Taishou Takyuu Musume

December 11, 2010

If I am not a baseball enthusiast or have any sort of interest in the sport, then why the heck did I watch Taishou Yakyuu Musume then? Hmm… Must be the cute girls playing baseball. Who am I kidding? They look pretty average. Please don’t take that as an insult. This series somehow reminds me of an earlier all-girls baseball anime series, Princess Nine. Actually I have never really finished watching that series so I guess the only similarity that had me linked to this show was 9 females batting and running around the pitch. That wasn’t an insult either. So if it’s not the girls, I guess it must be the comedy then. What else?

Instead of modern day Tokyo, the setting is during the Taishou era (circa 1925 before the Second World War) where Japan has recently begun to embrace western civilization from their clothing to technology and daily lifestyle. At least some of its citizens. Back then as we know, many ordinary women did not have much liberty in society what more playing baseball which is deemed to be a man’s domain and the only gender that plays that game. So this is the story of a bunch of high school girls defying the norm then and going against all odds. Through baseball, that is.

Like in episode 1, Koume Suzukawa is happy her parents gave her a sailor school uniform and are embracing the western culture. So happy that she starts singing about the town (?!). But it’s all just a dream because her dad is still the Meiji type and wants her to wear kimono. Koume rushes to school (Touhou Seika Academy Girl’s Secondary School) because she got up late. She gets reprimanded by a stern elderly teacher Ooguchi for not acting lady-like (girls aren’t supposed to run?) but a young foreigner teacher Anna Curtland also rushes in and in a way ‘saves’ her. During recess, Koume’s friend and classmate, Akiko Ogasawara wants her to join her in forming a baseball team. She also asks her other classmates if they’re interested. Waiting at the school gates, seems there are 3 girls interested. But Akiko doesn’t know much about baseball considering her interest in forming a team. They head over to a nearby stadium to learn more about the game. On the way, they learn their opponents will be the boys from Asaka Middle School. Upon arrival, they see the scary and hellish training so it’s no surprise the newbies fled because they don’t want to be killed! Akiko now only has Koume to rely on. Before she knows it, since when did she join her?

Next day the duo continue to recruit female members but none of them wants to join. Class rep Yuki Souya pays Koume a visit and shows her a baseball glove. She says about the money needed to buy its equipment and also sizes of the equipments are made to fit males. Next day I guess Koume wants to tell Akiko she wants out but is interrupted by Noe Kawashima. She thinks playing baseball on a whim will harm her grades. Akiko has no plans laid out for their victory so Noe can’t approve playing baseball just to be put to shame. Akiko reveals during her father’s party, a guy told her girls do not need academic records or social activities and are more fitted to be in the household. OMG! He really thought so?! So why baseball? That guy’s a baseball player. Akiko must’ve been so hurt by that statement so it’s understandable she cries. Noe decides to join them and think of a plan to beat the boys, much to Akiko’s relief. Yuki also joins them and shows them some baseball equipment she got. Her visit to Koume’s place was a sign that she had joined them but I guess Koume wasn’t that smart enough to understand that indication. The quartet practice a few throws.

The girls get their gear fix in episode 2. Koume gets up early 1 morning and lies to her dad she has supplementary class. She meets her other baseball mates as Yuki brings Anna as their coach. She does a few demonstrations like throwing a pitch (too hard and fast that it hit right at Koume’s head) and batting (broke the window!). Ooguchi is searching for the culprit so the girls pretend they’re doing literature in the field. Didn’t she notice the “How to play baseball” book? Twins Tomoe and Shizuka Tsukubae are cleaning the church they live in. As Tomoe takes out the trash, she spots the girls playing baseball. Shizuka knows she’s interested but Tomoe feels too shy to ask. Shizuka asks her friend and newspaper club member Noriko Owari about Tomoe’s interest in baseball. She thinks martial arts enthusiast Tomoe likes a member in the baseball team.

