I never liked or got into the game of baseball. Even with my stints with Princess Nine and Taishou Yakyuu Musume many years ago, here I am watching Hachigatsu No Cinderella Nine. Was it a slow anime season for me? Need to feel up my seasonal quota of animes to watch that I had to pick this? And yeah, I guess it’s because they got a team of cute girls as the main characters, huh? Must be it. Definitely. Oddly in that same season this anime premiered, we have another 2 established and popular baseball themed animes airing in the same season, Diamond No Ace: Act II and Mix: Meisei Story. Is it baseball season? But I guess you can tell what kind of people we are depending on which of these 3 baseball themed animes we watch. By saying all that, I already can tell before I start watching this one, the outcome and sentiments of this all-female baseball anime is going to be. Let’s play ball!

Episode 1
A new school term has started at Satogahama High School. Clubs are putting up demonstrations for potential newbies to join. Until Tsubasa Arihara does the unthinkable by going on stage and boldly seeks for new recruits for a baseball club. What’s wrong with that? The school doesn’t officially have one. Later, she apologizes the student council president, Shiho Noumi over this. Although her friend, Tomoe Kawakita also does the same since it was her idea that put her up to this. But don’t fret. There’s still hope. Teacher Momoko Kakehashi allows them to start off as an association till they have enough members. With the duo off to recruit members, in no time we can tell that Yuuki Nozaki and Akane Ukita who are somewhat interested but shy in wanting to join eventually tries it out. The quartet practise by the river bank. Don’t worry if Yuuki and Akane don’t have any baseball experience. Tsubasa and Tomoe have plenty. After a few catching practises, time for a little character drama as Akane mentions she is interested in playing baseball because of an old friend but she is no good in sports. However there were no girl baseball clubs she could try out. Likewise, Yuuki was from the basketball club and had this trauma of holding her teammates back. Hence she is somewhat afraid to try another club. Tsubasa manages to find a few other kids to join in and play some decent mini baseball game. Safe to say, it sparked their interest and more importantly self-confidence in the game. When they try to find the duo to officially join, they hear an argument coming from the student council room. It seems they are prohibited to practice in school.

Episode 2
The logic is that the school has no proper baseball facilities and letting them practice means they might break other stuffs and be a danger to others. They get stubborn and almost got into trouble. Thankfully nothing was broken. Before finding a place to play, they are at the baseball store to get some proper gear. Yeah, those gloves are really costly. Fellow classmate, Waka Suzuki is also here. The rest jump the gun thinking she is interested to join them! Desperate, huh? She’s just here to accompany her brother who plays baseball for his university. Wow. Real life celebrity! Thanks to that, Waka has a lot of knowledge on baseball despite not playing the game. This doesn’t stop the quartet to bug her for tips. Kakehashi has found a field for them to practice. Some kind owner decides to lend them instead of seeing it go to waste. Oh well, time to clean up this abandoned field first. You can tell their passion is as equal as baseball so cleaning up is such fun! Waka watches the girls play and seeing Akane play reminds of herself so much. Tsubasa invites her to play but she gives excuses she can’t. Flashback shows Waka’s talent was that she was able to pick out and spot oddities and this made her a valuable asset. As other people praised her, she began picking up baseball tactics and data. Thus she thinks she is better at this rather than playing. But you know what? Her brother knows she wants to play and lends her his glove. And so Waka joins in the play and realizes, hey, this is fun too! Yeah, her face might not show it but I believe her heart is saying something like that. And with Akane giving all she’s got and the rest having fun, safe to say that she’s going to join the club. And what luck, Kakehashi also decides to become their advisor as she doesn’t mind advising 2 clubs at once.

