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Gurazeni: Money Pitch (Seasons 1 & 2)
(Rent- or Watch+)|
(All episodes watched):
This is a show which seemed at first to be more about the finances and career plans of the protagonist than about what happens on the playing field itself. What goes on behind the scenes in Japanese MLB, basically. It was kind of interesting and amusing; we get a good introduction to the main character and therefore can care about whether he succeeds or fails. He's a likeable guy, not cynical or anything like that, but is under no illusions regarding how his future will work out. It turns out that there isn't really much of a longterm plot about how Bonda will, as the subtitle 'money pitch' suggested, discover some sort of brilliant, unhittable pitch that would turn his career around or anything like that. The show is just about a number of little stories regarding life as a baseball player. Guest characters come and go, while Bonda is the one ongoing thread. Actually, the show isn't all that much about Bonda himself; he sometimes is a minor character in a short story about someone else, like the American player 'Thomas'. For me, the show seemed to be balanced precariously on the line between watch and don't watch shows. It has some life and cleverness to it, but it wasn't terribly funny. If I didn't have a modest interest in baseball I probably would have quit watching; even though I do, I tended to think of it as a sort of show that I wanted to get over with so that I can watch something better afterwards. But it's also a show which has dared to try a fresh premise, and has some unique style, so I felt a certain duty to watch. And I learned a little about differences between Japanese baseball and the American version, which was sort of fun (though they seem to have far more in common--like players going back and forth between major league and minor league teams--than differences). I'd been wondering why a cute girl appears in the OP and ED sequences but had made no appearance before the final episode; she finally does then, in one of the best episodes: Bonda likes her, but she turns out to be a fervent fan of an opposing team. The episode ends much as the first one began, which struck me as a clever trick; a sort of 'life goes on' reminder. I was left feeling good about this show, and if a second season ever is made, I think I would watch it as well.
Indeed, a second season began in October 2018, and it seems indistinguishable from the first (although the different animation of the ED sequence, namely the breakdancing by Spiders celebrities, was good). Episode one is about how Bonda was out of the lineup for four month due to an injury. Then there's an arc of two or three episodes in which he helps a player who has been called up from the minor leagues but doesn't seem to be taking the game seriously. In episode five Bonda gets slightly drunk and says some things he shouldn't while being interviewed on the radio. Then there's the arc where the color commentator gets engaged without knowing that he's about to be fired, which it would seem is considered a fate worse than death in Japan. In the last two episodes Bonda takes on the problem that we began season one with, namely his meager pay. I thought this was a clever move which gave the two-season series as a whole a well-rounded, complete feel. As with season one, you might say that this is a show which isn't uproariously funny, but it is funny enough and I felt that it would be a shame not to watch a show with this sort of originality.
My favorite line: "Dance with me, SHADOW MONSTER tonight".
Last updated Friday, January 04 2019. Created Wednesday, April 25 2018.