome and I liked learning about the sport of skating. I wish I read this physically and not as an eARC just so I could appreciate the art a little more. 

Rating: 3.5⭐
Would I Read It Again? Yes
Would I Recommend it? Yes
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely a delight! Love the pacing and the art. I can't wait to see where the story goes, I see great potential.
Was this review helpful?
I'm really digging this trend in sports media to focus on the pressure to start young and invest your entire life into a sport for success. I also like that our mains not only fall outside of that culture but also aren't typical of the sport. I am a pretty unfeminine femme but I loved watching figure skating when I was a kid. I suspect, had I grown up somewhere near a rink, I would have been Inori digging up worms to pay for ice time.
Was this review helpful?
This was so so so sweet. I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did. I definitely recommend this to people who love sports mangas, but I also think anyone can enjoy the story and characters!
Was this review helpful?