Episode 3
Things are getting better as they even have their own clubroom. Now to apply for funding… As they continue practising, this weird cheerleading girl, Yoshimi Iwaki starts cheering on them. She heard about their efforts and decides to cheer for them all the way. Heck, she even got their upcoming games? What games? They don’t even have enough members! Hence they would like her to help out with the recruitment. And quickly enough, she pulls in Aoi Asada. She is considered the best gambler in school and never lost. Uhm, is that legal? Well, as long as she sticks to rock-scissors-paper gambling! Yeah, Yoshimi has never won against her! And Aoi might feel Tsubasa is something special because she got a draw! With Aoi joining in, she also drags Yoshimi to join. Yay! More members. Later, Waka notices Ayaka Nakano has been stalking them. The only newspaper club member is trying to make her big scoop and thinks their club will be it since there aren’t many high school girls baseball clubs throughout the nation. Tsubasa believes this can also help in their recruitment. Then they hit the batting centre. Some are natural and some might need a little more practice. Maybe much more. Then they notice this sleek beauty coming in to bat. Ryou Shinonome looks like she is a pro! Well, I thought Tsubasa would go over to recruit her but she goes to bat alongside her. Both are amazing. However both know each other but Ryou isn’t impressed with Tsubasa and thinks she is just play pretending. Later the rest discover that the duo faced off in last year’s All Japan Senior Little League Championship’s semi-finals on opposing teams. Tsubasa’s side went on to win the title. Tsubasa is surprised she came to this school and before she could recruit her, Ryou declines her. She doesn’t want to waste time with a school club and intends to join a real club team. Because Tsubasa is having fun, Ryou thinks she is not taking the game seriously.

Episode 4
Flashback to that semi-final, Tsubasa’s team was losing at first. Nothing says motivation like Tsubasa telling her teammates to just enjoy the game. And the irony is that when they do that, they started winning and now Ryou’s team was the one feeling the pressure. Is it me or is Tsubasa and Ryou the only girls in their team? In the end, Tsubasa’s team came back for a win and the rest is history. However after that historic win, Tsubasa wasn’t too happy. For the next 6 months she didn’t play baseball as she quit the team. Not sure what their different goal was. Was Tsubasa just wanting to have fun while the guys were like we need to aim higher and win the world cup? She could have quit baseball for good had not Tomoe talked her out of it and rekindled her love for the game. And so here we are now. She’s trying to create a team so they can have fun playing baseball together. After hearing this nice story, Ayaka decides to join. Gee, that was easy. Is this the dream and drama she is looking for? Of course you’d think she would be going to recruit Ryou but nope. She’s just asking when her try out for the club team is. Because on that day, Tsubasa and the girls come to watch and cheer on Ryou. So we see the hopefuls against the regulars. Again, is Ryou the only girl in this try out? Because the newbies are like taking it easy, this pisses off Ryou as she snaps for them to get serious. Hey girl. Why so serious? If that wasn’t awkward enough, Tsubasa starts cheering Ryou’s name. She won’t stop because she doesn’t want her to give up baseball like she did. Seeing her try her best amazes her so that’s why she wants to see her keep playing her style of baseball. That’s the clincher for everybody to join in the chant. And now we can see everyone giving it all and playing better. In the aftermath as our baseball girls practice, Ryou marches in and lectures them on how to properly swing, bat, posture and everything. Who made her coach? Then they bug her for the try out result. She failed. Why everyone so surprised? But Ryou has no regrets because she gave her all. So I guess change of heart for Ryou? Yup. Now we have a complete all-girl baseball club! Even if you have dreams, you need to start from somewhere even if it is the most unlikely and unwanted of places.

Episode 5
Finally! They pull out the last weed from their field! Hooray! Accomplishment! Now they can practice for real. Better still. They want to play their first game. After setting up positions for each of them, they suddenly realize the vital thing they’ve been missing: Uniform! Unfortunately they cost a bomb and they have used up their funds on practice balls. Also, Kakehashi has managed to secure a team who will play them. It’s just a school in the next area, Seijo High School. And in 2 weeks, our Satogahama has their uniform design and even their uniforms ready! Power of parent sponsor… The match day is here. Sayaka Jinguji is the captain of Seijo’s baseball team. We see both side being noobs, clumsily handling the ball and striking out many times. So when Satogahama gets their first run and points, they think they could really win this. Might as well stay positive. And then the pace starts to change when Sayaka starts using some slider throw thingy. When Seijo starts scoring and leading, don’t tell me you girls are starting to get demoralized. And then this truth from Ryou. She realizes that Seijo has been fielding their players in positions they aren’t used to and now that they are switching them to their original roles, they’re going to have a hard time. Because they have a goal and different mind set, Satogahama have already lost before the game started. Well, you didn’t have to make it sound that bad, right? In the end Seijo thumped Satogahama. 12-1. Our girls so demoralized that they didn’t show up for practice? Self blame game begins. Like Akane blaming herself for making too many mistakes and especially Tsubasa blaming herself for trying to hype up everyone for their first game. Eventually everybody shows up. Then they start screaming out their mistakes (hope this isn’t going to be some sort of tradition) and you know they will move forward and get better. That’s how you grow, right? A group cheer to top it off.

