At only 12 years old, Takumi Harada is already hailed as a prodigious baseball pitcher. But when his family moves to the backwater town of Nitta, Takumi has no choice but to join his new school's unskilled baseball team. This development has little effect on the boy, as he believes it is more interesting if this no-name club becomes a powerhouse due to his presence. However, due to his overwhelming talent, Takumi is in need of a catcher able to keep up with his pitches.
His worries are soon put to rest after meeting Gou Nagakura. As his fan and fellow student, Gou is eager to prove that he is not a simple braggart, but rather a player skillful enough to catch Takumi's pitches. Amid struggling to form a "battery" with Gou, Takumi comes into conflict with his new teammates due to his irreverent personality but grapples to find the true joy of the sport under his grandfather's guidance.
Every so often comes along an Anime within the sports genre which gives us more fun games to explore and exciting moments to look forward to, but how often do we get a sports Anime that goes slightly beyond the standard. One that attempts to push the envelope, one that tries to introduce a thought provoking idea, all the while presenting its sport of choice by its side and using it as an enhancement to its overall storytelling. Battery… Was ‘supposed’ to be one of those shows.
One thing that I strongly feel a need of getting out before anything else is that this may or
may not be the kind of Anime you’d expect or hope it to be. What I mean when I say that is, it’s not the standard hype-inducing kind of sports Anime that focuses most of its matter into the game being played. Battery chooses to use baseball as more of a platform, it’s a medium through which the Anime presents its story. Thus it doesn’t really focus on the game itself very much.
So what is it really about then? Well it’s actually more of a drama and focuses heavily on the interaction between its characters which also makes it rather difficult to say if it really even has much of a ‘story’ per se. It provides a general setting to which like I mentioned before; the characters are what provide most of the material. That being said, quite sadly, it doesn’t manage to carry itself all that well. The kind of situations that are presented to us and the drama that comes along with it feel… well… Pointless. It’s like a struggle that feels like it could’ve been told better but the drama just feels so empty and everything feels so bland that it’s hard to really care much about anything that goes.
It’s quite obvious that a bigger topic is trying to be discussed behind the innocent front of a baseball show but it’s just too bad that the message doesn’t properly come across unless you genuinely make an effort to really reach out for it.
Art and Animation:
The art is rather plain but it’s not dull in any way. The color pallet used adds a soothing feel to the visuals which compliments the overall look of the show quite well. As far as the animation is concerned, it’s rather ordinary. At times the quality of animation does seem to increase where needed, such as during the scenes when a baseball game is being played and there’s a need to showcase the swift movements by the players, but overall the animation stays somewhat chunky for almost the entirety of the show and never actually impresses.
Like most of its other aspects, the soundtrack also has a pleasantly soothing touch to it and as a whole, the musical score is quite nice but unfortunately there’s only a select few tracks in total and even those are hardly used. Most of the show goes by without the use of much music, which wouldn’t be a problem if the show somehow fills in by the use of natural sound effects. Unfortunately with the type of show this is, most of those scenes just feel empty without a soundtrack. There’s not much life to them.
The opening and ending sequences were both really well done. The songs along with the visuals were very nice and did a really good job of setting the tone and atmosphere for the show itself.
Like I mentioned earlier, Battery focuses more on its characters and the interactions between them. For the most part, we’re shown characters that slowly grow as events go by and their growth is presented in an ever so subtle manner that you really begin to appreciate it for what it is, until… when it’s all said and done, there’s no real sense of achievement. You feel like the characters came ways but never really found anything in the end. While there were some things to be had by the end, they all just feel so insignificant that you could hardly even care.
More than often, when it came to the characters, it just felt like the show left you in the dust. At times they even felt lifeless or as if they had no emotions whatsoever. It’s hard to really tell what’s going on in their heads or what exactly their stance is on numerous occasions. Like with other parts of this show, it was just unable to come across properly.
It was quite evident that Battery attempted to tell a deeper story than what was portrayed or perceived, but it’s exactly because of the lackluster presentation that the deeper part of the show was unable to surface properly. An attempt at making a more natural and pleasant kind of atmosphere for the show backfired and ended up making the show really bland and unengaging.
I should also mention that even though the show doesn’t focus on baseball as a game all that much, the parts where the characters are shown playing the baseball matches were possibly some of the most boring moments in the show. An entire match lasts for a few minutes and there’s absolutely no direction as to how it’s played out or what goes on in between the occasional frames with pitches and swings. There’s hardly ever even any sign of emotions by our characters during it all.
Conclusion and Verdict:
While Battery seemed to have a nice start and a fairly good idea, it was unable to carry it all the way till the end. It failed as a sports Anime and didn’t really manage to stand out much as a drama either. With a rather empty plot and difficult characters, it lacked anything for viewers to truly take away.
