Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Taisho Yakyuu Musume

 
Taisho Yakyuu Musume (Taisho Baseball Girls) is a cutesy series about girls in 1920's Japan learning to play baseball. after one girl, Akiko, is told by a baseball player at a party that women should only be in the home, she pleads with her best friend, Koume, to form a baseball team with her. over time, they gather together more girls and a teacher to help in their efforts.
 
Misogyny!
 
By far, this is one of the cutest series i've seen in years. sure, there are sugary series like Lucky Star and Nichijou out there, but this is cute with substance to it, a real message. you bond with these girls in their efforts to overcome prejudice among outsiders, and even within themselves. their passion only makes them more endearing. and hey, you feel bad for them when they trip and fall down, but don't they still look adorable?
 
Small Hand, Big Glove.
 
the odds are against the girls, not just because of the era they're in (the Taisho period in Japan lasted from 1912 - 1926), but also because of the country they're in. these girls (sadly) have some expectations to live up to and breaking gender stereotypes is not one of them. thankfully, the girls have the Yamato Nadeshiko fighting spirit so highly prized in the early Showa period (1926-1989), and a lot of support from their teacher/advisor. in the end, even some of the boys are on their side, though the anime might be a little idealistic compared to the actual history.
 
 
History!
 
the visuals in this show are just grand. the colours are all warm enough to make it feel cozy, nostalgic, and sepia-toned. true to the time period, they are seen riding streetcars past old-style buildings, a good chunk of them in the traditional kimono from the era. adding to the general nice feeling is the soundtrack, which boasts a collection of tunes worthy of being put on your ipod. the opening, "Romantic Strike", sucks you into a cherry-blossom world of cute smiles and nostalgic feelings, with the rest of the background music putting the cherry on top of this sepia-coloured cinnamon-scented baseball cake.
 
Even the Title Card is Cute.
 
my only problem with this series was that the ending was a major let-down. i followed it for so long just to have my heart split in two. still though, that's not enough to sour me on the series, with pleasant sounds, pleasing visuals, and slight undertones of yuri. (the yuri glaze could also be a nod to the timeframe, given that the 20's was when the Japanese "S-Genre" type of books came about, having just the schoolyard crushes and deep female friendships this series has. adding further to this idea is the relationship between Akiko and Koume, who are the pitcher and catcher respectively, a common trope among same-sex pairings.) considering the white washing of cute-without-being-too-cute this series has, you can show this to anyone without fear. let this also smash the stereotypes some people hang on to of anime being nothing but sex and gore.
 
The Taisho Era was the first generation of schoolgirls to wear the Seifuku, so seeing some wear the uniform to school while others wear Kimono is normal.
 
Taisho Yakyuu Musume is available from Doremi, Saizen Fansubs, Exiled Destiny, and NanaOne Subs (German). it is also licensed for distibution by Sentai Filmworks in the US.
 
Yuri!
4/5

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