In 1925 (year 14 of the Taisho era) baseball is still quite unknown in Japan and there are only a few male teams. After being told by a baseball player that women should become housewives instead of going to school, 14-year-old Akiko invites her friend Koume to start a baseball team in order to prove him wrong. During this time, when even running was considered too vulgar for women, baseball is known as "what the boys do" and they face many difficulties when having to find enough members, to get permission from their parents and also when learning about the sport itself, which they soon discover to be more difficult than expected.
Taishou Yakyuu Musume was a nice surprise in this Summer 2009 season.
While most "moe-oriented" shows nowadays tend to let their own cuteness take over and steal the spotlight, Taishou avoids this pitfall by not letting go of the baseball focus but few times when to flesh out their characters.
As a slice-of-life show, the most remarkable aspect in this anime is the setting, which takes place in Japan’s 20s, providing an interesting background for the story to unfold. The cultural differences between now and then are definitely the show’s greatest highlight, because it not even once stops being interesting. This show is a great look on
the uprising of feminism, which even if I can’t say it’s historically correct in the context of this decade, is deeply associated in this case with the girls’ interest in baseball. This theme is handled with subtlety.
You aren’t required to know the rules of baseball to enjoy this anime, but if you’re a baseball fan you should definitely check it out as it certainly has a different approach than most sports shounen anime… it is more similar to that of slice-of-life/moe shows, but without losing the focus of what it is all about - of course, the "train and and you'll get better" aspect is still present. If you’re joyed by all things cute you can get into this blindfolded, as you’ll go crazy in the very first minutes when Koume sings us a song to introduce old Tokyo. Additionally, this is can be very interesting for anyone who’s into pre-World War II Japan.
The characters in this show aren’t really anything special, and they mostly fit the common moe stereotypes. In the short spam of 12 episodes, it’s impossible to flesh out and develop all of them, but it manages to be satisfying at least for the main lead Koume. Although you may be lead into thinking this anime is full of yuri undertones, they’re non-canon... well, maybe except for one or two characters taking "friendship" a bit too far, and real fangirl for her Onee-sama... so I guess it manages to satisfy both shoujo-ai goggles addicts and not, with such it's large, sympathetic cast. Meanwhile there are some romantic developments here and there too (not between girls), so this really is a show for anyone who just finds the girls to be adorable. The side-characters are very interesting too, due to the setting’s influence – I especially enjoyed Koume’s interaction with her parents, since she hid her hobby from them, while they hold expectations common of that era. I’ll leave this unspoiled to not break down your enjoyment of the series.
J.C. Staff did a nice job with the production. The animation is pretty colorful without being too hard on the eyes and fluctuates from basic to very fluid, when they're playing baseball, for example. The soundtrack doesn’t really shine but it’s fitting, and the OP/ED themes are especially catchy, sung by the golden cast of voice actors who all perform top-notch...
What could be overlooked as terribly generic, manages to be very entertaining overall, even if a bit simple and formulaic. This is a great show for anyone looking for a short, fun, cute and yet thrilling experience and doesn’t mind if the characters don’t undergo some deep study or development, even if they’re doing something supposedly groundbreaking.
I loved the idea of Japanese girls forming their own school baseball team in 1925, and I wasn't disappointed. Though the show is sadly short (and it could've done much more with a longer run), the 12 episode series was still very enjoyable by itself. The feminist vibe ran through the whole course of the show; it's true they were not met by obstacles they couldn't eventually overcome, but it wasn't completely unrealistic. The girls still struggled to be taken seriously.
There are few intense baseball moments as it is mainly a slice-of-life type of show with very tiny hints of romance (with or
without boys). You get to watch all the girls progress and grow, though, and the end is quite satisfying.
Of course, as it is 12 episodes long, there isn't a huge amount of room for character development. But the characters are still likable and fun to watch. The historical aspects of the show are interesting, definitely, and that was a part of it that drew me in. I liked to see the effects of the transition from the Meiji period as Westernization began to invade Japan.
