Check, Please! 1: #Hockey (Check Please!) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2018/9/18
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Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? Theres checking (anything that hinders the player with possession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jackhis very attractive but moody captain.
A collection of the first half, freshmen and sophomore year, of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life. This book includes updated art and a hilarious, curated selection of Bitty's beloved tweets.
A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2018
"Check, Please! is very much a thing of our time in its approach to gay identity and romance... There's no big coming-out scene, no 'convert the lone homophobe' drama, no storyline cooked up just to educate the reader about the gay experience. Bitty doesn't need any of that, and Ukazu gives the reader credit for not needing it either." --NPR
"Check, Please -- an endlessly delightful web comic about hockey, baking, and bros." --Den of Geek
"Check Please! is the perfect reminder of the growth in queer narratives we've gotten in the past few years...filled with cute romance, zero toxic masculinity, and a really great sense of male comradery that's refreshing to read." -- The Mary Sue
"Ukazu, who began Bitty's story as an uberpopular webcomic, folds in plenty of hockey terms and highlights team camaraderie while skillfully dismantling themes of toxic masculinity...A slow-burn same-sex romance is just the icing on the cake (sorry--pie) in this irresistibly fun and utterly charming sports story. Volume two can't come fast enough" --Booklist, starred review
"This is a warm story with an irresistible protagonist, a clever supporting cast, and lively and plentiful game and practice scenes... A fun and deeply satisfying read for teens." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"The art relies on thick linework and facial shots to tell the story, playing to Ukazu's knack for pithy, personality-showing dialogue. Ukazu blends a series of tropes (coming-of-age, coming out, an outsider finding acceptance) into one coherent, amusing tale." --Publishers Weekly
My only critique is that I wish everything had gone in order. You have essentially three sections to the book- the comic, supplementary comics that explain terminology and background, and "tweets" by the main character. I wish the terminology and tweets had been incorporated in with the comic, in the order in which they "occurred"- they would have filled in many of the gaps I felt in the first half. The tweets in particular really rounded out and explained the central relationship, and reading them *before* the ending would have been nice! I had to keep flipping back and forth to figure out where each tweet happened in the storyline.
This is the story of Eric Bittle (Bitty) — former junior figure skating champion, vlogger, pie baking freshman who is part of Samwell University’s hockey team.
Starting university our gay protagonist makes new friends, makes unforgettable bonds and falls in love (with the very handsome broody captain).
Aside from the beautiful plot that deals with being a freshman, making friends, falling in love, facing your fears and working as a team, my favorite part of “Check, Please!” was the art style. Most noticeably Ms. Ukazu’s gradual transformation of Bitty’s physic and how he presents himself. It reminded me of how Edward Elric grew up in Fullmetal Alchemist, but it was slow and subtle that you don’t notice it until you watch the first episode and then the last episode. Bitty went to the same slow physically growing up transformation and it was brilliant.
Even though this is a “hockey story” anyone with negative zero knowledge of hockey (like myself) is able to pick on the rules of the game. Because ultimately we, the reader, are also Bitty’s youtube audience and he treats us as such. He makes sure to explain hockey to us as he tells his story and it felt really natural. After all, Mr. vlogger knows that not everyone in his audience has hockey knowledge.
Ms. Ukazu also created a beautiful cast of character. Each one lovable, relatable and a precious cinnamon bun. No one is just there, everyone has a purpose, a personality, and a well-developed character arc.
While this obviously a work of fiction Ms.Ukazu’s novel felt natural and realistic. No dialogue or scene felt forced…ever. I am sooooo ready for book two! (Even though I’ve already read Junior year online hehe).
Check, Please was sweet and addictive. It’ll keep you hooked until you get to the last page. In the last page, you’ll scream.
While some of the early art is a little unpolished, it is lovely to see how not just the characters, but also the artist, has grown throughout the series. To 'clean up' the first panels is to erase the hard work and refinement of skill that has gone into their craft. I would hate to lose that history and original charm.
I also appreciate the representation of queer characters. They are not overly stereotyped or dramatized for their orientation. They simply... are. They exist and fall in love and and still go about their lives. So much of mainstream media seems to forget that a person's orientation is not their only hobby. Who they fall in love with is only a facet of who they are and there is so much more to know and learn about them. The author does a beautiful job of balancing on the tightrope of representation without baiting dramatization. I wish more people were able to handle this topic as elegantly as Ngozi Ukazu.
This story only gets better as Bitty and the boys grow. I cannot wait for the next installments to be available in hardback so I can proudly add them to my shelves!
Prepare to feel strong motherly attachment to Hockey Frat Bros when you pick this up! I'm just struck by the characterizations and all the little quirks about the characters and use of backgrounds to give even more information on the characters. Oof-da Ngozi really steals hearts in such a light and fun comic that still has meat in it, and I don't know how she does it!!