I wouldn’t really stop anyone from watching the show, but chances are; even if you aren’t turned off by the blandness of the show, you’ll probably just end up bored halfway through anyways.
Baseball is a great sport. It's the kind of sport that can be modified to fit the capabilities of whatever type of player is playing, something humans of all shapes and sizes can enjoy. However, when comparing it to other sports on TV, in most cases, the action is severely lacking. Summer 2016's 'Battery' takes boring to a whole new level.
Our protagonist, a cocky, arrogant brat who was already good at baseball before the show begins moves into a new town and joins the baseball team. He's a dick to everyone there, even his partner and brother. People don't
like him at first and go as far as whipping him but they all eventually grow to because he's good at baseball and had already created enough needless drama. They play a good school. The end.
I told you it contains spoilers right? Jeez, you shouldn't have started reading if you didn't want the whole plot explained, iiiidiot.
In all seriousness, Battery has no development whatsoever, and ends exactly where it started. Not ideal, especially for sport anime, but it has been proven to work before. In Battery's case, it does not. The only thing happening between point A and point B is a bit of baseball and drama created between Harada and friends. But that's how it's supposed to be. Boring as it is, Battery is down-to-earth unlike many other anime, and is a refreshing change needed every once and a while. While some people may disagree with me here, I think Battery was a very levelheaded show that was nice to just sit down and watch. For most people. though, it probably won't be your cup of tea.
The thing that pushed Battery into the realistic zone was this. The animation isn't very good and, actually, the art isn't either. That said, it fits the style of anime and achieves exactly what it could within it's limits. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Seeing as there is barely any sound in Battery anyways, I had to dig deep just to hear it play... and was it worth it? Well... not really. Though they may be pleasant to listen to, the OST, OP and ED are just there because it would be weird if they weren't. The sound affects don't help that much, contributing virtually nothing aloft the norm. The voice acting then becomes the major factor in sound, which usually backfires if you rely solely on seiyuu to get into their roles. Battery didn't have this quandary. The voice acting is great for the main characters and the protagonist's family, and while lackluster side characters drag it down quite a bit, the vocalization is still amiable.
Just like the voice actors and animation, the characters just feel like an excuse to drive the plot in a way to create as much drama as possible without straying from it's element of realism. Takumi Harada, our protagonist, is quite the querulous guy. He has an obsession towards baseball and is just a total jerk to anyone and everyone, even his own teammates, only agreeing with them when things go his way. There really is not much more to say that hasn't already been summed up.
+Realistic art style
+Decent voice acting for the main characters
-No plot or character development
-Baseball is not a good TV sport
-Art and Sound are only sufficient not good
-Main character is annoying
-Side characters are boring
-Other main characters will argue with Takumi, but he eventually wins even if he's wrong
Battery is a good anime to kick back, relax, and just enjoy. But that's not the anime most people are looking for, especially in the sports genre. Even if you DID want an anime to kick back and relax to though, there are much better choices than this. Another one bites the dust.
Baseball seems to be one of those sports where you either enjoy it like the most exciting thing in the world or finds it as boring as watching paint dry. I’ll be honest here, Battery can give off a similar feel. And it’s not just about what the show is but rather what the storytelling can really tell about itself.
First of all, the show focuses on a guy named Takumi Harada. He’s a 6th grader with a prestigious talent in pitching and had to transfer to a new school in the countryside because of his brother’s sickness. No problem right? In fact, Takumi sees this
more as an opportunity to make his skills even more well-known to the new community. Reality kicks in hard and he realizes that his new teammates doesn’t really acknowledge his new talent. However, there is one guy named Go Nagakura who does admire him and wants to form a partnership as a way to demonstrate both of their talents. The show tells of their story in this small town and I have to be honest, it’s not the usual type of sports series you’ll expect.
Based off of the novel by Atsuko Asano, Battery embraces its cast of characters rather than the storytelling. Expecting a lot of baseball games or a tournament to chronicle their journey? Look elsewhere. With that being said, Battery shines the most when it focuses on characterization. First, there’s Takumi, the protagonist although some may see more as a form of anti-hero. After all, the guy is narcissistic and often focuses on himself rather than on others. The first few episodes establishes him as someone who wants to show off his talent without working cooperatively with his teammates. He cares more about baseball than anything else, even more at times than his own family as evidenced by some of the conversations with his mother. As such, Takumi doesn’t earn the respect of most of the team and pays hard for it later. It’s mostly his attitude that causes his teammates and even his coach to dislike him. Because in Takumi’s mind, baseball is a lot about winning than having fun.
