An episodic sports anime with frankly C-grade animation shouldn't have gotten a second look from me, but I actually found myself enjoying it well enough as a once a week diversion.
There is no glory in being a middle relief pitcher in professional baseball. These guys are the sports equivalent of a plumber, necessary but nobody would call it glamorous work. They're typically called into bail out starting pitchers when the situation starts going south, deal with one specific batter, or simply eat up innings in lopsided games. Main character Bonda Natsunoske is a middle reliever for the Tokyo Spiders (a thinly disguised version of the real life Tokyo Swallows) and this series is episodes in his life as he tries to claw his way up from an expendable middle reliever making $180,000 a year to a much more glamorous (and well-paying) job in the starting rotation. There isn't much continuity, few other characters stick around for more than one episode and there aren't many plot threads that affect things over the long haul. But the more self-contained nature of each episode makes it easier to put down and pick back up again.
ART & SOUND
There's no delicate way to put this: the animation just scrapes its way over the passing bar in most shots and Gurazeni loves to switch to a CGI model that nobody would confuse for the original 2D animation every time Bonda is pitching. There just isn't anything remarkable in this department at the best of times. Except perhaps for the character designs, which go outside tropey looks to give the cast some identity. Sound is also unmemorable too.
As the only character who gets significant screentime across the entire series, Bonda is clearly the glue that holds everything together. And he's not a bad character: he's keenly aware of the incredibly tenuous nature of the job of a professional athlete and keenly tries to both save his money and bump up his stats so he can earn more next season. His keen awareness of where his salary ranks in comparison to other players reinforces this trait- it's a running gag that he can bulldoze batters who make less than him but tends to become intimidated when pitching to players who make more. It makes him relatable since when you strip away the baseball elements he's basically a 20-something guy trying to turn his (relatively) low paying job into a more permanent gig. Other cast members usually get one episode in the spotlight then may make one or two cameos in the rest, so there isn't much to talk about beyond their one gimmick.
I enjoyed this as a weekly diversion, but I don't see this as a very binge-able show or the kind of series where you get hooked and just HAVE to keep up.
It's basic, and just OK at best. But for some reason I didn't get bored or start to hate it and actually want to see the upcoming season.