Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Taishou Yakyuu Musume - Episode 1

It's time for another dose of new season anime goodness, and this time it comes in the form of Taishou Yakyuu Musume. In all honesty, this isn't the kind of series that would normally be "my bag" as a matter of course, but I like to pick up the occasional series that stretches my interests somewhat, and thus this is my choice for the summer season.

Anyhow, Taishou Yakyuu Musume takes us back in time to the mid-1920s, and a Japan coming towards the end of the Taishou period. This makes for an interesting subject matter right off the bat, placing us in an era where the infamous sailor uniform was just starting to make its way into Japanese schools and the country as a whole was enjoying a period of relatively liberal rule and thought.

Of course, said liberal thinking in the 1920s only gets you so far, and this is particularly true if you're female, with the general consensus remaining that ladies should only do "ladylike" things while proving themselves suitable as a future housewife and little more. It's this sexist thinking that really drives the core premise of the show as we meet Akiko, a girl deeply hurt by a comment than educating women and expecting them to do anything beyond housework is pointless, leaving her determined to prove that there's more to the female form that simply looking pretty and cooking dinner. As the man making the sexist remark in question is a baseball player, Akiko sets out to form a female baseball team at her school, choosing her first "victim" as the show's protagonist, Koume Suzukawa. While the initial number of girls interested in playing seems good, any enthusiasm is quickly wiped out once they see a men's team training, but Akiko refuses to give up and carries on with her drive to recruit new team-mates.

As opening episodes go, this series certainly doesn't waste any time in getting down to business - After a brief musical introduction to 1920s Tokyo, we dive straight into following Koume to school where she's propositioned about joining her little project almost immediately. We then race through losing and then gaining some members what could almost be argued to be altogether too quickly, leaving us with no time to really get to grips with the characters that we're dealing with here. Hopefully that will all come in time though.

That slightly rushed pacing aside, I actually rather enjoyed this episode, if only for getting to see something a little different from the kind of school-based anime that we're used to - A series where a sailor uniform is still a big deal for the pupils and running is strictly prohibited for the girls is a pretty big leap from the modern-day norm as it is. Unfortunately, this quick building of the plot and era has left the characterisation on the back burner for this opener, but here's to hoping that Taishou Yakyuu Musume can build this aspect of things over the next few episodes. For now though, it certainly has my attention on account of feeling fresh and new in a world packed full of modern-day slice of life and school-centric shows.

1 comment:

Camarilla said...

Already love this one, that opening song/tour of Tokyo did it for me. I found myself really hoping that the characters would succeed. I don't usually get that feeling. I felt like using the history of the era gave us a pretty good insight into the characters already. I have a feeling that we will get quite a bit of character development with this show. I think this is one of the best first episodes I have seen in a very long while.