Episode 6
Exam season is here so naturally Tsubasa wants to hold off practice until it’s over. But Tomoe can’t wait that long. She feels the need to get better now and hence when she stumbles upon Sayaka’s secret practice place behind the shrine, Tomoe pleads to be trained by her. She can’t ask Tsubasa since she can’t be strict with her. With Tomoe taking secret practices, you bet the rest is going to smell something fishy as Tomoe herself is starting to act a little strange. And then Yoshimi and Aoi spot this ‘unholy alliance’ and report to Tsubasa. Faster than the speed of light, Tsubasa comes down to the ground and is shocked to see this ‘unholy alliance’. The drama ramps up with Tsubasa confronting Tomoe and yelling she told her she would have practised with her once the exams are over. Tomoe yells back about Tsubasa unable to be strict with her. Is it because they’re best friends? In that case, she quits being her friend! Oh my. Oh dear. Hey, at least she didn’t quit the club! Haha! Oops, sorry… And so it gets awkward between everyone. Yup, even the other members are affected. Even Tsubasa has a talk with Sayaka but nothing conclusive since the latter doesn’t want to butt in to the affairs of others. As this awkwardness cannot go on, the rest setup for Tsubasa and Tomoe to meet. A little chat here and there. To cut cliché friendship drama short, they’re back again as friends. Especially when Tsubasa became so emotional about the thought that they aren’t best friends! Gimme a big hug with loads of tears! With everything back to normal, there is nothing left but for them to get better at their game.

Episode 7
Broken bat. Hole in the net. No money. Baseball maintenance is sure expensive and taking part time jobs is only a short term solution. The only way is to upgrade their association status to a club. Talking to Shiho about it, she sends Kana Tsukumo to evaluate. Meanwhile Yuuki stumbles into old elementary schoolmate who is also in Satogahama, Maiko Kurashiki and finds that she isn’t in any club yet. Care to join the baseball club? After all, Maiko has this penchant to help others in need even if she doesn’t admit it. Maiko tries out playing baseball as Kana who could have been their greatest asset since she is quite athletic but she is only here to observe. But Kana knows that Maiko is a troubled child and often has run-ins with the police. It gets a bit awkward when Kana and Maiko have some sort feud since Kana is brutally honest and saying it with a deadpan face. We see Maiko is having household problems. More like her parents are fighting and she is caught in the middle. She can’t stand this and runs away. Because of that, she ends up in a fight with drunkards in town and although the drunkards were the one who started the fight, Maiko is also taken in by the police?! WTF is wrong?! So when the baseball girls hear about this, you bet they get worried and start looking for her. Maiko and her mom are talking to teachers about this problem at school. Maiko then snaps because she cannot stand people talk about what’s best for her when it is only in their own best interest. She is mad they are going to take away her place. Of course Kana heard all that and goes to talk to Maiko. Ironically from a girl who has ‘facial muscle problem’, she wants Maiko to smile more often. She can tell Maiko is having fun with the baseball girls and Maiko is surprised because she thought nobody ever looked at her. In the end, Maiko only has to send in a written apology (no suspension or expulsion. Phew) and because Kana giving her heartfelt speech to the teachers how the baseball club gives Maiko a place to be, the association is now officially a club and yes, Maiko officially joins as a full-fledge member.

