And the review is finally out! Though if you saw my little post on my FB page and Anime Planet profile, you might already know what I thought about this show (basically that I liked it!). At this point I have watched a couple other sports anime so it’ll be hard for me to not compare it with others. Which is why this is like a review/comparison post. Don’t forget to read my first impression since I won’t be introducing our main characters too much anymore. And beware spoilers because why not get a little excited?
In Big Windup we follow Mihashi, an extremely timid pitcher who was bullied in middle school for being a “sucky and selfish pitcher” (not a quote but basically what they meant). His teammates hate him and instead of confronting them and defending himself, Mihashi ends up running away and enrolling at Nishiura High School, away from all his old teammates
However, the ghost of their words still weigh on him
When he goes to check out the baseball team at Nishiura, he breaks down when they ask what position he plays. He confesses he’s a terrible pitcher and is constantly thinking everyone will hate him. What he didn’t expect, however, was for everyone to be super supportive about how he pitches. And so his high school pitching days begin!
In comparison to other sports anime, like Haikyuu, KnB, and Daiya, Oofuri isn’t anything really special but it’s also hard to dislike it. I really enjoyed meeting all the characters, especially as the series progressed. But because the season was only 25 episodes, there’s only so much we got to see and experience (but no worries, I’m heading off towards season two once I’m done here)
Mihashi starts off the series as very timid and even afraid of his team and ends up with a bit more confidence in himself. He still stutters like crazy and he’s afraid that Abe will hate him, but in comparison I think he has gotten better. Likewise, Abe has REALLY changed. He started off as a real jerk who just wanted Mihashi to do as he was told and ended up being really cute. He started to see the faults in his methods and seeing Mihashi as a true pitcher. And BRUH the last few episodes and the skinship and the trying to be closer but Abe blows up because his temper and Mihashi’s timidness. It was adorable to watch
Unfortunately these are really the only characters I felt had any development. Tajima was still as enthusiastic and AMAZING as before (during that game I was so impressed by his focus and dedication!) and Hanai does become a bit more Captain-like. And in those 25 episodes I still couldn’t learn the rest of the team’s names or faces (I know, I’m terrible)
But there are a couple things in this series that I found really interesting and different from other sports anime that really brought my enjoyment for this up
One is that Mihashi is a skilled player. I guess the only time I’ve seen something similar is with YOI where Yuri was actually a good skater but his perception of himself made us think otherwise. In Haikyuu we also see that Hinata has no real skill as he’s never had actual coaching. In Daiya, Eijun has to learn some new pitches, his control isn’t the best, and his only real weapon is his strange form. In Oofuri, Mihashi splits up the strike zone into 9 sections (which apparently not many people do) making his control top notch, he’s got stamina, and while his batting could use some help it didn’t look terrible. The only thing he truly lacks is confidence, which I think would especially fix his batting
The training methods are also eerily strange. Usually if you play baseball you practice things like your batting, catching, plays, and endurance/running/core type stuff. In YOI I only really remember Yuri practicing his jumps and choreography. In Haikyuu they did connecting and Kageyama did some control stuff. But in Oofuri they take it a step further. They don’t just train their bodies on the basics but they also do things like meditation to help relax them when they’re in a pinch, they help each other through skinship (the whole cold hand, hot hand), and they do some memory/eye and hand coordination type stuff
It’s something that sounds like it wouldn’t make sense to do but when you think about it, it does make sense. Playing sports, especially in sports anime where each team is aiming for some championship, can be stressful and especially in game. But Nishiura is training themselves to help take that pressure away, so that they can be level headed even when bases are loaded and the cleanup is next to bat or when they’re 2 points behind in the 8th inning
A female coach and character in general that I like?! So in Haikyuu we have our managers who, while really cute, I feel don’t really do much for the team (aside from their usual background duties). In Kuroko we have the coach lady but I didn’t really like her and while she was knowledgeable, there was something about her involvement that was still distant. In Daiya as well, we only had the female managers and then Eijun’s friend who came to watch games. In Oofuri we actually have a proper coach that I was impressed with (and kind of weirded out by at first). It’s really obvious she loves the team and seeing her practice with them, helping them out with plays, and even predicting the enemy strategies…! I was impressed and I know a lot of people in the series (other coaches and captains) were as well
And speaking of females, I also really enjoyed the role of parents in this show! I don’t think I’ve seen any sports anime that has parents go to their kids games and that’s always bugged me. Here the moms actually show up! Well in Daiya Wakana and Eijun’s grandpa show up but they’re not parents sooo. But here the moms show up and actually help the club with financials and transportation. And since Nishiura isn’t a big name school or even known for their team, this support is major!
But even though this show had a lot of interesting things going for it, there was one thing that really brought down the score for me (or really, that made me wonder what score I should give it). The pacing
In KnB we have so much action in there and pretty colors to keep us engaged. In Haikyuu it’s also colorful but there’s also suspense and feels in every match that’s played. You really get attached to the characters and their enthusiasm. And in Daiya, OH MY, all the tension and aggression and manliness (in comparison) gets you pumped and OSHI! But Oofuri doesn’t have any of this
Oofuri is very calm and in the 25 episodes we only get to witness 2 matches. We don’t feel for many of our casts and we’re left hanging with other interesting characters (from other teams). Our pitcher isn’t overflowing with energy and loud. He’s really quiet and he stutters. The whole sport is more realistic in a sense. They pitch like you’d expect normal high schoolers to pitch and hit. No fancy gimmicks
In the end I rated this series a 7/10 because it’s better than average but I’m hoping I’ll be able to rate it an 8 after season 2!
As to who I recommend this to, I’d say someone who knows their baseball as this show doesn’t do the whole 101 episode. And someone who doesn’t mind a slow paced show. I really did like it and will be continuing but I can see how this wouldn’t be appealing to others, especially if you’re not a big fan of the genre to begin with
WELP, that’s all for now. Hopefully I can get season 2 out in a week or so!
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