Disclaimer: This is not a site review. If you're reading one of these, it's unlikely I'll ever write a site review for this anime. Probably because I don't want to pick it apart. ^_^
Already smothered during the summmer 2009 season, I picked up Taishou Yakyuu Musume on the recommendation of therik, and I have to admit, I loved it. This touching little tale about driven high school girls fell short of greatness because it left so much unsaid, but at the same time, I wondered if continuing the story might have broken the beautiful spell it cast on me.
Taishou Yakyuu's plot focused on the development of the girls, highlighting frienships, their physical hardships, and their struggle with their identities in very gender-deterministic 1920's Japan. I found myself caught up in Ouka-kai's firey spirit and constant application of strategy. The anime succeeded as a sports story, with the girls inventing or learning about special pitches, official scoring, and ground ball drills, all the while examining the relationships between the teammates, their families, and their school. The final game of the anime--against their boys' high school rivals--culminated in a realistic and satisfying manner that had me excited despite the fact that I could have predicted the outcome before either team set foot on the diamond. The only failing of this show comes from the fact that it didn't have nearly enough time to showcase it's entire massive cast. I loved all of the characters, but only learned a lot about Koume and Akiko.
Typically of J.C. Staff, the animation and voice cast were top-notch in execution. The light, natural feel to the visuals which featured muted colors of animation over vibrant watercolor backgrounds fit the time period perfectly and allowed the blending of the old (many of the girls wore kimonos to school) with the new (street cars, baseball fields). On the aural side, Takahashi Mikako formed the heart-and-soul of the show as the super-moe Koume. The song she performs in the opening episode alone is worth the entrance fee.
Overall, I found a lot to love here. An engaging cast, a cleverly executed plot, and relaxing visuals made this the perfect summer anime: light, fun, and enjoyable watching from start to finish.