As the gang scout for more members, Anna notices Tomoe’s throw during PE. She confronts her and requests her to join but Shizuka disagrees citing their newspaper club short of members. Anna apologizes and leaves. But Tomoe isn’t going to let her challenge of being able to see the ball go and requests a test. Outside the field as the girls watch, Anna pitches an orange as Tomoe perfectly slices it with her sword. With everyone in awe, Tomoe requests to join the baseball club. Shizuka seems not too fond of what happened so she too wishes to join! Siscon? Akiko is excited that they need 3 more people so Tomoe says she can bring in 2 more. They are Kyouko Sakurami (a petite underclassman who sucks up and looks up to Tomoe) and Noriko (she was threatened to pay back her 1 Yen debt if she doesn’t join! Money is worth a lot back then). With 1 more member to fill the spot left, Yuki meets an old friend, Tamaki Ishigaki. Tamaki seems the kind who prefers to do things alone and aspires to be a writer. Though Tamaki feels she doesn’t fit in and not good with people, she accepts Yuki’s invitation to try out. Upon Tomoe’s request, they put Tamaki to a little test and it seems she’s good. Yuki explains she and Tamaki used to play together with the boys in elementary school. Koume and Akiko are excited about Tamaki so she flusters and tries to get away. When happy Koume returns home, she gets reprimanded from her dad who thinks her supplementary classes are a result of her slipping grades.

Koume slips out early 1 morning in episode 3 bluffing her dad once more it’s for reading sessions (man, she’s getting good at this). She bumps into a guy. After she leaves, he picks up her dropped handkerchief and has fallen for her. The baseball girls learn their club’s name will be Oukakai. Something about westernizing in Japanese society but it’s just a pretence to play baseball. Of course Ooguchi wouldn’t allow it but after the principal, Barbara McGregor hears both sides, she allows it on a few conditions. They won’t receive any club finds and if their grades fail, the club will be disbanded. As for their club room, the only one left is an abandoned shed. The girls fix and clean it before beginning their practice. Lots of fumbling, trial and error, hurting and more practice. After Anna announces their field positions, Noe announces their accepted practice match with Asaka next Sunday. There’re few conditions like the place will be Asaka’s home ground and the winning team will select an MVP and go on a rendezvous (read: date) with 1 of the losing team’s members.

During class, some guy arrives at the school gates and shouts for Koume to date him! Now she’s the talk of the school. After getting an earful from Ooguchi, Koume meets the guy at the gates. She doesn’t know him and wonders why he is doing this. He shows the handkerchief she dropped and thinks she did it on purpose. He says it’s fate too? Huh? She’s not too enthusiastic about it. He introduces himself as Tomochika Takahara, a member of Asaka’s baseball team. During match day, we learn the guy who told Akiko about women’s place, Sousuke Iwasaki, is actually her fiancee! He doesn’t know why she’s cold towards him recently. Get a hint, pal. As the match begins, the girls make lots of fumbling because they’re amateurs, what else. Don’t expect them to turn on seasoned players at first go, eh? (Besides it’s only episode 3 lah). The girls lost badly 11-0 so Kyouko is inconsolable as she thinks it was her fumbling that was the turning point and cause of their lost early in the game. I thought it was more of because they played in their school uniforms and kimono. Can they run in that? Iwasaki confronts Akiko. He notices that there’s some misunderstanding and wishes to apologize if he has done something rude. Akiko doesn’t say anything. You got to remember hard yourself because you’re dealing with a woman. Before he heads back to practice, he decides to cancel that rendezvous thingy. Takahara is so devastated with that. There goes his dream date with Koume. Phew. Dream on.

On a rainy day in episode 4, Noriko wants out because she doesn’t have the time to juggle with baseball and newspaper club. Akiko has been absent from school for a few days so Koume pays her a visit. When she leaves, she learns from Akiko’s driver, Matsuzaka that Akiko may be hiding her pain and not telling everyone about it. Next day, Koume and Noe go visit Kyouko but she locks herself in her room. They think they’ve to find another player. At home, Koume gets a surprise visit from Iwasaki and Takahara. Iwasaki wants to know if there’s something wrong with Akiko. He realize himself as the cause but he still can pinpoint what (how dense can he get?). Koume notes they would forgive him if that humiliating loss was due to lack of experience but not because they’re girls. After they leave, Koume goes over to Akiko’s place and chides her for keeping to herself. Koume suggests that to overcome this gloom, they must make the boys acknowledge they’re on equal terms with each other. They must challenge them with the same level of determination because they practice every day and are aiming for the Nationals. Akiko gets her confidence back and arranges for everyone to meet at the club room by 6pm. Koume is tasked to get Shizuka and Tomoe. She then ‘uses’ Tomoe to lift Kyouko’s spirits to join them. Very sly of her. Shizuka is really freaking out when Tomoe hugs Kyouko. When everyone gathers, they reconcile and renew their determination. As everyone gets into the hype of a new history that will be created for them, it hit them that they’re a member short.