I found the art lovely; the backgrounds especially are beautiful. The character design is cute and eye-catching. The music wasn't always amazing but there were some tracks that really stood out to me. I loved the opening and ending themes as well. The voices are generally good, despite the fact that some of the higher pitched ones yelling out baseball cues could be rather obnoxious.
At any rate, if you're a fan of baseball, history, or are in the mood for something light and relaxing, Taisho Yakyuu Musume is definitely the way to go.
Taishou yakyuu musume had the misfortune to be on my schedule soon after Ookiku furikabutte, and since the latter shone brightly, the former paled rather severely. well, in some ways that's the fairest way to judge a show, in comparison to its peers.
the story's premise is quite promising, a show about girls playing baseball in the early taishou period (1920s) could be very interesting. alas, this anime doesn't strike a blow for realistic feminism, indeed it doesn't even try. some lip service is paid to resistance by others, but in fact there are no real difficulties to overcome, even the 11th hour
drama lacks urgency. the show feels mostly like an excuse to have cute girls run around in short uniforms, giving it some legitimacy by setting it in an interesting period, but ultimately failing to actually use the inherent tension. despite the uniforms most fan service is blessedly absent, except for some dreamy shoujo-ai action; the show goes for cute over sexy. we also get some hetero romance, but that's not a major factor either. i didn't really care for any of the romance, there is just not enough development. that could be the epitaph for the entire show: there is just not enough development.
as for the promising setting, i am not the most knowledgeable person about japanese history, but even i could recognize many anachronisms, so i gather the writers didn't actually do any research on the period. the artists did a little more research; early baseball gloves looked like that, and some backgrounds show verisimilitude, though it's still not much.
the characters are flat. cute, vaguely likeable, but so generic that i didn't really warm up to any of them, except maybe koume, but even with her, i don't miss her now that i am done with the show.
the anime does manage to concentrate on baseball instead of milking the romance and/or moe aspects, and there is some realism here in that the girls have to work hard to get anywhere (though the uniforms remain spotless). but this is not a show for baseball fans; not enough time and effort is placed on the intricacies of training or the games, and in the end realism leaves the ball park entirely (never ever will a group of 14-year old girls who started playing a few months ago be able to legitimately challenge a team of 17-year old boys who're training for the national championship).
the show's art is as pale as its story -- everything feels washed out. the character design uses ye olde hairstyle and wild hair/eye colour tricks to let us easily distinguish the characters, which works within the show, but makes the characters impossible to tell apart from those of another thousand shows with this style. the only good character designs are for older side characters. the animation is so-so. there is a lot of simplistic repetition of the same actions. some of the baseball action is animated decently, which comes as a relief.
the BGM often does not fit the period, except for a parody song koume sings. the OP and ED don't just not fit, they actively clash. the voice acting is a mixed bag. some of it is good, some is overacted, and some doesn't fit the character -- 24 year old seiyuu do apparently not always manage to sound like 14 year old girls. which surprised me. i am in general not a big fan of female seiyuu because of the hyper-cutesy affect so many of them sport (not really their fault; it's what the industry wants), but as a result anime girls often tend to sound younger than they are supposed to be. not here.
short verdict: inoffensive milquetoast, slightly above average, too short and undeveloped to be worthwhile.
This anime is a wonderful thing, and I was incredibly happy to find and watch it.
I personally loved the idea of girls playing baseball, especially in 1925, where they would no doubt be told they couldn't.
The first few episodes were pretty slow-paced as they tried to gain permission from the school and find members, but once they do the plot picks up straight away as they practice and become a greater team.
The story was interesting and kept me hanging for what happens next.
The art was fairly good, not my favorite style, but nice nonetheless.
I didn't pay much attention to the soundtracks, but the
OP and ED were wonderful.
The characters are incredibly cute and you can obviously see great character development throughout the whole show.
I enjoyed this anime so much, it became one of my favorites the moment I finished.
I highly recommend this anime for all, espescially sports anime lovers.
Baseball is a much loved sport in both the USA and Japan, and to a lesser degree in other countries. But Japan knows how to glorify this fascinating sport with a whole bunch of incredibly cool baseball anime, and even a few manga. Let's take a look at baseball anime through history!