Oblivion Battery – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore April 13, 20240 Comments

What’s it about? In middle school, Kaname Kei and Kiyomine Haruka were a terrifying battery that felled countless hitters. Their dominance of the baseball diamond was so absolute that many of those who faced them quit baseball altogether. All that ended was when a blow to the head gave Kei amnesia, and he forgets everything he knew about catching. Now the two are starting at an unremarkable public high school without a competitive baseball team…

If I had a nickel for every anime MAPPA made about a promising middle school athlete starting high school with amnesia, I’d have two nickels. That’s not a lot, but it’s weird that it’s happened twice.

Oblivion Battery and its amnesiac catcher is based on a manga that started in 2018 and predates 2021’s Re-Main, which is about an amnesiac water polo player, by about three years. I didn’t watch Re-Main, so this is the end of the comparisons I’ll make. And when summer rolls around, I will have watched exactly zero MAPPA anime about high school athletes with amnesia.

Sure, it looks nice. All MAPPA first episodes do. The character animation is excellent, and there’s a lot of care put into the use of light and shadow. (My current bad animation fixation is poor lighting. Once you start noticing, you’ll never stop, and most anime has horribly-done lighting.) But the character designs have a weirdly off quality to them. The proportions are strange – their heads are too small, or maybe their faces? It seems to vary from cut to cut. Or maybe it’s in the fluffiness of their hair. I don’t know, and I don’t care nearly enough to try to figure it out.

I feel sexually harassed by this image

The biggest problem, outside of MAPPA’s horrendous labor practices, is Kaname Kei, our poor bonked catcher. He’s annoying. Incredibly so, even. I’ve endured and even enjoyed a lot of genki sports anime protagonists and I’ve never wanted to throttle one quite like I fondly imagine doing to Kei. The boy whines every time he’s asked to make the slightest effort and is OBSESSED with nipples. The first thing he says when he meets the POV character, Yamada Tarou, is “Nipple hair!” And then when Yamada doesn’t respond he repeats it. And then a third time.

Not even Miyano Mamoru can make this nitwit charming.

…And I really don’t have much else to say. Any other sentiment Oblivion Battery may have incurred in me is completely blocked out by my antipathy for its utter ninny of a protagonist. No amount of jokes about catching and pitching or an opening by Ms. Green Apple (who did the excellent Fire Force opening “Inferno”) could salvage this for me. 

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