Yuki brings some western clothes so they can train better in episode 5. Since they’re a member short, Anna has them do basic training like running laps. They’re so exhausted that they think they’re going to die at this rate! Back home or at school, everyone’s so tired. Thinking that they need to find the last member so they can resume real training, Noe thinks they need a sprinter. Upon Noriko’s advice to look at the track field, they observe a girl Kochou Kikusaka. She has a fast start but her speed decreases as she nears the finish line. They approach her to join their baseball club but she thinks she’s not that fast and runs away. So more running for the girls and they still tire out. Thinking of other ways like reducing the number of players to 8 (do you want to lose respect from the guys again?) or just increase their training speed and find an average ways. Koume gets advice from a ‘professional runner’ (a rickshaw puller) and brings a pair of rickshaw to the club for training! Having a test competition, Koume goes up against Tamaki but it got out of control and rammed into Ooguchi’s choir club. Reprimanding time… It’s a miracle nobody got injured. With that idea tossed aside, it’s back to running more laps. They’re really going to die at this rate. Kochou is also Kyouko’s room-mate. She applies lotion on Kyouko’s aching muscles and asks if it’s fun playing baseball. Next day Noe requests Kochou to tryout their club. She exceeds their expectations as fast sprinter so the girls plead her to join. Her answer: She runs away. Well, she’s a sprinter. During class, seems Anna is her English teacher so she hints about open and closed doors and opportunities. Kochou later gets permission to leave her track club and requests to join the baseball club, much to the girls’ delight. Now they can start batting but Anna has them start off by running laps. Eh? Well, it did show that they lack the stamina they needed, right? Aww man… Start running!

Though Anna thinks the girls are ready to play real ball in episode 6, she has to leave to Nagasaki to tend to her sick aunt. She leaves them a list of teams they can practice with but everyone rejects them. Koume on her way home sees a bunch of elementary kids, Taro and co, having no proper place to play baseball (they got chased away for breaking windows and causing nuisance at a small field). She invites them to play at her school anytime though their opponents will be Oukakai. Their first match begins and they lost horribly simply because of the messy defence, Tomoe trying to hit a homerun but got called batter out like mad. At the end of the day the girls feel dejected that they lost badly to a bunch of elementary kids. Noe has taken notes of their play so she comes up with a strategy for improvement the next day. After a week’s practice, it’s rematch. The girls fare slightly better, enough to give Taro’s team a run for their money. Though Taro’s team catch up and win, the girls think their lost is mainly contributed by the non-communication of Koume and Akiko. Noe orders them to live together like newly weds to improve their communication. Akiko stays at Koume’s place as she observes her. She tells Koume how she and Saburou Kitani (a worker at her restaurant for 4 years) get along very well like newly weds. Another rematch day, the girls improve a lot and the match was too close to call. Anna returns and is impressed of what she saw. It doesn’t matter who they practice with as long they get experience and hone their skills. When Koume returns home, her dad tells her that her fiancee will be Saburou, shocking her. With that, Koume and Saburou become clumsy and fluster each time they communicate with each other.

Rumours that a pair of street batters are going around at night beating baseball players at their game in episode 7. Honestly, how can anyone hit a baseball in pitch black? Street lights weren’t that bright then, you know. It’s revealed to be Tomoe and Koume since the former wants to see whether she can go up against the secondary boys. From her talk, I think Tomoe likes Koume. Anna and Noe want Akiko to develop her own curve magic ball. How? Work it out yourself! Akiko practices and tests her magic balls but it turns out to be straight balls. She gets suspicious of Koume and Tomoe so 1 night she finds out the truth when she spots Koume sneaking out her house. She joins Koume and decides to be the street pitcher. Taking on a baseball player, Akiko is going to show him her magic ball, but he hits it away because it’s a straight ball. Noe has Noriko scout valuable info of Asaka’s game to develop a strategy. I guess she was cute enough that they gladly lend their score book! During practice when Tomoe and Akiko eventually found out about each other’s night rendezvous, they argue over Koume! Too bad Koume had to choose one of them. To settle it, that night both tag along. Before they can jump on a baseball player, several street batters appear. Yeah, it’s the other Oukakai girls (minus Noe). They had the same idea. But they start running away when the police show up because getting caught means immediate expulsion.

