Shigeno Daigo is an elementary student whose father, Goro, is a professional baseball player. Inspired by his father, who was once a Major League player, Daigo started playing baseball with the Mifune Dolphins, a youth team. However, he was unable to live up to the expectations of being the son of a professional, and quit baseball after less than a year. Then, in the spring of his sixth-grade year, Daigo's school welcomes a transfer student, Sato Hikaru, whose father is Sato Toshiya, a former Major League player and Goro's close friend. The fate of these two young men begins to move forward!
If I Wasn't the Second
The Two Juniors
The Talent of Loving Baseball
Commence Special Training!
Some Day, For Sure
Toshiya's Personal Training
The Summer Tournament Begins!
Now I've Done It!
Another "next gen" anime. To be honest, I probably would have enjoyed this more if it revolved around Izumi Shigeno instead of Daigo. In the short amount of times she comes on screen, she already has a much more interesting personality. That, or if it was actually about Hikaru and Daigo learning to become a battery. For all the summary (and intro song) boasts, it takes what feels like forever for them to become a battery...and they only form as one for official games a couple times. Now that said, if you're familiar at all with the "formula" of Major, then you can probably predict nearly everything starting at around episode 5 or so and going up to episode 25. - Story Daigo is the second child of Goro Shigeno...only, he doesn't seem to have the same natural talent that his father and sister (Izumi) have. Though he loves baseball and wants to be like his father, he learns that he has a weak shoulder and gets a lot of sneers and sighs of disappointment when he joins the Mifune Dolphins in fourth grade. The shock of shattering expectations and not being a natural genius causes him to quit after just his first day. After being an emo, aggressive jerk for a while, Daigo doesn't pick baseball back up until he meets Hikaru Satou, who happens to be the son of Toshiya Satou. And even then, he hesitates greatly as he still can't figure out just where he stands on the subject of baseball until he finally snaps out of worrying about what other people think of him...thanks to Hikaru. However, since all of this happens in sixth grade, they really only have one summer to show their developing skills off. On the plus side, the viewer isn't subjected to yet another "protagonist gathers up a team of weirdoes from scratch" as the Mifune Dolphins already have enough members. On the minus side, we mostly see Daigo in right field and Hikaru in center field, as opposed to pitching and catching, in official games because the two of them have zero experience (especially compared to the other members). Oh, and there's a (possible love interest) female, Sakura, who has natural talent but isn't allowed to join the team by her parents until shortly after Daigo and Hikaru join, and thus (unfortunately) barely gets to play. 6/10; could have been great, but wasted too much time on Edgelord!Daigo and the pacing was terrible - Characters Daigo is, for the most part, an annoying little brat. There's another word I want to use in there, but as this is a review, let's just go with "brat". While I understand the feeling of wanting to give up when you aren't good at something, that he gave it up in just one afternoon speaks volumes for his character. The problem is that he isn't quite the "cowardly" character type. If he was more like a "cowardly" character stereotype (like Yugi from Yu-Gi-OH), it would have been a little easier to get behind him. Heck, even if he had been like a lesser-talented Ren Mihashi (Ookiku Furikabutte), that would have been fine (perhaps even better). But the character of Daigo Shigeno is a "coward but not quite a coward", and both "loves and hates" baseball. He sees the world in black and white; something is either "good" or it's "bad". While I can see where the creator was going with that sort of character, it just didn't work out in the way Daigo Shigeno came off to the viewers. And while one can sympathize with him, that he's a stand-offish jerk when he gets "moody" makes it hard. Hikaru Satou was the only reason I watched the anime to the end. He's an interesting enigma of a character who really isn't too mysterious once one figures out his motives and true feelings. Like his father, he's cunning and quick to pick things up, and can also read people very well. He often hides his true feelings behind a smile, but not to be malicious. Rather, he's very thoughtful and mindful of the people around him. To be honest, Hikaru would have made a better protagonist than Daigo. Though the allure of a character who "is the son of Goro but doesn't seem to have his skill level" certainly attracts people to the anime more than a "rookie with a huge amount of natural talent", Hikaru just feels like a more complex character. We also never see the face of Hikaru's mother. Ever. For