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Thursday, April 8, 2010

OOKIKU FURIKABITTE / BIG WINDUP! (2007)


In many ways, this is a typical example of episodic tv anime. The technical limits are largely determined by budget (modest) & subject (High School baseball), but the stylish look is quite handsome. There’s plenty of personality & suspense just following the kids, coaches & games, and by now we’re used to seeing a more-or-less Caucasian look applied to socio-cultural customs that are more-or-less Japanese. (No blacks though. Is that also typical for the format?) The mix of explosive crying and stoic teammates is a little weird, and wait till you hear their idea of a deep-fried Southern accent. But what’s most striking here is just how serious the show is about baseball. The first practice game is shown in something like actual playing time, and there are little technical lectures on ball flight or pitching psychology. Or we might gather round for some team meditation sessions. And all the while a host of teenage phobias play out with the occasional scatological & onanistic comment. (This may give some parents pause.) As anime this is fine, but nothing special; as baseball, it achieves an unprecedented level of serious purpose.

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