As they hide in the bushes, they meet a couple of real thieves and chase after them. Kochou sprints ahead but the thieves get cocky since it’s only a girl and decide to take her on. Now it’s her turn to run away. Noe has been cooked up in her room too long studying and thinking of strategies and thinks she needs some fresh air. She sees Kochou being chased by the thieves. Yeah, she must’ve stayed up too long. When Kochou regroups with the rest, the girls surround them. However they take an old man, Yahachiro Ogura as hostage. Koume has an idea. Using a UFO line as a distraction (they really fell for it!), Akiko throws her straight ball. They dodge but Tomoe behind hits it back, knocking out 1 of them. Then Akiko throws another ball. This time it curves though it hit that thief’s crotch. Ouch. They have to run once more since the police are on their tail. Next day, rumours that the street batters caught a bunch of thieves spread in school. Akiko is disappointed that everyone is talking about street batters but none about the street pitcher. Well if she had only been more successful… The Oukakai girls are called to the principal’s office. Seems Ogura returned the bat they dropped. It has their club name on it. Barbara makes a hypothesis that those street batter girls will not appear anymore. So that’s the end of that. Everyone is excited of Akiko’s magic ball so she decides to show it off. However to everyone’s disappointment it’s a straight ball. Fluke?

While the girls are in another practice in episode 8, Sousaburou Yoshimura from Kokusai Cinema Inc is thrilled after watching them. He is here to seek a substitute for an actress of a current movie being shot here since she threatened to quit as she’s unhappy. After listing several conditions like pretty, intelligent and a school girl (why are the girls so perasan?), the final condition is to be able to swim. However only Koume can do so. She declines citing her strict parents and school regulations. Noe makes a deal with Yoshimura to make Koume accept that part. After smoothly pleading the Barbara for permission, before Koume knows it, Noe hands her the script and has her setup for the movie the day after tomorrow. Seems Noe also talked to her parents so they allow her since it would be an honour starring in a movie as a rep of her school. Koume becomes more locally famous but Tomoe is sad as she worries Koume may forget about her so Shizuka gives her words of encouragement. Tomoe gives Koume a charm and wishes her all the best. Koume wants mom to help with her lines but since she’s busy, dad orders reluctant Saburou to do so. Next morning, lots of people gather in front of the restaurant to catch a glimpse of their local star. Even Takahara is so excited to go see Koume but luckily his intrusion was hindered by the guards. As the set, Koume puts on the clothes as her friends and locals wait for her appearance. Koume and Noe learn that Koume’s role is just to dive into the river since the main actress can’t swim. He did say he wanted a substitute actress. Remember all her lines were futile. Noe pleads to Koume to just do the dive since she already made a deal with Yoshimura. The noisy crowd want their local girl to debut during the filming and when she does, they’re disappointed with her role of just diving down the bridge. The deal Noe made was to allow her to see baseball footage. Yoshimura hints that he likes her. When the movie is released, seems everyone laugh at Koume’s short part. Koume locks herself in her room so Saburou gives her words of comfort. She decides to forget and get over it.

While looking at notes of pictures of Noe’s baseball strategy in episode 9, Koume stays up late so it’s no surprise she’s running late for school the next morning. When her mom comes into her room to clean up, she sees a picture of Takahara. The girls have been practising hard enough to beat Taro’s team thanks to Noe’s strategies. Anna decides to go announce a formal challenge to Asaka. When comes home, her dad calls her. He shows the pic of Takahara and thinks she’s going out with him though she already has a fiancee. Without mentioning her secret practice, Koume starts apologizing and pleads to let it pass. Both sides talk differently in terms of meaning. Koume isn’t please with her dad’s persistence so they argue. She doesn’t talk to him the next day. After another practice to shorten their reaction time, that night Koume meets Saburou. You can tell that guy likes her. He mentions he eavesdropped this morning’s topic so she apologizes. Both also talk with different meaning. She says she’s serious and won’t turn back so he understands and will support her from the sidelines. Asaka gets the challenge letter but word of it reaches its principal. He is thinking of a proper reply as this will tarnish their school’s name. Barbara seems to know Ogura well as they watch Oukakai practice. Anna brings the bad news that their challenge has been rejected. It even states that women shouldn’t taint the sacred baseball ground! That night Akiko calls Iwasaki and chides him for being a coward but he says he accepted their challenge him. She refuses to believe anything he says anymore.

