I recently decided to watch this anime again. It struck me when I first watched it, mostly for its particular pace and the fact it's not about players playing baseball. Indeed, this anime revolves around kids and how baseball affects them or, more accurately, their feelings in regards to it.
Battery is a series of novels written around 90's and 00' by Atsuko Asano. Therefore the anime is just "advertising" to promote the novels. I think it's important to point this out because the anime has been clearly cut. Not only in the second half we just see unresolved drama. We don't get to see a nicely paced character development because it's clear the anime couldn't portray it.
Indeed it's only 11 episodes- they had really close to none screentime to display everything that needed to make this anime stand out.
However, I believe this story has great potential and I was willing to read the novels (though I didn't find a proper translation so I gave up).
First of all I think that you can't talk about the story if you don't mention the characters first. As I said this story is about the characters, not baseball in itself. Therefore I think if you're looking for a classical spokon you have to look elsewhere.
It may contain minor spoilers, however, if you're unsure about this anime, please consider reading it.
The main characters are Harada and Nagakura, pitcher and catcher: the battery. The title is not a misleading, actually, it says everything that needs to be said. Cause this battery is what really is about. Harada is cheeky, defiant, but most of all is self-confident and he knows that his throws are something else. Therefore, whatever he does and how he does it it's meaningless cause anyone will want him to do pitching in a game. They will need him.
Then he meets Gou. You may think Gou is his opposite, being calm, straightforward and mostly very caring of others, but you're mistaken. They are not opposites, their personalities are, but they have the same "fierce".
That's why the click together almost immediately. Gou wants to catch Harada's ball and Harada, well he needed someone to catch his throws.
Obviously, Harada is not just an asshole. He actually favorites Gou because he is earnest. Gous is very earnest about anything and Harada is clearly drawn by it. He wants to pitch to him. I'm actually pretty sure that the novel devels in this aspect even better than the anime, cause as I said it's been cut.
Indeed this "partnership" crumbles at some point. We see that Harada's throws get so powerful (because Gou is there to catch them, indeed they are foil of each other. They drew out their hidden potential like no other) that Gou can't catch them anymore. Harada, in the end, holds back on his throws, making Gou feel like a burden. For various reasons, I suppose. Maybe he was afraid Gou couldn't catch his pitch anymore and tried to hold himself. That's where everything starts to cloud. Cause from that point onwards the anime has to pick up the pace and cut down on a lot.
When we see the battery again, it's changed. Harada's pitches are wild and Gou has to do all the work to catch them.
The battery has changed and so are their feelings.
I'm quite sad I never got how they developed and tried to mend, cause the anime just shows has some snippets and we can kind of guess what happened, but we can't have an overall picture.
That said I want to move on another "partnership", this time it's actually a childhood friend type of relationship. Mizugaki and Kadowaki, the shortstop and the batter.
This relationship may be the most twisted one for it's so peculiar I enjoyed any single moment between them.
Those two make an appearance way later, so they have much less screentime. Mizugaki is a blabber, sly and most of all a "mastermind", he moves the strings of the field. He is more of a captain than Kadowaki, who is so fixated, bull-headed and talented he can't even notice when his own players are hurt.
Kadowaki's a star of the junior high baseball, he has a sports scholarship, he's bored cause no one can beat him and suddenly he finds himself cornered by none other than Harada's skillful pitching. He became obsessed, he wanted to bat that pitch no matter what. He even goes to the extent to call a game without his coach's consent.
Mizugaki jumps on the wagon and helps him out as he wants to "see the princess that made the great Kadowaki fall in love". When he does though, he sees much more than a princess who pitches flawlessly. He sees a dysfunctional battery. that's when the gears start to turn. From then on both "duos" enter their developing point; which coincides with the great lack of actual "story" in the anime.
Mizugaki messes with the battery, he pokes at Nagakura's flaws and explicitly tells him that he's bringing Harada's down with his poor catching. Indeed, it seems Mizugaki wants to help them out improving on their partnership - in an unconventional kind of way - so they can face off his childhood friend at their utmost potential. However, we find out that Mizugaki is quite resentful towards Kadowaki.
It's clear Mizugaki may actually be really jealous of Kadowaki, but it's not very clear the reason why. I'm keen on thinking he's very envious of his talent, however that may not be the only reason. Their relationship cracks at some point - as Kadowaki gets further and further drawn by Harada - and Mizugaki shows his true "sentiments". Kadowaki is pretty much clueless about it all, we can see he has no idea of why that's happening. He's an oblivious guy, that may also be another motive in regards of Mizugaki's behavior.
It may seem quite the unnecessary angst, but it shows a kind of friendship that went on almost because it had to. Mizugaki had to put up with Kadowaki. That's indeed an interesting turn of events cause the fact he still decided to stand beside him proves Mizugaki may actually have a "greater reason" for it.
At least this is my personal view on them, since, as I said, the anime shows close to nothing in the last part.
The other characters are kind of marginal and this is the only letdown I can mention- They could have put them into an actual role in order to give them a "position" in the story as well. Only a few fulfill this role, but they don't get to develop much as I wished.
The most memorable ones are Harada's little brother Seiha, the grandad Ihoka, Kaionji and the Coach Makoto.
This is why I suggest all of you to give this anime a chance, and if you can, please read the novel. If you want to read/watch a fresh story about coming-to-terms kids revolving around a notorious sport, well I think you got the right one.
The premises are quite similar to Ookiku Furikabutte. Though Oofuri has a better planned out character insight and is much more technical, showing baseball has an actual "mind game".
Thank you for your time to read this.