This review is for both Season 1 and Season 2. I think this anime is great, and I'm super sad that they didn't come up with a third season.
Unlike many sports anime, it is very realistic, especially the older ones. The characters don't have any ridiculous, out of this world techniques. The techniques they use here are techniques that exist in real life. The strategies are strategies used in baseball and that is what I like about this anime. It felt real, like these kids could have been your next door neighbor, or your school mates, or even your good friends.
At first each character design look almost the same, but each character's personality is what defined each of them. Each of them is unique in their own way. From the shy, cry baby pitcher, Mihashi, to the hot headed, impatient, loud catcher, Abe. From the cheery, shameless, third baseman, Tajima who is not scared to shout that he forgot to masturbate, to the responsible, mature, a little bit angsty captain, Hanai. Then there's the sweet, quiet Oki, the clueless and a little bit dumb Mizutani, the more mature Suyama and Nishihiro, the gentle Sakaeguchi and finally, the cheeky Izumi. I absolutely love seeing these boys interact with each other, support each other and work hard.
Because it is a manga adaptation, of course there were things missing from the anime that was in the manga. I wish that they did adapt more of the member's interaction with each other, because that interaction is what make Oofuri really special. Yes, the games and learning the strategies that they used was fun and the pace of the game is similar to that of a real baseball game, so you feel that you're actually watching them play in reality. But, watching them act like highschoolers, talking about girls and sex is what I feel is the true gem of this series.
Definitely a must watch. I got hooked and even read the manga. I would recommend doing both!
I normally don't care or have any interest in Sports-related Anime, but this show was really, really good, since it was about so much more than just what happens on the baseball diamond, though there's plenty of that, too.
This isn't the first show to make me re-consider Sports anime, though. That would be Suzuka, which blew my socks off as a coming-of-age, slice-of-life High School romance cleverly disguised as a sports anime. Suzuka impressed me so much, I was willing to give Big Windup! a chance.
I think the fact that one of my most favorite male voice actors, Greg Ayres, voiced the main supporting character, Abe, is what kept me coming back for more, time and again. Abe is such a cool guy and such a loyal friend to Ren.
I also agree with other reviewers that Taijima is a great supporting character and comic relief...I've never heard so many masturbation jokes stuffed into one show! ;-D
I really love these characters and how they grow during the show. If FUNimation gets to dub the next season, I really hope there's a little more romantic action with the female characters we've met so far...Ren's sister (voiced by Monica Rial) and also the shy female team manager.
The show is very engaging and emotionally satisfying...though not unlike a real baseball game, some of the fictional games stretch on rather long...it all focuses mainly on the first game of the new season, when our heroes get stacked up against last year's championship winners...a team of seasoned upperclassman squaring off against a bunch of enthusiastic but totally noob freshmen...definitely a "root for the underdog" kind of story...
My first review...let's do something simple.
Anywho, let's begin my rant.
This video explains everything you should expect:
Be honest, no realistic (lack of magic and what not) sports anime is going to have a great plot. Rather than a good plot, you get good back-stories which still don't make a big punch in wowing you. Big Windup has few back-stories that are good but they're still not enough to make up for the lack of a good plot.
It's slick, that's for sure. Not the best but pretty fluent. Not much to say about in this section aside from my opinion.
The music isn't anything to wow about or make your blood rush. The sound effects are predictable as well, like you've heard them already. Sadly this section is not about voice acting so I can't say anything.
Sure some are brought up more than others but what anime doesn't do that. Aside from that the way they react with one another is great! There is also a wide verity of characters so it's always interesting.
This is personally my #5 on my top animes (behind Fullmetal Alchemist, Sergeant Frog, Soul Eater and Death Note). I never though a sports anime (and baseball on the most part) would entertain me so much. The manga was awarded a few awards so you know it's worth watching. Aside from that, it's a great series that's worth watching.
Big Windup! is not an anime I expected to love. Mostly I started watching it because I thought the animation looked very good -- and it is -- and I liked the character designs. I'm not a huge fan of sports anime, but that's mostly because I'd never really seen one before this -- the genre had never interested me. I can say now, having watched Big Windup!, that the sports genre of anime is one I'll be looking into quite a bit more.