Episode 8
Hey. Kana has joined the baseball club? I guess sooner or later this is the question that all clubs need to answer: Do you want to participate in the Nationals? Oh yeah. Looking up at some of the online clips, we can see some really professional play from established high schools. Especially Kogetsu High School whose star player is Tsubaki Kousaka. Then they look at the tournament bracket. You mean they don’t have to go into preliminaries and can go straight into the Nationals? Hooray! The perks of not having many female baseball clubs at high school level. Then a short history on the on and off popularity of female in baseball. But here is their biggest problem yet: Money. If they win games, they have to cover transport and lodging costs on their own. Don’t worry, despite the student council has approved the club, all they need now is the school’s approval and Kakehashi will get it done. Unfortunately the senior teacher rejects her because of the unrealistic budget. Heck, this school doesn’t even have a boy’s baseball club and you know how expensive it is to run a baseball team? Besides, how is Kakehashi going to handle 2 clubs at the same time? Despite Kakehashi promising this and that, this is still not enough to convince her. So Kakehashi ‘lies’ to the girls that everything is going on fine. We know she doesn’t want to worry them but the girls are smart enough to know from her reaction that things are going smoothly. Just when Kakehashi is about to give up, she sees the girls help nurturing sunflower next to their practice field. I guess some water spray fun made her go kookie. Or it helped refreshed her outlook. Because now she is determined to see this through. With Ayaka writing supportive articles on the baseball club, the girls also get signatures from everyone to support them. I’m thinking with those thick sets of paper, heck they might even got the entire town! Once more Kakehashi sees the senior teacher. I guess after all the persistence, she relents. Even though this would still be a problem for her to handle both clubs, she hints Kakehashi can handle the baseball club while she takes over her kendo club. Oh wow. Super good news. We did it, girls! We’re going to play ball at the Nationals this year!

Episode 9
What to do when the tournament is around the corner? Training camp! My theory for them staying at the temple is not only because it’s cheap, maybe they’ll get divine intervention to help them win games!!! Haha! We see them practice and Ryou and Tsubasa are asking if Yuuki can be their pitcher since she is left-handed. She turns them down as she doesn’t have confident in herself and thinks she might hurt others with her throw. With some of the girls having a hard time finding their rhythm, it seems the tempo of the priest’s wooden block did the trick to synchronize their timing. More boring training scenes in between. Until the last day of their stay, Ryou then dismisses claims from the other girls that there was a head priest. That short guy who is always smiling? Never seen him. Oh sh*t… As proof, they review the videos that Ayaka has been recording. Nobody there! No such person at all! OH SH*T!!! Then a blackout happens. Meanwhile, only Yuuki is away washing the dishes so she probably didn’t hear about the ghost thingy since the head priest talks to her about her low self-confidence. He has her practice her pitching. What if her pitch hurts him? Just pretend that he is a ghost! He hopes she can keep smiling and relax because baseball is supposed to be fun. With that, Yuuki makes a successful pitch. Hey, where did the head priest go? Meanwhile it gets scarier for the other girls because they see a spirit ball coming towards them! HOLY SH*T!!! Turns out to be Kakehashi checking on them. What nice timing the lights come back on. Kakehashi even notes there is no old guy around and the current head priest who lives here is only 30 years old. But they think that old guy isn’t evil because he is always smiling. Later it is revealed that ex-head priest is the current one’s father and he was a baseball player. As the girls continue practising back home, they realize Tsubaki watching them. Scouting the enemy?

Episode 10
Tsubaki asks a few questions and then leaves. You mean nobody recognizes her? Only when they’re back in the room did they realize who she is. What’s that again she’s the number one pitcher in Japan? Here’s news from Kakehashi: Kogetsu wants to play a practice match with them. Why do only strong teams want to play with Satogahama? Is it morally boosting to bash a lowly opponent? You bet they’re going to accept this. Tsubasa allots the roles to her team. If it looks like Tomoe and Akane are left out, she lets them be the all important base coaches. Match day is here. It’s like the producers want to paint a bad picture of Tsubaki being a b*tch because she’s arrogant, refuses to shake hands with Tsubasa and claims this practice is for her third stringers. She’s just here to watch. Satogahama manages to take an early lead thanks to Ayaka’s data on these players. It’s like the producers want us to hate Tsubaki even further because she cracks the whip and lets the whole world know that if they don’t buck up, she’ll cut them off from the team! And there she was watching at the match as bored as f*ck. With this, Kogetsu is able to put up some fight. But there is some drama brewing on Satogahama side. It seems Akane has been running low on self-confidence. Any wrong calls, she takes it upon herself as fault of why they lost that run. It’s got to a point so low that it’s so freaking obvious that it’s time for Tsubasa to come weave her magic motivational talk. You know, how her motivation kept her going. Blah, blah, blah. And with a great pat on the back, you bet Akane is up and running. Now it is Satogahama’s turn to turn on the heat. When you want something done, do it yourself. Because now Tsubaki decides to get into the play. But alas a little too late as Satogahama wins this match by a narrow margin. Yeah, so happy that they’re crying. Never saw this coming, huh? Eat that, Tsubaki b*tch!

