|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Taishou Yakyuu Musume
Taisho Baseball Girls had an interesting premise that worked quite well, and while not perfect, the series did well at getting my interest throughout its 12-episode run. Taking a slice-of-life focus, the series focuses on Koume and Akiko's struggles to start a girl's baseball team going against the expected gender roles of their time period. The norms and Western influence of 1920s Japan are evident in this show with girls switching over to Western-style clothes for school uniforms, the recent coming of baseball to the country and many of the older generation raising their children to the traditional norms that they were raised with. The cast have diverse personalities to admire and the comedy is subtle enough where it's down-to-earth and not seeming over the top. The series does well at focusing between the improvements of the girl's baseball team and the regular days of the era that they deal with from dealing with arranged marriages to the filming of a movie in town.|
Unfortunately, the show's length and its light-hearted take on events in the series do work against it keeping me from giving it a Buy. Being only at 12 episodes, the series has little time to focus on every character we come across as major players like Koume and Akiko get their focus while secondary ones like Shizuka and Tamaki get reduced depth once they are introduced to the series. Not to mention that major scenes of conflict between characters in the series, especially in the final episodes, get resolved too easily which kills some of the believability of seeing Taisho Baseball Girls. Another major gripe I'd have to make would have to do with the background art. The drab colors and sketch-like lining of environments don't really clash well with the decent character designs made for the series.
Despite these gripes, Taisho Baseball Girls did do well enough at keeping me hooked with the struggles and developments facing the girl's baseball team. While not matching up to the quality of Spice and Wolf II, it's still one of the better 2009 titles that I have come across.
Last updated Sunday, December 06 2009. Created Sunday, December 06 2009.
Taishou Yakyuu Musume
Very high cuteness factor and might be a little 'young' for some, but it is interesting to see the depictions of the era's social norms and conflicts. The Taishou era was the years between the Meiji and Shouwa periods, when western influence continued to infiltrate Japanese society and democratic forms of government started to take root.
Last updated Sunday, July 26 2009. Created Sunday, July 26 2009.
Taishou Yakyuu Musume
(All episodes watched):|
This was a fun show which began with a goofy tour of 1925 Tokyo. The girls must cope with the values of that era, when a girl so much as running to make it to school on time is considered shameful, much less playing baseball. I got an especially good laugh out of the first episode incident in which several curious schoolgirls watch a boy's ballgame and discover what can go wrong with the sport. Episode one left me uncertain whether Taisho BGs would be brilliant, but it seemed not to set its sights too high and be amusing and entertaining, especially if you are interested in history like I am.
Likewise, I thoroughly enjoyed episode two. The fact that this is a series with an unconventional premise, and some talent was employed in the writing, means it is unpredictable and interesting. There is no harem, no magical girls, no significant fanservice--the only genre this could conform to would be sports shows, and even then the setting 84 years ago gives it a fresh spin. Episode two left this show looking like possibly one of my favorites of the Summer season.
In episode three the team gets tentative permission from the school administrators, in part by presenting itself as an instrument for constructive westernization. Also, a practice game is arranged with a boy's team, with predictable results. The whimsical nature of the show, the underdog spirit of the team members, the obstacles they must overcome, everything kept me interested and entertained. I would say that by this point this was definitely my favorite new show of the summer season.
Although it didn't leave me rolling on the floor, the comedy in this show seems to be of a skillful sort. For instance, the visual jokes in episode five showing the girls in their exhausted state after practice. In episode six the team finds that beggars can't be choosers when searching for another team which will play practice games with them. I was amused by the technique used to instill cohesion between the pitcher, Akiko, and catcher, Koume. The radical improvement which the team experienced overnight as a result of this and other measures was hard to believe, but this is basically a funny show and doesn't need to make complete sense. Koume being informed of her parents' choice of her husband was intriguing; all part of a fun and unusual story.
Episode seven, involving the mysterious "street batters", was probably my favorite so far. These are suspicious masked people who confront secondary school baseball players in alleys after dark and challenge them to an impromptu match. Based on all the average quality anime I've watched, I assumed that not much would be made of this bizarre premise, but in fact this was an original and quite funny episode. I can't help sensing unusual talent at work behind the scenes at Taishou Girls, whether it was in a manga, the anime adaptation, or both.
Episode nine featured the common comedy gag of a misunderstanding in which Koume and her parents are talking about two completely different things yet the words they choose seem to make sense either way. I felt some genuine sympathy for Saburo, Koume's sort-of fiance. It looks like the climax of the series will be a rematch against the team which trounced the girls the first time around. I like the inclusion of 1920's bits like the men calling upon people to extinguish all fires at night just in case an earthquake should strike.
Episode ten, about the girls going to a sort of training camp for two weeks, seemed kind of lame at first but I was LOLing repeatedly in the second half. What other show will give you girls in a hotspring yet not even displaying their cleavage? That's why TYM has a sort of innocence to it, which is appropriate for it's historical setting and sets it apart from the fanservice laden shows which are standard issue nowadays. Also unusual is the genuine sense of tension as Koume and Akiko race to make it to the critical game on time; a real-live story has been developed, not just the usual token plot among mediocre filler episodes.
The conclusion was a little disappointing. On the one hand it didn't end in a corny manner, like the girls narrowly pulling off a victory in the bottom of the ninth, which was admirable. On the other there was surprisingly little sexual prejudice evident at this stage, which it had seemed was going to be the main point of the story. Koume's problem with her arranged marriage was resolved fairly well but Akiko's was not. And the episode ended abruptly without time for much catharsis (although there is another bit after the credits). Neither a very good nor very bad climax, I guess. But the series as a whole was fun and I'll be rewatching it someday. The thoughts that come to mind about Taishou BGs as a whole are those of an unusual, clever, humorous story which I'm glad to have watched.
My favorite line: "If some weirdo gets into the head of a girl who's not of age yet, that's bad" --Koume's Father
Last updated Friday, October 30 2009. Created Thursday, July 16 2009.
|Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/taisho/|