This is a very good show. It's all about a young man and pitcher named Ren Mihashi, who loves Baseball but hates himself. He's recently moved and is going to a new school, and is determined not to join the Baseball team and stink up the field like he did at his old school. Of course, he almost accidentally gets roped into playing, and quickly finds himself on the mound again, worried about whether or not he'll have what it takes to be this team's Ace Pitcher.
Mihashi himself can be a little grating at times, but I think there are elements of him that we can all recognize -- especially the crippling doubt and insecurities that plagued many of us during our youth. Mihashi represents this to the extreme, and for that reason he is often a tad annoying -- but interestingly, he's also always endearing. We root for Mihashi because he sets himself up to fail, and yet is so much better than he gives himself credit for. He also has a wonderful love of the game that's almost infectious to us viewers as well.
The other characters are interesting in their own right. My personal favorite is Tajima, the rambuctious cleanup hitter whose confidence and optimism are just as infectious as Mihashi's love of Baseball; I often found myself grinning along with Tajima, just because his personality is so outlandishly positive. By far the most important character besides Mihashi, though, is the catcher, Abe. Believe me, if you didn't know how important the catcher was to the team's success, and to the pitcher in particular, you will after watching this series. Abe is intelligent but hot tempered, is extremely good at what he does, and wants to help Mihashi even when he wants to kill him, too. He and Mihashi's interactions make up the bulk of the emotional core of the series, as they attempt to help each other be the best they can be.
The other characters are just as interesting, but rarely get fleshed out any more. Because make no mistake -- this is a series about Baseball. A full two thirds of the series is spent on two games that are played out in their entirety. The games are always interesting and constantly captivating, but can be frustrating if you're not a fan of the sport or were expecting a more plot-or-character-driven show. This is a show driven by Baseball -- by the game itself, and by a love for the game. If you don't like Baseball -- well, give the series a few episodes to change your mind, but otherwise I'd steer clear.
The English voice cast is quite good, especially the main characters on Nishiura High's team. They do a good job of keeping the show interesting even when they're talking a bunch of Baseball technicalities the layperson probably doesn't know anything about, and actually help maintain interest in these situations. Also helping maintain interest is the stunning animation and sound. The crack of a metal bat on a ball, the look of the field as rain begins to pelt down, the music (especially the second opening theme, "Seishun Line") -- all are fantastic.
The series isn't perfect, of course. Sometimes it becomes too bogged down in Baseball minutia to be of great interest, and the second game especially goes on a little too long. But when it shines, it shines as brightly as any series I've seen, and the loveable characters keep you coming back for more. According to Wikipedia. there's a sequel series that aired in Japan this year; I can't wait to watch it, and see all these great characters back in action again. This is a great series if you love Baseball, and if you don't, it might just change your mind.
The story of Big Windup is for the most part entertaining. I was glad that they made the whole game that they were playing entertaining, and not just the 9th inning. However there were times when the story seemed to get repetitive, and the story itself moved at an incredibly slow pace. Despite the plot being entertaining, I found it to be nothing special. There was little in the way of depth to the story either. Despite this there where times when I laughed, and times where I really felt the moment that was being presented to me. Overall, the story is entertaining, but it is a bit thin and it moves at a snails pace.
The animation was mediocre at best. There were several instances when they used still frames of the characters. Also there was one moment that took me off guard where all they show is a still frame of the crowd cheering the team on. The style bothered me a little bit with the shape of the mouths, and it looked freaky to me. Mihashi looked especially freaky and it was almost like they werent humans.
There are really only two characters that really make them important. Mihashi to me was a complete wuss, completely insecure, and he trusts Abe too much. He really seems to be a flat, one dimensional character. Abe was entirely too mean. This left me with the impression that he was just a jerk to Mihashi and he has anger issues. He also seemed flat to me. The only member of the coaching staff that gets any amount of time is the head coach, who i found to be very wise. I felt like they should have spent more time on the rest of Mihashi's team. However Big Windup has a remerkable cast of minor players, which is far more expansive and interesting than the main characters.
The story was ok, but nothing that made it stand out. The animation is lacklusterm and looked kind of freaky. The characters where for the most part, flat and one dimensional. Big Windup is not a good anime, but it is not a horrible one either. Its a mediocre anime, and with mediocre animes, there are much better ones out there.