I remember how I one had a very strange bias against sports anime. I’m still not sure exactly why it was, but after watching shows as One Outs and Princess Nine, this bias is completely gone. Princess Nine makes baseball look fun.
You shouldn’t go into this series as a baseball-fan, however. At heart, this is a typical shoujo series about a bunch of characters who simply happen to play baseball. If you want baseball action, you should go and watch One Outs. Princess Nine is really about its characters. To give you an indication: episodes 1 to 20 only feature two official baseball matches. The rest of the time is really used to flesh out the cast, and give them depth. It’s a formula that works surprisingly well, although it’s not the most perfect execution.
Nevertheless, the creators succeeded in bringing an entire baseball team alive, including coach and manager. What especially shines is the series’ team spirit, as a baseball team that’s made up of girls tries to break through in a male dominated sport. It’s very well explained: while overblown a bit, but if you take talent from the entire country and gather it in one team, then you’ve got a pretty strong team that’s able to compete with males in a professional level.
The problem with this series come from its shoujo roots. The creators just love to let things play out like a soap opera, by throwing in lots of dramatic plot twists whenever they can. Think of random punks that arrive, just before a male and female character are about to meet each other, and especially the love triangle between the main characters gets a bit too melodramatic as the series goes on.
The series’ finale is without a doubt the weakest point of this series: not only does the love triangle really get in the way of everything that makes the series good, but the creators also tried to stuff an entire tournament in only four episodes. There’s no way to make these short matches have any impact, and so every unnamed player becomes a total noob, rather than the formidable opponents that they were portrayed as in the earlier parts of the series. I also think that the creators made the powers of their female lead a bit too powerful, up to the point that she only throws weak balls when she’s feeling lovesick, rather than standing against powerful opponents.
Nevertheless, I really liked this series, if only because of the downright awesome soundtrack. The creators managed to get the Warshaw Philharmonic Orchestra to perform for this series, and it shows: the soundtrack is rich, varied and epic. The series is most definitely overblown, but the characters nevertheless remain lovable, and of the kind that you can’t help but root for, despite that the matches themselves are perhaps a bit predictable.