Posted by psgels on 14 April 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Next up in the line of very long series that are very long: Touch, a baseball drama that clocks in at 101 episodes, and it was followed by three compilation movies and two more full-length TV-specials (not included for this review, though). The huge length is no reason to get scared off, though, because this movie is not only one of the finest examples of why anime of the eighties rocks, it also still stands rock-solid as one of the best high-school romances I’ve seen.

Because I must say, the creators made optimal use of the long length. The pacing for this show is very slow, but that did result into a cast of some of the most amazing characters. Especially Tatsuya and Minami receive nearly 100 episodes of pure development, that makes their characters SO believable. Each characters has his own strengths and weaknesses and grows in his or her own subtle way.

Which brings me to the second strength of Touch: absolutely nothing feels forced, and yet it’s full of unpredictable plot-twists. The creators have a knack for setting things up very naturally and yet get the best out of the characters while staying light-years away from melodrama. In fact, the big dramatic scenes are always handled with a wonderful sense of subtlety, rather than trying to squeeze as many tears out of the viewer.

But yeah, the downside of this is that this is one tough series to get through, considering the length. There are strings of tens of episodes without any sort of action and that are just focused on very slooowly fleshing out the characters. We get an outstanding view on their lives this way… but many people will find it boring, especially considering the huge length of this show. One of the challenges in storytelling is choosing a good combination between compactness and completeness, and this show might have gone on for a tad too long.

At times, I have been criticized at being a bit too harsh on anime from the seventies and eighties in my reviews, but my point is this: if those ages could produce shows that are as awesome as Touch, then why couldn’t the others have done the same? The only area at which old anime should be inferior to the newer ones is the animation quality (which by the way, for touch looks quite detailed, especially considering its length), but this series more than proves that the seventies and eighties knew more than enough about what it takes to creating an truly outstanding cast of characters.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

14 Responses

  1. Avatar ka says:

    This one has the same creator as Cross Game. I read both mangas, must say I enjoy cross game a lot better :D

  2. Avatar Wiper says:

    Oh, i was sure you’d like it :)
    Touch was the first Adachi work i’ve seen – since then i’ve read/watched most of his creations.
    And if they don’t screw up Cross Game – there is still a hope for an anime with great characters this year :)

  3. Avatar Camario says:

    Glad to know you’ve liked this series that much.

    It’s been a long time since I saw it but Touch is definitely a classic.

    I haven’t started Cross Game yet because I’m assuming it could well turn out to be just as long, so there’s no rush.

  4. Avatar cody says:

    Always wanted to check this out. I’ve got a lot on my plate atm with some series’ I want to finish but I am going to pick this up for sure.

  5. Avatar cody says:

    ps

    Out of curiosity does it go in the order of
    Series
    Movie

    Or is the series the entire thing and the movies are kind of recaps?

  6. Avatar thestation says:

    If you have time enough to watch this, then why not watch NANA xd?

  7. Avatar L189 says:

    Je moet het lekkerste voor het laatste bewaren x”D

  8. Avatar leongsh says:

    @cody: The 3 movies are just the TV series redone into movie format with some changes here and there. Should be watched separately.

  9. Avatar ceillo says:

    I haven’t watched the anime yet, but I’ve read the manga and the rest of Adachi’s works. All the things you said are very similar to thoughts I had with the manga. But I think one of the flaws of Adachi’s works were the lack of impact *wow factor* it may have with the reader. That’s why I think that anime such as Touch won’t be as popular as other sports anime out there. Because unlike other great sports manga like Slam Dunk, themes like friendship, rivalry, competitiveness were not given enough importance to appeal to the sport anime fans.

  10. Avatar petran79 says:

    Though Touch was one of the hit series in Japan and also very popular in the countries it was dubbed (Italy, France, Spain etc), I liked mostly the first season, due to the unexpected ending. The rest was repetitive over and over again, with some games managing to be memorable.

    I’d rate the first season with 85/100, the rest with lower scores but still worth watching.

    Though I have to admit, 100+ anime series is not my cup of tea. Only series I managed to watch were Legend of Galactic Heroes, regarded as the best(and still is for 100+ episode series) and Candy Candy (classic shoujo which I’d watched once on TV and would never rewatch again)

  11. Avatar Nighty says:

    It’s not really fair to make a comparison.

    Touch for one, is Adachi’s breakthrough work and arguably till today, his most popular one by far. It stands out from the rest of other romance stories.

    The ease of access to all animes today, be it good or bad, thus makes comparison far less fair, considering back then had a large number of anime that remains unknown to even the hardcore anime fans today.

  12. Avatar Kadiri says:

    The 80s came out with some really good series… and some really bad ones. I haven’t watched this one yet, but I think i will soon. And then its on to the Macross Universe. XD

  13. Avatar DT says:

    Lol, and here I was about to recommend that you watch Touch after you started blogging Cross Game… looks like you beat me to the punch

  14. Avatar RedMaigo says:

    I first watched Touch early on a Saturday morning while I was in Japan a few years back.

    (Yes they do re-run old anime series in Japan. They were even re-running episodes of Gundam Seed late night when I was there).

    I was flipping through the stations because I was killing time until I left Tokyo for Hakone and I remembered the episode I watched very clearly. It was the one where the two twin brothers had first clashed regarding their feelings for Minami.

    I also remember the incredible ED song and the credits.

    The funny thing is I remembered the episode but not the name of the anime. When I returned home from Japan the anime itself stayed on my mind for months. Finally I found a write up of Touch on ANN and finally found out the name of the show that had intrigued me for so long.

    After that, as they say is history.

    I am not a big sports anime fan. I am a typical geek which means if I see sports anything I usually ignore it.

    Touch was a little different. I still think that it could have been cut down by a cour or two but overall it was a wonderful series.

    Touch has opened me up to a whole new sub-genre of anime that I wouldn’t have given the time of day before and for that I am grateful.

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