Episode 11
The Nationals are finally here! So guess who Satogahama will face in the first round? Seijo! The power of coincidence has them stay at the same place and even having BBQ together! Is this power bonding? Awkward but whatever. Let’s have a good game, right? And as always, Tsubasa thanking her girls for always sticking with her. With Satogahama and Seijo being the first match the kick off the Nationals, Satogahama has extra support in the form of their schoolmates as well as family members coming over to watch. Otherwise this is a very much empty stadium. To cut short this first match, we see Satogahama drawing first blood by scoring the first point. Gee, Seijo getting depressed and despite claiming they have improved a lot ever since, does this mean they were underestimating them in the first place? And then with Sayaka getting serious as the pitcher and batter, Seijo manages to earn a point and now draw with Satogahama. Gee, it’s still early in the game and the opponents just caught up, why Satogahama is looking depressed right now? I guess tensions are running high. Nobody wants to be the laughing stock to go out early in this game.

Episode 12
The game continues and as we see the running joke of Yoshimi who has never been able to bat a pitch, when she finally hits her first ball, she strikes homerun!!! Now who’s laughing?! This has Seijo call a timeout. Sayaka promises she’ll take it from here but one of the members tell her to stop. Some short snippets of how Sayaka singlehandedly revived Seijo’s baseball club after it was disbanded by the previous coach’s scandal. Amidst the praising it was her who built up this club and got them this far, she also says the problem of everyone relying on her. Therefore she doesn’t want Sayaka to carry the rest of the team by herself. Because, did she have fun? Did Tsubasa influence her? I guess so. Because she’ll let today be an exception. The game continues. Seijo looks like they’re playing better now. Yawn… Until Aoi sprains her ankle! Time to switch to Tomoe. Also, Maiko’s hand is going to break from all that pitching so she switches with Yuuki. Time to strut her stuff. More snippets until the game… Oh what’s this?! An article written how Satogahama lost in the second round???!!! Wait a minute!!! They fast forwarded too much!!! But thanks to their heroic efforts, there are more girls now interested to join their baseball club. Yeah, you can find them practising down at their sunflower field. Don’t be shy. Just play ball!

Life’s A Pitch!
Man… That kind of ending that felt so rushed that it felt just downright insulting! Not only did we not see how Seijo lost to Satogahama, however we didn’t even see how Satogahama lost in the next round! Heck, we don’t even know who they lost too! WTF?! It puts all the final episode drama on Seijo to waste. Uh huh. Oddly Seijo feels like they were the one in focus for the final episode. Sayaka was so adamant to not let Seijo’s story end here but from what we’ve seen, she must be crying all alone in her room. Poor Sayaka. She was already burdened with this responsibility and then this. Just only 2 months ago they beat Satogahama in a practice game but looks like they’ve improved a lot. Furthermore, she personally coached Tomoe and it’s like the student got better than the master. How cruel fate is. Nobody knows what happened to Sayaka and Seijo after that match but who cares because it is all smiles for Satogahama. Yup. We’re all still having fun playing baseball. Care to join us? Me? Nah. I’m good.

Sad to say that the story and plot itself is predictable, clichéd and not interesting at all to say the least. However this is because of the injustice of just having a dozen episodes and that itself is not enough to flesh out everything properly. We only have 12 episodes to flesh out everything and therefore everything feels so much pretty rushed although at some points it got a little draggy because you know, they need to put in some drama. Hence this series was somewhat doomed from the start when it was announced it will only have 12 episodes. I am not sure there will be future season but seeing the direction and the response to this series, it is mostly unlikely. Unlike its Diamond No Ace and Mix counterparts, this one never had a chance to shine at all. Those 2 animes already had an established fan base and have a lot of episodes prior to this. That is why even though I did not watch them, I can tell that they are doing much better than this one. Yeah, I read the internet comments on them too.

