Taisho Baseball Girls Anime, Disk 2 (English)

January 11th, 2011

Taisho Baseball Girls is a story about girls playing baseball. Not just “playing baseball,” playing hardball with the boys – and forcing them to take them seriously because they can play the game.

This a great anime that makes me smile for any number of reasons. I smiled with admiration at the effort they put in to training in a sport they’ve come to live and love. I smiled gently when Koume thought she was going to be a movie star, I smiled with nostalgia when they had a pillow fight and I smiled like a wolf when Akiko pitched a mean sinker.

I’ve spoken to a lot of folks recently about the Nanoha franchise and most of us feel that it’s a fantastic series wrapped in a layer of pandering. The Nanoha series is, in a nutshell, about a bunch of girls working *really* hard to become the very best at what they do, not holding anything back and indeed becoming some of the best in the world. In Taisho Baseball Girls, the girls will not be among the best, but they still are shown working extremely hard to get to where they are – and for that, and the lack of pandering – this series is one of the best anime I’m currently (re)watching. It has my one real fetish – women training until they collapse and getting better as they do.

Yes, this series had Yuri in it, but good heavens, if you’re watching this series for the Yuri, you have *completely* missed the point.

Let’s cut to the chase – if the title of the final episode, “Covered in Dust and Sweat” doesn’t make your heart pound a little harder, this is just not the anime for you. But if it does – if your chest swells with pride when you watch them play their hearts out – then you and I can be friends.


Art – 8
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 5
Service – 0, because the very nature of being a creepy fanboy would make them unlikely to watch, understand or appreciate this series, or if they did, they’d only care about the Yuri.

Overall – 10

Please, makers of anime, take the lesson here – lose the pandering and just give us a story about girls fighting to become stronger with all their might. Please. It would be the greatest anime ever.

Once again it is my genuine pleasure to thank Okazu Superhero Amanda M for her sponsorship of today’s review!

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10 Responses

  1. DezoPenguin says:

    This one was a blind buy for me (well, really a “blind Christmas gift wish-list entry”) based…pretty much on your earlier reviews, and I loved it for basically everything you just mentioned. I liked the fact that the girls were all individuals with different personalities, strengths, and flaws. I liked that they worked diligently and improved through practice. I liked that there was zero pandering, *even in the hot springs episode*! I liked the fact that the boys grew up and came to appreciate the value of the girls’ efforts, and I liked even more that they did so because the girls’ efforts made them see it. And I loved that, really, that the point was settled in the fourth inning of the final game so that there was some genuine dramatic tension in the outcome of the game ’cause the main plot didn’t ride on it (unlike most U.S. sports media). And I loved the baseball parts, which is good, because there was a lot of baseball! (Speaking of the Nanoha franchise, their writing staff could try watching this for a few lessons on how to make training sessions fun to watch!).

  2. Wow, this sounds EXACTLY what I’m in the mood for, and I don’t even like baseball. That last episode title really sums it up. Nowhere near enough shows have the heroines on equal footing with the guys, much less are willing to send ’em through the ringer in a non-photogenic/fetish-y fashion. Going to be picking this up ASAP.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Have you by any chance read Teppu? It’s a manga about girls doing mixed martial arts. And it’s full of female characters who are like no female characters in any other anime or manga series I’ve ever seen. (It’s also pretty much as pandering-free as any series I’ve ever seen.)

    Only 10 chapters out so far, as far as I know, and the story’s far from over, but it’s already awesome.

  4. Cryssoberyl says:

    Well said. This was truly an excellent show. My only wish is that there were more of it. Well, that and some canonical Yuri, but that would just be icing on the cake…

  5. @cryssoberyl – There was an entire episode devoted to Kyouko’s desire for Tomoe, who went so far as to fantasize a kiss. That’s pretty canonical in my book.

    There were no canon couples, but I think that’s entirely beside the point.

  6. Ayra says:

    Interesting. There’s currently 8 episodes up (with the rest comming soon) on the TheAnimeNetwork… I think I know what I’m watching next!

  7. George says:

    I wonder, did you ever see Princess Nine? From the description, both shows sound quite similar (though P9 did not, to my recollection, have any Yuri worth speaking of). One of the most striking things about P9 was that it felt way older than it was… it’s a little over ten years old, but the animation style in particular means that it could just as well be from the eighties.

    The show’s also notable for having one of the few fat girls in anime; chosen for the team because their manager – who taught herself about baseball through sports manga – says that in her manga, the catcher is always a fat guy.

    It’s a mostly-forgotten show that’s really very charming in its way. I was kind of hesitant about watching a ‘sports’ anime (let alone one about baseball, which I know nothing about) but it ended up sucking me in. Yeah. Princess Nine. Anyway, carry on!

  8. @George – I started to watch it but, for whatever reason it never really clicked with me.

  9. Ayra says:

    A big “Thank you” for the review!

    I finally watched this show and it was excellent.

    I definitively wouldn’t have watched it without your review: Even with it, it took me months to actually decide to watch an episode (One’s all that was needed to get me interested though :)). I don’t have much interest at all in sport stories, and the art style wasn’t that appealing to me either so there’s no way I’d have watched without having some stellar comments regarding it.

    It was a nice show with a great set of morales, some touching moments, some funny situations, determined characters that managed to accomplish great things due to perseverance and hard work instead of “super abilities” and most surprisingly, a few unusual twists in the generic “sport story” formula (Such as the result of the last game, or the movie ordeal).

    In my opinion, any show that leaves you with a smile and a warm heart is worth watching: This one fits the bill extremely well.

    Thank you again for the great review that actually motivated me in giving this serie a try :)

  10. @Ayra – Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that I’ve motivated you to watch it, and that you enjoyed it!

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