Posted by psgels on 25 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

Series about girls’ baseball teams that challenge male baseball teams are nothing new. Princess Nine did this before. Still, Taishou Yakyuu Musume tries to bring in a bit of a twist with its setting: the 1920s. it’s a very nice setting for a feminist series to explore the struggles of a team of girls to be accepted in a male-dominated sport.

When you look at the baseball in this series however, it unfortunately ends up shallow. It isn’t about girls defeating boys. My problem with this series is that more than half of the members of this series’ baseball team start out as complete noobs, and yet they suddenly grow strong enough to be just as good as a team of guys who have been training for their entire lives. I mean, I don’t mind feminism at all (in fact, it’s much better than the alternative and turning females into simple damsels in distress), but that’s no reason to deus ex machina your characters into talented players.

When you look past the baseball however, you’ve got a pretty enjoyable series. This series is actually mostly slice of life, with only a few episodes dedicated to baseball matches, and the slice of life is definitely the most enjoyable part in this series. The characters all have their charms and are enjoyable to watch, and the plot provides interesting situations that shape their characters.

But yeah, that’s nice and all but this remains a 12-episode series with more than fifteen major characters. there’s no way to flesh out all of them, and so a lot of characters remain underdeveloped even though they have quite a bit of potential. Still, at least the two lead characters have enough charms to save this series and while they have a few stereotypes here and there they’re fleshed out nicely, and are able to carry this series as lead characters.

Sure, this series isn’t anything special, but it’s the kind of series you watch on a rainy day. It’s very enjoyable, and even the baseball matches aren’t anything bad if you can swallow the unrealistic skills of the girls. It’s always good for a light watch, and this show really knew what it was.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Shippoyasha says:

    I have to disagree with this review. Because sometimes, it’s not always about ‘fleshing out a character’. This was more about the experience of the girls in general, hanging out in the 1910’s. I thought there were so many cute and funny segments, it made up for the lack of seriousness and/or fleshing out the characters.

    At least it has lovable characters. I can’t say that for most anime.

  2. Avatar AlexS says:

    It’s often hard to review a series without spoiling it, and its an aspect reviewing you are usually very careful about. This review however completely drops the ball: Ok, you do not literally spell out the end of the series, but the main point is spoiled and your description steals the thunder of the dramatic arc. I was particularly badly bitten since I read the review halfway through viewing the anime, so I’m not simply voicing an abstract opinion, but describing how it went for me.

    I won’t mention anything more specific, in case you modify the review to remove the spoiler. Other than that I agree with most of what you said, except about the large cast (where I second the first comment). It’s nice when short series have a laser sharp focus on one or two characters, as in Koi Kaze, and pull out something meaningful and rich out of it. But it does not mean that it always have to be so. I also like anime that show an universe bigger than what could possibly be described in the story itself, and where the protagonists are not the only interesting people, but just happen to be the focus of this particular story. Insipid, static and transparent side characters are a pain, I much prefer an interesting side character that primes your imagination to fill the blanks, if you care to do so.

    The only problem comes when side characters are much more interesting than the protagonist, to the point where they hurt the story development, or cause you to wish skipping the protagonist (this is why I abhor the male lead typical of harem series). I saw nothing of that in this case, the cast was large, but we got the story of the protagonists.

    As for my appreciation, I found that the interesting aspects of the anime are also what caused it to sag during the second part. The description of the taishou era was definitely interesting, but this mostly disappears during the second part, where you get the usual summer camp/hot springs/antics fare that I have gotten sick of. I mean, it just looked like Aoi Hana 2. They could have made something more original with that time period.

    I also liked the feminist approach, but would have liked if the characters were somewhat more gritty and grounded in their historic period, and suffered less from cliched feel good developments. Sometimes the girls were really in danger of falling into the moe blob syndrom (at least close to my tolerance levels), which is ironic when you have an equal gender agenda. Not to mention that the ways the different characters managed their prejudices ended up feeling shallow and unrealistic. Nevertheless it was a commendable effort, and I realize the creators were trying their best. I was happy to see this anime, despite being disappointed by the second half.

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