Posted by SuperWooper on 11 August 2019 with categories: Finished Series: Sports, Mix

We’ve reached the midpoint of the summer season, and while plenty of new shows have started spinning their wheels already, Mix has managed to stay steady. Think of all the sports series that enter tournament mode, and suddenly it’s nonstop matches until the starring team either makes an early exit or wins the whole thing. Now consider Mix’s approach in these two episodes. One of them abbreviates a spectacular no-hitter by focusing on the series’ ensemble cast; the other divorces itself from the summer tournament entirely by dialing in on a middle school romance. This will be uncharted territory for some baseball anime enthusiasts, but even those of us who watch for the character drama could be thrown by these decisions. Mix doesn’t care one whit about expectations, though, having been written by a man with a time-tested formula. Though Adachi’s characters often seem to be mirror images of those from his past works, he clearly cares about all of them, since he’s willing to sacrifice tournament time to shine a light on even minor players in the overall story.

Episode 17 is definitely the more conventional of the two episodes, despite its packing of a fiery pitching performance into a few short minutes. Baseball drives the bulk of the conversation, including some Souichiro/Haruka banter during a scouting mission. Sou is usually a smooth dude (recall his casual expression of interest in episode 13), but Haruka shuts down his “couple” talk so firmly that I had to feel for the guy. Even big, hulking Nanchan, who also has his eye on Haruka, offers him a pity drink when he sees how poorly they get along. The interesting thing about their lack of chemistry is the effect it has on Sou outside the romantic sphere. With all the recent talk about trying his hand at pitching, he must have been reconsidering his relationship with Touma (who Haruka is obviously into). When he has the startling realization that their glass-half-full personalities are a perfect match, it’s not their potential romance that worries him, but his own compatibility with Touma. After all, they’re not just brothers, but also battery mates.

The Tachibana bros were mostly on the same page after that, probably riding the high of Touma’s no-hitter, but I do wonder whether a little crack has formed in their bond. If the show plans to address the question, though, it certainly isn’t in any hurry, as the next episode was largely an Otomi/Ryou affair. Everybody else made an appearance, but their low key bowling date was the centerpiece. If I make my usual observation about the muddiness of Ryou’s family situation, I’ll sound like a broken record… but honestly, it was on my mind the entire time! The show even gave us a second scene between Tomohito and Arisa, and didn’t follow up on it, opting instead for clumsy bowling pin metaphors and Natsuno being typically useless. Please, Mr. Tokyo Ghoul Director, diverge from the source material just once and give us the scoop on Tomohito’s brutish behavior. Nobody in the west actually watches Mix, so you won’t get any shit from us if it goes south! Jokes aside, I hope it isn’t a simple case of the older brother’s anger at Ryou for letting his natural baseball ability lie dormant. That would be disappointing, but after the batting cage duel with Natsuno, it’s looking more likely. Guess I’ll just pray for good execution when the clarifying moment finally arrives.

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