Next day Iwasaki meets his principal and wants to know why he decided on their behalf and that their club hasn’t been consulted over this matter. Seems he has this thinking that a woman’s place should be in the household. Then Ogura comes in and pulls some strings. After hearing both sides, he tells off the principal that he’s running away from these girls. He wants him to give them a proper reply. Ogura must be 1 hellava big shot because that principal starts panicking when he threatens to cut off all ties! Anna brings the good news that Asaka has accepted their challenge and the match will be during summer break. Akiko thinks of a summer training camp and invites them all to her summer villa in the mountains. Koume goes home and encounters Takahara. He wishes to make a bet that if her side loses, she goes out on a date with him. Before Koume could say anything, he leaves and looks forward to the date. Saburou was walking by and heard them. That night Koume wonders why Saburou is depressed so when her mom tells her about her fling and future date with Takahara, she goes after him. Koume catches up and scolds him for jumping to conclusions. She tells him straight that she doesn’t like that Takahara guy at all. Plus, she already has him. Saburou realizes the baseball match she’s talking about and she also realizes everyone’s misunderstanding. She wants Saburou to keep this a secret from her parents. The duo spend some time together so Saburou wishes to make a bet that if he could call her by her first name if she wins. She thinks he’s teasing her because she doesn’t intend to lose.

The girls reach Akiko’s villa in episode 10. Noriko also tags along. Due to last night’s storm, they have to stay at the assembly hall. That didn’t damper their spirits to practice hard. Kyouko decides to use this camp to get closer to Tomoe. During night time, the girls have study lessons as part of the deal to be academically adept. However Tomoe starts off with a pillow fight and soon all hell breaks loose. Seems like a mild one rather. As they continue to practice, Kyouko tries to do stuff to impress Tomoe like laundry but she wrecked her shirt. Akiko knows Tomoe’s jealousy so she purposely helps Koume with her homework and rubs it into her. Kyouko uses this chance to help Tomoe but she too isn’t that smart. Then at the hotspring probably the heat got to her head that she collapsed when the moment she has been waiting for Tomoe to scrub her back arrives. She has a nightmare that Tomoe left her for being useless. She was so noisy that it woke up the other girls! Kyouko gets depressed as there has been no progress with her Tomoe after a week. Well, there’s another week left to the camp.

Anna organizes a kimodameshi (test of courage). Kochou fixes the lot to help pair Kyouko with Tomoe. The first pair Noe-Noriko is so scared that the slightest sound sends them running back in a flash screaming. The next pair, Akiko-Shizuka also runs back since arachnophobia Akiko spots a spider on Shizuka’s head. This leads to a chain effect to Yuki-Tamaki. They pass by Kyouko-Tomoe. Anna is acting as the ghost and is tired of waiting for the girls but they’re no-show. She fell into the river. When she picks herself up and looks like a water monster, Kyouko instantly runs away in fear. What about her beloved Tomoe’s promise to protect her? Hell with that! Tomoe’s faced down on the ground because Kyouko stepped all over her during her escape! Later Kyouko sits alone by the rock thinking how useless she has been so Anna tells her to come to this spot tomorrow as she’ll find what she’s looking for. Next day she sees Koume and Akiko running by. Anna says that though they both lack in what others are good at, they didn’t give up and continue to do their best. Kyouko realizes so she apologizes to the girls for the troubles and vows to work hard. With the remaining days left, the girls practice as Kyouko improves and is complimented by Tomoe.