Worse still, the baseball game here isn’t exciting and I believe is not the main highlight. Especially the final episode which just felt like one long snippet that went on and on and on. I was thinking when the heck this is going to be over and move on to the next game. I am deducing that they want to bring in some character development and put the focus on the group of girls but personally I feel that fails too. You see, when you have a season that spends most of its time trying to recruit members and then trying to tackle the drama and issues that some of the characters are facing, where does the baseball game go? Heck, the Nationals don’t even start after 5/6 of the season is gone! The Nationals officially starts on the penultimate episode of the season!!! At this point, I am predicting the dark horse of Satogahama will lose early or they will leave a cliff-hanger if they manage to go on and surprise everyone and win their matches. It doesn’t help that baseball is not my favourite sport or the kind of sport that I would consider in my top 10, 20 or 50! Hence when I look at the girls play their practice and official match, they’re just boring and I’m so lost at what they’re doing. Just like how people who don’t like football see 22 grown men chasing a ball around the field, I view baseball as 18 people hitting and throwing a ball while running around the field.

If the story sucks and the baseball game itself sucks, what about the characters then? Oh, you already know the answer. They suck too. Like I have said, a dozen episodes is not enough to do justice and flesh out all the characters even in the same team. Due to this limit, we see them breezing through and it felt a bit rushed. That’s why with the initial team recruiting episodes, it felt like they need to quickly make up the numbers and hence pulled in other girls who are ‘interested’. Gee, that was fast. What a coincidence, we got enough members just in time for the Nationals. So what Tsubasa had some baseball experience and only wants to play baseball because of fun? So what Ryou wants to make it big but looks like her dreams are too big and ever since she officially began joining the team, she became a minor character. I thought she was the ace of the team but it felt like she didn’t even make any impact at all. I thought she would be Satogahama’s first pitcher or batter seeing that she is good but I don’t know what Tsubasa was thinking as she let others do the pitching and batting and Ryou is just playing in some other field. Is she okay with that? Well, if everyone is okay with it, fine by me. They seem to make a big deal out of Tsubasa’s goal to have fun playing baseball. You mean when one is aiming to be competitive, you can’t have fun? Why not have both? Has baseball become so competitive that if you want to be the best of the best, the top of your game, you can’t enjoy the game? Maybe when you’re an internationally famous big star raking in the big bucks, maybe. Who these girls, man???!!!

When you have a bunch of misfits in your group, that sort of variety in characterization and personality should be interesting to watch but unfortunately the same cannot be said here. It feels that the other girls in Satogahama have personality that is just superficial, enough just to distinguish everyone from each other. Is Yoshimi some sort of delinquent and banchou wannabe? Because that’s all I see in her aside that serial missed batting running joke. Not as troubled as Maiko but thank goodness her family troubles didn’t spill over and affect the baseball team, right? Should Ayaka be in journalism instead of playing baseball? I don’t know, her journalism seems to be her better skill but I guess they’re short of members and we need someone who can get outside data. Because Waka is only on technicalities of the game so Ayaka is still needed as the ‘spy’.

Kana the robo because of her poker face and no emotions and Aoi the, uhm, perm? She should have been giving Kaiji a run for his money as a gambler but I guess we all forgot that she is one. High school girl as a gambler?! Gasp! That would have been interesting to watch! Then we have Yuuki and Akane having low self-confidence so whenever plot conveniences is needed to drive up the drama, you bet they have something on this. Same thing for Tomoe. Best friends sometimes do fight, right? All in all, the Satogahama girls fail to make us want to support them as I don’t even feel that their bonds with each other is that close. The training camp, the practices and even Tsubasa’s heartfelt grateful speech for her comrades sticking through thick and thin with her feel shallow. Kakehashi feels irrelevant and showing her putting in the ‘hard work’ to get the school to approve the club to play in the Nationals felt like the greatest achievement for her. Just in time, baby. Really. Otherwise, getting them scheduled practice matches seem to be easy pie. I wonder if her kendo club she is also supervising felt neglected. Oh don’t you worry. Kakehashi is young and single so you bet she has the energy to do both!

I know this is just a story and fantasy, but it still feels unrealistic that a group of girls who aren’t really that good in baseball (with the exception of Tsubasa and Ryou of course) they manage to put up a decent game. Sure, they made improvements. But in that short amount of time? Wow. They must be so talented and do nothing but practice, practice and more practice. Like Tomoe getting her coaching from a rival school, yeah that seems legit to show why she can play good baseball with her teammates. Akane overcoming her low self-confidence, it’s like once that has been conquered, she’s going full speed ahead and her playing has soared! What about their practice field that is next to a sunflower patch? I guess they cleaned it up good so they are rewarded with exceptional practice sessions. I don’t know. Might be the spirit of the field’s way of thanking them for taking care of the place. Better than all those expensive baseball dedicated facilities, eh? Wow. Super realistic, girls. It’s a wonder why no talent agency has scouted them already. Oh right. They lost so I guess that’s that. Hey, at least we don’t have to put up with that Tsubaki b*tch whose appearance now felt even more redundant since the series ended.

