It’s a story about an ordinary boy named Lee Chong Wei when he was a kid. He starts to play badminton only because he is trying to save a cat from a cat bully. He is brave enough to accept the cat bully’s challenge which is a duel of badminton even though he is not good at it. A local badminton coach sees them play and sense something special about Chong Wei thus, offers himself to coach him. That’s where it all begins.
This comic is more or less the biodata of Malaysia’s number one badminton player, Datuk Lee Chong Wei. In order to spice things up, parts of the story is not true. Well, they have to lie a little bit to make the story interesting because if not, no one would buy it right?
The story is pretty simple as the title means something along the line of ‘the trail of a champion’ so it follows the journey of Lee Chong Wei before he is a champion. Yup, Chong Wei the kid version. He loves to play basketball instead of badminton but when he is challenged to play badminton, he reluctantly accept the challenge to play one sport he never played before. A local coach who happens to see the match offer himself to coach him after the match ends and well, the story starts from there.
Not many characters contributes to the overall plot. I’ll only talk about characters which are important and interesting to me. We have our lead Lee Chong Wei who is a very naughty, wild and hyperactive kid. He is a very talented badminton player so he is very arrogant towards his teammates. He also sometimes (actually a lot of times) neglects during practices especially stamina building practice which leads to his loss during his first championship but then learns to not neglect during practices and always do his best even though he has a big talent. After he enters a sport school which of course is a boarding school, he is being bullied and he misses his family after not seeing them for a long while. Those circumstances does not waver him but instead, makes him stronger. It reminds me of myself a while back when I was studying in a boarding school. Haa… those unpleasant memories, because I hate that school!
Next we have Kenny, a young professional badminton player. He is known as the ‘king of illusion’ as his tactics and movements are hard to predict. When he first appear, he can be classified as one of the villains in this comic due to the fact that he is Chong Wei’s rival. But when he enters the same sport school with Chong wei, he becomes a more likable character and becomes Chong Wei’s closest friend.
Other characters…they didn’t really matter much. They are just the generic teammates and friends that we all have. Nothing much I guess. Oh wait, Chong Wei’s father is worth mentioning. He always supports Chong Wei in every way possible. He also agrees to send Chong Wei to a sport school in order to become a national badminton player.
There are some information about badminton rules and its history in this comic. It also have some tactics and tips on how to play badminton cleanly without breaking the law. I was shocked to know that I know so little about the official rules of badminton despite playing so much but I was also shocked to know that I never did anything wrong regarding the rules. I guess we don’t really have to know the rules to play it cleanly…. Actually no, there things that I did wrongly but who the heck cares?!
The match scenes are not outstanding but at least you know and understand what’s going on. You just need to imagine it like a real life matches and HUZZAH!!! The most epic match appears!
Overall, I personally enjoyed reading this. It made me want to play badminton again. Well, I eagerly played badminton the next day I finished reading this only to find out that my skills are dramatically worsened. I don’t think this comic is exceptionally great but it’s engaging enough to make you read in one go. Score? I don’t think I’m going to give scores to my local comics review for now. It’s worth reading, that’s the score.
Note: Yes yes, I’ll get ‘Smash 20’ now…