The girls show the fruits of their practice that they beat Taro’s team 10-0 in episode 11! Day before the match, stupid Takahara boldly meets Koume’s parents and tells them straight that he plans to propose to Koume! He even reveals their baseball match. Koume’s dad is shocked and goes confront Koume. He blows his top for lying. Saburou wishes he let this one pass but he too isn’t happy he knew about this and also lied. Koume continues to practice and so do the other girls. Match day, Koume leaves her house and her dad is still mad but tells her to do as she wishes. As the girls gather, they note Akiko hasn’t arrive yet. Anna calls her house but was told she got sick. Feeling suspicious, Koume heads to her house but was not allowed to enter or see her. The Asaka guys arrive and brought a neutral umpire, Satou. After learning they’re a few members down, they agree to delay the match. But strict Satou is bent on following the time rules and if a side doesn’t show up with enough players before noon, that side forfeits.

Koume gets to know from Matsuzaka that Akiko got into a fight with her mom last night when she found out about the baseball match. She is locked up in her room and even guarded by a judo bodyguard outside! Matsuzaka wants to help Akiko because he notes how happy she is with what she is doing now. Matsuzaka fakes an illness so the bodyguard leaves his post to get his medicine and this enables Koume to get Akiko (she was tying bed sheets to climb down the window? How long is that going to take?). Cars that time don’t really fly so no matter how fast Matsuzaka steps on the peddle, it’s still ‘slow’. He almost hit a peddler but as he avoids, the car crashes. Thank goodness the girls are alright. He tells them to go ahead while he cleans up. The duo arrive right on the dot when the match is about to begin. Taro and his pals, Barbara and Ogura watch the match. Oukakai makes a good start stunning their Asaka counterparts with all the lessons and strategies they’ve learned. Akiko is now able to pull off her magic ball. The match goes on with the girls leading and in high spirits while the guys just utterly confused. Then an Asaka batter, Yanagi, notices Akiko’s magic ball and concludes the girls’ strategy to cause their batters to mishit. They devise a strategy to counter that. Anna also knows Akiko’s magic ball has been found out. She warns the girls not to rest on their laurels yet as it’s about to get harder.

Koume’s dad is still upset over the incident in episode 12 and has cut ties with her daughter. Saburou suggests they go cheer for her but he isn’t listening. The Asaka guys’ counterattack is working and they make a comeback to take the lead. Akiko devises a comeback strategy, that is to throw her fluttering magic ball. It’s risky since Koume may not catch it. They try and almost turned the tables but the guys are still better. Ooguchi’s choir girls want to watch the match so much that they ditch her class to go watch. As the match continues, Yuki got her arm injured while catching a ball. Though it isn’t bad, Satou suggests forfeiting the game but Yuki wants to continue playing. She notes how this may be their last chance to play against boys. The Asaka guys notice how the Oukakai girls have train so hard and decide to return the favour and not show disrespect by giving all they’ve got and treat this as a final tournament match. Ooguchi chides her choir girls if they’re really part of the choir club because she wants them to use their voices to cheer on the girls. So she finally accepts them. Tomoe hits a homerun for her team to catch up. Noriko tells the girls that she knows why Asaka know what pitches she throws. It’s the way she holds the ball in her gloves before she throws. Using this, they manage to confuse the guys and Akiko uses her fluttering magic ball to batter out Yanagi. Koume’s turn to bat but she’s down 2 strikes. Then she hears a familiar voice cheering for her. It’s her dad! He cheers her not to give up and show them her guts! Saburou and her mom are there too. The final face-off between Akiko and Iwasaki. It was a very close call between out and safe as Koume makes a final dash. She was just inches away from the base and thus out. The girls don’t blame her because she tried her best. Asaka wins with a slim margin 9-8. Iwasaki truly apologizes to Akiko so both sides reconcile. The girls hope they could be more honest with each other. In the aftermath, Koume dons a sailor school uniform as she walks home hand in hand with Saburou. She allows him to call her by her first name.

I guess it was okay at the end. I have mixed feelings on whether it was appropriate for the girls or the boys to win. If the girls do win, it would felt a little exaggerated because unless they’re really true prodigies of the sport, you don’t expect them to win at their first try, right? Having said that, prodigies don’t need to train hard, right? And that would mean a real shame to the boys who have been playing baseball longer than the girls. So I guess it is a fitting score that Asaka wins by a slim victory as to also reflect the hard effort the girls put in. So whether or not they will continue to play baseball or disbanded would be another different story. It would be better if they continue to play other teams but at least they’ve achieve their goal (Akiko’s rather) of playing with Asaka and came close in beating them.