Heck, come to think of it, I believe they even misnamed the title. Although 9 people are to play on a baseball field, because Satogahama has 11 members, shouldn’t it be Hachigatsu No Cinderella Eleven? I’m sure nobody is going to confuse that with Ocean’s Eleven or something. And I don’t think Cinderella is such a fitting term to use in baseball because nobody wears glass slippers to play baseball, right?! Do you see the Satogahama girls wearing glass slippers?! There was no magic in the first place so when it struck midnight, there was no magic that disappeared on them at the crucial time (I’m referring to their second round lost, just to be sure we’re on the same page).

Art and animation feel mediocre. There are many scenes in which the movement of the girls feel jerky and their facial expressions feel stiff. And it’s just weird that all the girls have this cute trademark on them that I believe is their glossy lips and big pretty anime eyes. Hmm… Kawaii… Me like. No wonder I was ‘attracted’ to watch this series. You can tell how ‘relevant’ the other baseball teams are by their baseball outfit. While Satogahama’s are pretty okay, those unimportant teams in the Nationals whom we will never know nor care are so f*cking plain and generic! Yeah… And they also try to differentiate the girls with different hairstyles and colours of the eyes and hair but the most outrageous designs are those who aren’t from the baseball club but other schoolmates. Do you not notice there is a girl with this outrageous pompadour hairstyle?! Then there is a tanned petite girl who somewhat reminds me of Love Hina’s Kaolla Su. Seriously. And she has a chibi as a pet squirrel? Oh, is that shy low self-confidence girl Nagato from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu? Is this another one of those animes she disappeared down the line? Damn, these girls would make it more interesting if they join the baseball club.

I guess differentiations in character designs are important because sometimes I might get confused with other characters. Because I thought Tsubasa + Ryou = Sayaka! Remember what I said about the girls’ expressions being rigid? Because for those who don’t really smile and have this serious look, I can foresee that if you just switch their hairstyles and hair and eye colour, they become that character! So if you switch Ryou with Kana, I guess they’re the same person! Same case for Tomoe and Ayaka. Same case for Waka and Shiho (by the way, doesn’t Shiho look like that stalker girl from Momokuri?). Damn, this is weird. Oddly, I thought Akane would forever where those cat ears and never take them off. Heck, she’s even got a baseball cap with that design. And that practice match with Kogetsu she wore a standard cap, I was like, who the heck is this character???!!! Yeah, those cat ears are so important to differentiate her now… But for some characters I suppose I can always 100% tell with certainty like Aoi because nobody has got a perm like hers. And why the heck does Tsubaki look like a meaner version of Da Capo’s Sakura?! This anime is done by TMS Entertainment who have done better sport anime titles like Megalo Box, Yowamushi Pedal, All Out and even, uhm, Baki? Unfortunately I didn’t see all of them.

Overall, this is a mediocre anime and serve to only ‘trick’ simpletons like yours truly into watching and thinking it is because it is cute girls doing cute things, baseball edition. And f*ck, no yuri at all! There are a hell lot of dedicated and better baseball series out there other than the aforementioned duo such as H2, Ookiku Furikabutte, One Outs and Major to name a few. Sad to say, although I cannot remember Princess Nine and Taishou Yakyuu Musume, my guts tell me they are still much better than this one. Stories of an underdog sports team are always welcomed and doesn’t grow old. However it is how the story and characters are executed and paced that becomes the challenge into whether making the series a hit or bomb. This series felt like it only had its 15 minutes of fame and then head back into the sleepy wilderness forever. Women in baseball itself is a novelty and not even as popular as their male counterparts not only in Japan but around the world and with this mediocrity, it is no wonder why not many females are going to pick up the sport and turn it into something more popular than what their male counterparts can do. I’m not saying that all sports, men dominate and play better. There are a few sports that we all still love to watch women play. Beach volleyball anyone?!