Dec 9, 2021
Koibito Sengen is the second part of the Nine trilogy, it aired on TV in December 1983, that's why it was made in 4:3 ratio, so I guess it's sort of a downgrade from Original-ban visually wise. Do we even have enough time in one hour to explore the love triangles and baseball rivalries set in the first movie? Of course not, that's why we have the third special but this part definitely answers some questions.
In the first movie we met our characters, we found out about their goals, we got entangled in some complicated love triangles, Seishu didn't go to Koushien and Yukimi doesn't
know if Katsuya loves her or not yet she continues to go after him, everything is as hazy as a fog in a cold January evening. Now this special is set on resolving the relationship between Yukimi and Katsuya and it does it in style. And yes, you read that right, Yukimi is the main character while Yuri is just the team manager.
Some may be very surprised, as in why is Yukimi so important? wasn't she just a plot device to get mingled between Katsuya and Yuri so that we the watchers would get angry? In this way, the manga can be longer and more "dramatic" romance scenes could happen, Yukimi will be tossed aside the moment Katsuya develops some guts and confesses to his true love, why do we even need a movie with a side character and worst of all, she's the love rival.
These questions don't really need an answer because the creator knows how to make a story in order to entertain the reader/watcher and take him by surprise, forget any basic love story plot you have ever watched, Koibito Sengen is totally different with subverting the expectations while managing to keep the characters in their usual cliche behaviors. Illogical as I may sound, it makes perfect sense when you follow the romance and what the characters are doing when they are together alone, what are they talking about and what are their feelings. It's so different than the fist part it feels like a different anime, in my opinion, this can also be watched as a stand alone, we meet the important characters in the beginning, we find out it's about baseball and we easily find out about the love triangle. Then the show finishes resolving Yukimi's point of view story as a true romantic movie.
The show has some baseball in the beginning, even the old rivalry between Bunan and Seishu is explored with a match but it's main point is Yukimi-Katsuya couple and what will come of it. I loved that I can finally see in anime a love story explored like that. To use examples while not being too spoilery: Yukimi will get tired of Katsuya's indecisiveness and start asking questions, a new guy Yamanaka Jirou (the little brother of Bunan High star pitcher) makes advances on her (because why not, she's cute), Katsuya will stop acting like a coward and tell Yukimi his true feelings. No misunderstandings, no random metaphors added because it looks cool, no sudden silence and the rejected acting like "no... you don't have to tell me... I already know who you love...", nothing garbage like that, only pure and unadulterated high school romance with clear answers and developments.
To defend my rationale about the importance of Yukimi, keep in mind that we went to her house back in the first movie, we met her grandma and now we get to know her date of birth, stuff that doesn't happen with Yuri (so I guess she always was an important character). Take it as it is, it's a Yukimi special for Yukimi fans, I think the most of romance fans will be entertained about the events that transpired here, the sports fans and Yuri fans may not like it though which is understandable.
To keep the story more complicated, a new guy is introduced, Yamanaka Jirou, who loves Yukimi but the watcher should not be fooled, he's not the usual delinquent dude added in to make the main guy look better, Jirou actually has a story (decently written and interesting) and his feelings for her are genuine. What will happen with these three is up to the watcher to find out but the important thing is that we get a clear ending, so clear that it made me think that the story ended and part 3 doesn't exist, I actually forgot about Yuri and big brother Yamanaka and thought that this was a shoujo anime with Yukimi in between Jirou (who loves her) and Katsuya (who loves someone else but he may have feelings for Yukimi).
Nothing much about the art and animation, it's the same as Original-ban only 4:3, the characters and the baseball games look the same, stale and bland, nothing too extraordinary to feast our eyes. The soundtrack is just as cool as ever though, great songs to listen to if you like the 80s music.
In the end, Koibito Sengen managed to be a very good romance movie set in high school, following our guys from the same Seishu Baseball Club we met in the first part. Unfortunately, Yuri and Yamanaka Kentarou are tossed aside as important characters in order to make room for Katsuya-Yukimi-Jirou story. It looks like a filler so that we can go on with the true ending of part 3 when we will hopefully get the final answer about Yuri and Katsuya, and also... will Seishu finally go to Koushien?
What did you think of this review?