What’s it about? Yomi and Tamaki are childhood friends who promised they’d play baseball together when they grew up. The two meet again in high school and find they’ve still got passion for the sport, but their school’s team is out of commission!
First things first: please get these girls some pants. Can’t we all agree to baseball uniform designs a small step above the decade that brought us this hiring guide? Please, I’m begging you. They’re going to tear the shit out of their legs sliding into base, and this show doesn’t have the budget to show that. Think of the animators.
I suppose I should be grateful they’re playing in shorts rather than skirts.
That aside, while I wouldn’t count on this being a very deep series given that baseball requires a nine-person team and this is only a single-cour show, this has the makings of a perfectly serviceable mid-tier sports anime. The premiere does a good job setting up Yomi’s passion and the amount of effort she puts in to developing her killer pitch, as well as setting up from the get-go why having one uber-talented player is less important than a team that’s there for one another.
The requisite shipping fodder is here as well. Yomi’s reaction to being reunited with Tamaki is to launch into an embrace and wax poetic about the latter’s familiar scent. This is a perfectly common thing that platonic friends do with one another, presumably, in this universe where it is a good idea to wear shorts while playing baseball.
Manager-to-be Yoshino is from the “unthinkingly touchy-feely” school of archetypes, but the show is downright admirably restrained in how it handles her fangirling. In fact, the episode is overall fanservice-free. While the character designs are somewhat generic, they also have slightly stockier designs reminiscent of the mid-2000s that put a bit more emphasis on stronger-looking legs.
That said, there are still some pretty glaring limitations. Yoshino grasps Yomi’s hand and marvels at how hardened and callused it is from pitching and it… looks exactly like every other character’s hands. The episode’s game of catch also leans heavily on lead-up and reaction shots, saving its one or two fully drawn throws for maximum effect.
The animation works for a fairly short sequence, but without exceptionally creative direction it could quickly grow stale when the show is asked to depict an entire game. The combination of character design sameface with an inevitably large cast also means the writing will have to work hard to make its characters memorable. And there are, of course, the outright baffling choices, like the fact that there are so many Dutch angles it makes Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables look restrained.
While I doubt the yuri elements of the show will move past shiptease (what would a sports show survive on if not for gallons of unconfirmed shipping bait?), the field is barren enough of women-fronted sports series that I’m willing to give it a three-episode try. But in a season with a lot of promising titles, I don’t foresee this one making the cut for most non-sports fans.