In many sports genre animes, character development is vital. So when a short series that is only a dozen episodes long and doesn’t last twice that length, I felt there wasn’t much room for it. The only big improvement is the girls’ baseball skills. Not that I’m complaining or really love animes with character development in it, I just thought that teamwork in a sports genre would mean we will see how the characters interact and bond over the episodes, right? Koume and Akiko’s relationship are like that and just, well, like that too in the end. Yuki and Tamaki are close friends but that’s about it. I thought Kyouko had given up on Tomoe when Kochou came into the picture as she is shown quite close to her. But that camp episode felt like it was supposed to remind us that she still has that tomboyish twin in her heart. What about Shizuka’s fondness about her sister. But that’s just my assumption since she jumped straight into following her twin to join the baseball club. And Tomoe’s infatuation with Koume? What happened to that? As long as they’re friends, it’ll be fine. At one point I thought there was going to be mild yuri but hey, they’re from an all-girls school. So with the limited number of episodes, we don’t see further insights of the other characters. Like Tamaki, Shizuka and Kochou who are just there to fill up the places. Noe’s role is always the brains and strategy developer of the team, Anna the encouraging foreigner coach and ever gentle Yuki’s initial role of introducing baseball equipments and other stuff seem to make her ‘presence’ fade with the passing of each episode.

If I think about it, Iwasaki isn’t such a bad person after all. Though he had made stirring comments about women’s place, he is sincere in apologizing and owns up to his mistake. He’s just probably dense when it comes to such matters though he means no ill intentions. If he said that in today’s time, I’m sure he’ll be slapped with lawsuits from woman activists. And if they had properly talked about it, all this could’ve been avoided. Which I think it’s good that it happened because it got to bring out the potential in both sides and change their mindset not only about baseball but the fairer sex is much as capable of doing what the guys can when they put their mind to it. So with Koume and Saburou now really a couple, I guess Takahara has to give up, eh? He was really an annoying jerk always having this thought that Koume likes him but other than that, he’s quite an okay person. I wonder what happened to the possible chemistry with Noe and Yoshimura. See, not enough episodes to develop on that. As for Ooguchi, I guess many viewers hate her for opposing the Oukakai girls because of her stern nature. Eventually she opened her eyes that sometimes strictly sticking to tradition may not be the best answer. Same case for Koume’s dad. There are good and bad points for opening up to the west. It’s best to see which mix brings out the most desirable results.

This might be trivial because I notice the permanent pink blush on Koume’s cheeks. It makes her look like a life size doll. Seriously. Sometimes I can’t help stare at them. It felt like a funny distraction but no big deal. Another little funny thing is the peddler who sells natou. It’s the way he says “natou, natou, natoooouuu~”. Kinda reminds me of the old newspaper guy in my neighbourhood. Good thing about this show is that you don’t see the players pull off exaggerated and impossible moves. Even if it’s Akiko’s magic ball, they’re still believable. The comedy factor may not send me rolling on he floor laughing like mad by they do provide the necessary comic relief and antics of an all-girl baseball team. Like Noe’s constant big ‘X’ reminder of Tomoe never to hit a homerun during her turn, levelling the passengers in that rickshaw race that made it as though Yuki was overweight and Matsuzaka thought he would be the first person Akiko would hug when he came to her rescue but she hugged Koume instead breaking that old man’s heart.

Though I didn’t turn into a baseball freak, but I realized that while I was watching the teams play, I found myself cheering on both sides in the exciting play. Although I still don’t understand the baseball strategies and other terms, it wasn’t about being a guy or a girl anymore. It was about playing baseball and giving all their best. That’s what got me engaged and glued to the screen. So people please remember, never look down on those deemed to be not good at certain things. They might just rise up to the occasion and beat you at your own game. After watching anime genres with sports that I have no interests in that involves a group of girls, a group of girls in kendo, a group of girls playing mahjong and now a group of girls batting and pitching baseball. What are the chances of me watching a group of girls playing beach volleyball? If there was one anyway. Beach volleyball? A fanservice all-girls team sport series? Come to think of it, it’s something that this series lacks. Well, as long as they look cute and pretty…

Taishou Yakyuu Musume

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