On the other hand, Go Nagakura is an interesting anti-thesis of Takumi. Unlike him, he wants to cooperate with others as a catcher. In addition, Go is mostly obedient towards others and doesn’t act like a brat. While Takumi isn’t necessarily childish, his antics of showing off doesn’t please his teammates. He has the sort of ego that can really influence a game outcome as baseball isn’t a game about just one person. It’s about the whole team and literally impossible for a single person to carry it.
You can expect by now that character relationships is a main dynamic in the show. Takumi’s relationships with the majority of the characters has a rocky start. These include Go, his family (mother and grandfather), and even to his extend his own brother. Although there are times when Takumi shows a softer side, the majority of the show depicts him as a narcissist. Because of that, Takumi’s position on the team lands him enemies such as vice president Eiji Nobunishi. It’s also worth remembering that Takumi is the new kid in town so he hardly has any friends so it’s easy for others to gang up and bully him. The only savior that comes to help him is Go but their relationship isn’t exactly the best of friends either. It gets more complex than that actually as Eiji is jealous of Takumi for his accomplishments. And you know these days, youths like him would like to use fists to do their talking. So in essence, Takumi’s personality become his own weakness while his strength lies in his raw talent. However, is it really his strength? Even the school boards seems to side with the other teammates than himself and Go can’t stand his personality either. The relationship between him and Go gets fairly complex as it often shifts trust and distrust. In retrospect, you should expect a lot of character drama from Battery. And it doesn’t subside either when rivals enter the story from another school later on.
So yes, the main course of Battery is pretty much a drama. It’s more of a character drama as by the pacing, there isn’t much baseball games going around. In fact, an actual exhibition match takes place around mid-season, after almost 6 episodes. As a 1-cour show (the standard Noitamina 11/22 length), there’s definitely some concern about the pacing. Furthermore, I think the show puts an overwhelming amount of time into Takumi’s personality. It’s like the show continuously builds up about his skills more and more, to a point where viewers will find it about as irritating as his teammates. To me, that can be quite nerve wrecking.
Animated by Zero-G, the show is pretty good at conveying its realism. The setting is atmospheric especially with its countryside feel. However, I do have to say that some of the characters are misrepresented by their designs. They look older than middle schoolers. Still, the show’s visual quality is acceptable although not overly impressive either.
It’s interesting to note that soundtrack plays a minor factor because of the lack of OST during the majority of the show. That type of quietness further enhances the realism feel though. The OP and ED theme songs are smooth with a harmonious rhythm. However, it’s the character voice mannerism that really stands out. Takumi’s voice really makes him sound like a brat, the type you can’t stand if you’re near him. His personality is portrayed pretty well if you just hear him talk for even less than 30 seconds. Other characters are less noticeable with their voices except for their more dramatic moments.
Battery is the type of show that will test your patience. My initial expectation of the show is more of a mixture between baseball games and realistic drama. However, it’s easily recognizable that the show is more about character drama than a baseball tournament. There are actually games being played but that isn’t the main emphasis. This isn’t Ace of Diamond.
(To make this short, the opening is the only thing that saved this show).
At first, I thought Battery would be another sport anime, following the same path as, almost, every sport story out there, but, all in all, you would still enjoy it.
I was wrong.
While it's nice seeing something different, and exploring a different side of the sport genre, it doesn't mean that it would be a masterpiece, that just because it's different and refreshing it would automatically mean that it will be amazing.
Battery wanted to add all these drama to middle schooler baseball players, it wanted to make it complex: not just kids playing
sport for fun and just wanting to win, but it wanted to show the drama 'behind the scenes' of a team, and what it takes to form an actual relationship with your teammates. Even though that was the purpose of it all, it, in lack of better words, sucked at it.
From the start to the very end, everything was too dramatic, too out of their middle schooler sense: non of the character grew throughout the serie, actually, they were all really plain and with annoying traits, while it was understanding that some of them were stubborn (since they are still 'kids'), it got to a level where their behavior didn't justify their actions. Conflicts, as little as they were, didn't reach a conclusion even when the last episode ended, the relationship between the characters (mostly Takumi and Gou, aka our MC) stayed the same, even when 'time already had passed by', where they didn't learn from their past mistakes.
It also falls into the same abyss as most shows: a lot of characters, too little development. Not to mention that, whenever they play, it's not exciting because there's no attachment to any of the players, there's no interest in the game since the show didn't prepare you for it, it doesn't make you feel hopeful for the MCs team, it doesn't make you anxious because you want them to win. Of course, the main idea wasn't the team playing baseball.
You could say that Battery was aiming for something refreshing, but they missed the mark by quite a lot; while it's nice not wanting to fall into the same old clichés as most sport anime, Battery didn't know how to play its cards to make it into an interesting and memorable show.
Crunchyroll announced at Anime Expo that they will be releasing anime on Blu-Ray and DVD -- that inevitably means they'll be releasing more titles than what's been announced so far. Here's a list of some anime we think they should release!