As we get well into the summer months, we also reach the final volume of Dive!!. With delegates for the Tokyo Olympics now selected we find out if any of our cast have had their dream come true and what happens to those who weren’t chosen. Let’s take a look at what this final instalment has in store!
We begin with the news that Youichi has been picked as one of two delegates for the Tokyo Olympics, but Youichi doesn’t feel like he deserves it, having not won the title through an official meet. As the JASF’s decision weighs on him and the responsibility pushes him further away from his friends, Youichi decides to speak with the president of the JASF to negotiate a way for him to win the title fair and square. The president tells Youichi to compete in an upcoming swim meet and if he manages to secure enough points and not be beaten by anyone else, he will retain his role as a delegate.
Elsewhere Tomoki is upset about losing out on the chance to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, but he’s not about to let his rival’s inclusion get him down. Instead, Tomoki pours all his time into mastering a four-and-a-half somersault dive. With it under his belt, Tomoki hopes to defeat Youichi in competition once and for all and perhaps become one of the representatives for the Olympics.
Where the first volume of Dive!! focused on Tomoki and the second on Shibuki, this one finally places the focus on Youichi. It has been obvious from the beginning that Youichi was most likely to make it as the Olympic delegate, but it’s still fascinating to see what effect this has on him. Being selected means the future of MDC is safe, ensuring a place for his friends to practice and hopefully earn recognition for themselves as the years go on but even that isn’t enough for Youichi to accept his position without earning it. It’s a commendable move and one which shows his character in a new light. Youichi has often seemed like the unshakable, confident individual of the three main cast members, so to be shown that this isn’t always true is important, I feel.
While this final volume never does reach the Olympics themselves (which I suppose makes sense, given they’re Olympics which haven’t happened yet!), the store does come to a close satisfyingly. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was happy with what the future holds for the main characters and in the development they’ve had throughout the series.
Dive!! isn’t perfect. It has been rushed in places and the artwork isn’t always very good, but despite that, I’m glad I read it. Having said that, I still believe that the series doesn’t do a particularly good job at being a sports manga or even a character drama series. Dive!! tries too hard to be a bit of everything, meaning it never truly succeeds at anything. The diving is interesting but never covered in great depth, while the characters are interesting but only have a volume each to tell their stories – which never feels like enough.
The artwork for this volume is an improvement over Volume 2. Mangaka Ruzuru Akashiba had a lot more dive scenes to work with and their sense of distance and perspective are great. Akashiba conveys the height our cast are jumping from effectively and the scenes flow well, which is especially important in a sports series. While I still dislike the way Akashiba draws Shibuki’s hair, otherwise they did a good job with the characters. All three members of the cast wear a wide range of expressions throughout the book and it’s easy to make out what each one is thinking at a glance.
This volume of Dive!! comes to the West once again thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Christine Dashiell. The translation reads well and is problem-free. Meanwhile, the release itself includes some colour pages at the beginning which are a real treat.
Overall Dive!! comes to an end without leaving a splash. Those of you looking for a shorter sports series may enjoy this, provided you don’t mind the lack of technical information on diving. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then there isn’t a great deal of depth here and your time is better spent elsewhere.