Posted by SuperWooper on 29 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mix

I missed last week’s post due to a temporary Hearthstone addiction, so here’s a doubleheader for you. These episodes stepped away from the show’s recent focus on romance and character building, opting to broaden the cast in preparation for the East Tokyo summer tournament. Episode 13 actually covers the opening innings of Meisei’s first game, and I have to acknowledge some disappointment at the return to the baseball diamond. It’s a sweet sort of disappointment, though, as I’d been afraid near the start of the series that sports would be the show’s greatest strength. Knowing that the characters are carrying things can propel me through some of the less impressive baseball scenes, which are plagued by static shots and oppressive lighting. Mix’s visual limitations become even clearer when you realize that it refuses to depict characters running the basepaths, cutting directly to the moments when they’re called out by the base umps. Cross Game wasn’t much of a looker either, if I recall – guess I’ve become more critical since then.

The rest of these two episodes make up for the show’s so-so presentation, though. The Tachibana brothers (or Tachibros, as I’ve taken to calling them in my notes) were in fine form for both installments, particularly Souichiro, who’s becoming one of my favorite characters despite the show’s clear Touma bias. His secret desire to pitch may be temporarily squashed as we enter sports anime mode, but the show’s commitment to the story is clear at this point. Coach Goro directly encourages him to pursue the position in episode 12, but Sou is convinced that his brother wouldn’t lose the ace spot so easily. His previous observation that Touma’s ability was buoyed by his own skill as a catcher speaks to his confidence, but that’s one challenge he’s not ready to face yet. Still, he’ll challenge Touma to rock-paper-scissors to use the bath, then offer him the spot without even looking at the result; he’s not above pushing his brother’s buttons regarding their RPS history. The brothers’ reaction to Haruka’s scouting report in the following episode was also quite entertaining. One couldn’t be bothered to read the hefty document, while the other instantly memorized it and used the opportunity to flirt. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which was which.

“Lightly” was most notable for its focus on Meisei High’s past. We finally got the story of Sou and Otomi’s father, the man who took up the mantle of starting pitcher after the school’s miracle run 30 years ago. Though his career was cut short by injury, I can’t say I felt much for the guy, as I’d rather follow the story developing in the current day. It was nice that Otomi got to talk about her dad with a classmate’s mother for a bit, though, especially in the wake of her regret from two weeks ago. As for the story developing in the here and now, much of it centers on Tomohito Akai, power hitter for Kenjo High and older brother to Ryou (the heartthrob of Otomi’s ninth grade class). Tomohito has a massive chip on his shoulder, shooting down Arisa’s attempt to give flowers to his brother and criticizing him for taking too long to deliver a package to Kenjo’s campus during after school practice. It’s Touma who steps in during his terrible treatment of Arisa, setting up their rivalry both on and off the field, but I’m more interested in Ryou’s side of things here. There’s a scene between him and Otomi where she broaches the subject of their difficult relationship, but his reluctance to respond informs us that there’s a bigger story there. I’m looking forward to learning the details of that story in the coming weeks.

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