It's the first game of the season, and the newly formed
baseball team from Nishiura
High School is
against last year's champions. Can
Mihashi, the insecure star pitcher, handle the pressure?
Can viewers keep their interest when this animated
match lasts as long as a real baseball game (11 episodes)?
Those are the questions we find ourselves
asking going into the second, and final, volume or Big Windup.
Mihashi was the
starting pitcher on his middle school baseball team, but the only
reason he got
that position was because his grandfather was the owner of the school. Ridiculed and ostracized by his teammates,
the team looses every single game for the three years running. Wanting to get away from the teammates who
hate him, Mihashi decides to go to a public high school, Nishiura.
The school is starting their baseball team, all the members
are freshman, and when Mihashi shows up at the diamond during practice
drafted as the pitcher. There he meets
Abe, a great catcher who came from a school with a prestigious baseball
team. Abe soon realizes that though
Mihashi doesn't have much speed in his throws, he has amazing control. He can throw an entire game and still plant
the ball just where he wants it to be.
With Abe's skill at reading batters and Mihashi's precision,
team may just have a chance.
The last set ended just as the big game against Tosei Academy
was getting underway, and it's an important game. Not
only is it the first game of the season,
but it could be their last since they have entered a single elimination
tournament. (What?? Why would they run
the season like that? 75% of the teams would play 2 games AT MOST in a
year! That's idiotic.)
Naturally Mihashi is a bit nervous, but he's
more excited than anything else. The
rest of the team seems calm too, but that's only until they start
playing. Tosei didn't win the whole event
for nothing, and they're still quite a team.
And that's pretty much what happens in this 12-episode
set. They play one baseball game. Let me state that in another way:
This animated baseball game lasts longer than
many professional baseball games! I
wasn't a huge fan of the first volume, but in this second half of the
the pace slows to an incredible crawl.
If you're looking for fast paced sports action, look somewhere
So how do they draw this out, making each inning last more
than an episode (on average)? Well, they
focus on the batter trying to read the pitcher and predict what type of
he'll throw. "Let's see... for the last
batter he threw a fastball, a slider, a curve ball and then another
ball. I wonder if he's been saving his
fork ball for me?" If that dialog has
you on the edge of your seat wondering if the next pitch is a fork
out and get this set. If your reaction,
like mine, was 'get on with it and throw the ball' then this isn't the
The second half of this series, 12 episodes, is included in
this set. They are on two DVDs which
come in a single width keepcase.
Unfortunately the discs are overlapping on the right page. I'm not a fan of that style, but I can live
This disc offers the both the original Japanese soundtrack
in stereo and an English dub in 5.1. I
greatly preferred the Japanese track. The
English dub features a couple of fake accents in minor characters, but
importantly Mihashi's whining is so irritating in English that I could
stand it. He whines in Japanese too but
when he does it's not nearly so bad. In
English I really feel like punching him just to shut the guy up. In addition to that though the English dub
5.1 the show didn't make use of the rear speakers very often.
The full frame image looks pretty good. The
lines were tight and the colors were
solid. There was some aliasing in the
program though, mainly in the background, and some minor banding mainly
scenes where the sky in prominent.
Overall this is a nice looking show, though not exceptional.
There isn't much in the way of extras. The
set only contains a pair of clean songs
and some trailers.
Of the 12 episodes included in this set 11 of them, over
four hours (!), involve just one baseball game.
*Yawn* I thought the first set
was below average because the main character is such an unappealing
he still is) but this is ridiculous. A
distinct step down from the first have, otaku should just skip this. There
are many better sports anime shows available.