We’ve already had a series this season which focuses on boys playing baseball, so why not one about girls playing baseball, too?
That being said, this is an entirely different type of baseball series from Mix. While that one is showing signs of being a light drama, this one is already looking every bit like a natural continuation of the “cute girls do sports” approach that has been cycling through various options for the last decade or so. Unlike some of its predecessors in the genre – Taishō Baseball Girls. and Princess Nine in particular – the girls in this one aren’t looking to make a statement or break gender barriers by forming a team. They aren’t looking to compete against the boys, either. Instead they are looking to operate within their own league. (The opening narration comments that there are now 30 high schools in Japan with girls’ baseball teams.) Furthermore, while the photo shown in the closer strongly suggests that lead girl Tsubasa was a member of a champion youth baseball team, she doesn’t show any indication yet of aiming for anything bigger than just having fun. If that remains the case then this could remain a nice little low-key series.
The set-up for this approach is already being established through the first episode. Nozaki clearly has some ability, especially once she gets the proper glove for being a southpaw, and her timidity is fully relatable; when I first started playing little league, I also had real trouble working up the nerve to swing the bat at first. Watching her eyes almost literally open up to the possibilities and joy of playing baseball was a delight. Painfully shy Ukita, with the signature “I’m still immature” animal ears hood, is more of a work in progress, but seeing her getting involved even a little is also heartening. If the series continues to found itself in warm moments like this then that could also contribute mightily to the series being a success.
At least some conflict does seem to be on the horizon, as Tsubasa didn’t exactly get off to the smoothest start with the Student Council, but beyond them the greatest conflict the series is likely to face for the foreseeable future is getting some more standoffish members to join. I’m also a little bit concerned about the girls being shown playing in skirts (with spats underneath) instead of trousers in the opener, but that’s a quibbling point. Overall, more appreciation for the “cute girls do cute things” genre is probably going to be required here than an actual appreciation for baseball, but either on those merits or as an intro-to-baseball story, the first episode doesn’t fare badly. You can also free Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine (TV) anime watch online and free anime download.
Once again, another by-product of TMS Entertainment's push to have more female-centric "activities" that are dominated by the male species. If you have no idea what I am referring to, go check out last Fall's abysmal "Sora to Umi no Aida" (Between the Sky and Sea). AND, OMG do I really NOT wanna talk about that anime.
As expected of a game adaptation, there isn't any resemblance of the story or plot, because YOU are the player. You help the game characters make out their motivations to keep going, because that is your party of characters whom you are growing together in playing and familiarizing with the mechanics, and aim to be the champion (of sorts). Then roll credits, and that's it. Take that away, and what you have is in-game characters doing YOUR half-assed job.
Before I start my review, a quick shout-out to @El-Random very cleverly dumbing down this female-girlish series and its recycled tropes. Great on you bud if you like it. However I just don't care for the demographics that the staff and the production team are inclinedly pushing us to watch. It just isn't any great.
So I'll mince his words: Sports, starting a new club in school, and the aforementioned CGDCT trope:
1) Sports, clearly male-centric, not because of skill nor prowess but of power. When turned into the female demographic, the so-called "friendship" game and the "serious" tone it gives, just doesn't impact as heavily as it would. And I don't need to fill in the blanks for the end result if all goes wrong.
And also, the sport: Baseball. To be fair, the Women's baseball scene in Japan has gotten a bit more traction than before (and YES, I did my research) with notables and such. But that is within the confines of Japan alone, not even the U.S. Women's baseball scene lasted that long (and feel free to DM me if my research is wrong).
2) -year(s) starting a new club. This is very self-explanatory: Finding like-minded schoolmates, struggling with the school's Student Council for approval, find more schoolmates, explain the sport's rationale and "WikiHow"s of baseball, play ball, enter competition with the motivation of "I want to be the very best, like no one ever was". Honestly, if you ask me, I am seriously getting tired of all these "motivations" that only last as means of a plot device (especially in the 2nd half). So unless the story is any good, just move on.
3) The "Cute Girls Doing Cute (Competitive) Things" trope. Competitiveness is THE word in this anime. However, that feeling and emotion just isn't expressed very well, even if the emptily-action is intense.
And the characters, I get it that such a sport-centric team has to have many players, but the character development is SOOOO one-note and I would gladly just use my mouse cursor and drag them into the "sad-worries-then-happy-emotions" club. The only characters that are easy to follow are the leads which have experience:
Ariharu Tsubasa, the overly-spirited girl with the most optimism. And I swear the Tsubasa name is referenced (if you know which series I'm talking about), and Ryou Shinonome, as expected of a pro player: dealing with the rejects and bearing their amateur antics as a stepping stone.
Other than the standing-out duo, the others are a rag-tag team of misfits and I really applaud them of stepping out of their comfort zone, but that's the good thing about them. Nothing more, nein I say.
For TMS Entertainment and the staff working on this series, getting their asses down properly to deal this anime hasn't really been the best, and the major (but constant) factor is overshadowing of shows. Take the re-adaptation of Fruits Basket for example, and that series just outweighs this anime by ten, no, hundred times. So then, having one of the smaller teams work on this is never an issue for them, however, the small curveball of audience (yes, plus me) is still watching this, and it already seems that they have thrown the bucket even before it ended. And it is quite obvious by the decent art and absolutely horrendous animation to boot. Especially in a sports series, where there are plentiful action scenes, it just doesn't sync well and more often than not, there are more static than moving animations that irk me unsurprisingly.
Well, at least the music's decent, or rather, overused emotional-centric and generic BGM. At times I feel it, and at times I lose it. Props for giving the "best" effort. As for the theme songs, the OP is decent, and the ED being a cover from another person's work, they're just...OK sounding. Like it or not, generic as molasses.
In the end, I firmly agree that this show has its ups and downs, but it's not something I would vehemently, or rather, casually, ask people to try out this anime. Nothing is ever too great for the masses, and while being a criminally underrated show, it quickly loses its shine once you dive in too deep in that rabbit hole that is just as easy as getting out from there.
So, just don't watch this. There are better ones at every corner that you can reach.