some reason, they just decided to never show her face from above the chin. As he's the secondary protagonist, that just doesn't feel right. Then again, with Goro as the protagonist in Major, a non-complex character as the lead was probably an easier pick for the writer. There's also Mutsuko Sakura, who shows to have a natural affinity for the game fairly early on in being able to catch Hikaru's pitches and also being a natural at batting. However, she is more of just a "cheerleader" for them until the pot calls the kettle black (aka, Daigo convinces her to not give up in convincing her parents to let her play) and she joins the team shortly before the summer tournament starts. For a 25 episode series, it seemed to spend a little too much time on Daigo just moping around. While it did finally start to include the backgrounds of the other important characters (Hikaru, Sakura, Urabe...and sort of Andy), it felt like there wasn't as much as what could have been there to round them out more. Them being in sixth grade is no excuse considering the terrific character development in the first season of Major (when Goro was a kid). So basically, the characters could have been so much more than they were. I feel they would have benefitted more if they were all in (at most) fifth grade instead of sixth so that they had a year to develop properly. 5.5/10 for potential, but not written up to what they could have been. - Sound and Animation No real complaints; they score the highest. Hearing "Kokoroe" again as an insert song in a couple places was a treat, and it was in the proper places to draw out emotion. The regular opening and ending songs...were just "meh". I actually really disliked the first opening and ending songs. The second set weren't as obnoxious, thankfully. Voice acting was fine, though sometimes characters felt like they went from mumbling to screaming the ears off of the viewers. 8/10 for the sound; pretty solid. Animation was great...until the final couple episodes where the animators chose to have just colored "backgrounds" behind the characters as they talked instead of an actual background. The first time it happened, fine; it was a change-up in the mood. But when it kept happening? Yea, no...docking points for what felt like lazy animation. On the plus side, previous animation was enough to make up for much of it, so it still scores high. 7/10; those weird animated parts at the end aside, the animation attempts to make up for the downhill story and strikeout on the characters. - Overall This series was completely hit-and-miss. Again, it would have probably been a more interesting series if it was just mostly focused on Daigo and Hikaru; a chance meeting leading to them becoming a battery (pitcher-catcher combo) and the trials they have to go through as such. Instead, we have to sit through episode upon episode of Daigo being a whiny little emo. Once more, it's not that I don't sympathize; I didn't have to meet anyone's expectations, but it doesn't feel good when you transition from doing something you love to doing the thing you love in a competitive field and find out that compared to the other players, you suck. And I'm a "coward", too. I run away a lot, too. But stubbornnes (and curiosity) is what gets me to continue. Even as a kid, I was stubborn like that. Daigo just...feels wishy-washy in his actions. While his frustrations are relateable, his attitude after quitting is not. Also, nobody has any breaking pitches. WHUT? The series can get away with that for the 4th to 5th graders, but the majority of this occurs when the characters are in 6th grade (12 years old). They'll be preparing for middle school soon...most grade-schoolers have at least one breaking ball by then. At least. Hikaru not having any breaking balls is understandable, but like...Urabe? Anyone? We only see one pitcher the entire time use a breaking ball, and it's some weasel of a pitcher on an opposing team who just uses a slow ball. While a slow ball is technically a breaking ball, it's not like anyone is using known breaking balls (not even a curveball). One-trick ponies will not make the starting lineup on a middle school (or Seniors League) team. And heck, even this anime shows that a fast and accurate pitch will eventually be taken apart. During my time playing in Little League baseball, we started to learn breaking pitches at around 5th grade. When I tried to be a pitcher, I was terrible because I couldn't get the ball across home plate...except for my sliders. I loved throwing sliders. Yet these kids can only throw fastballs. Even the first series of Major showed pitchers using a varied selection. Considering that this anime mostly stars 12 year olds (6th graders), Hikaru aside, the others should have at least one breaking pitch. As for the rest...again, the pattern was very easy to predict. There was next to no tension in the games because even a viewer who didn't look at the names of the future episodes would be able to figure out which games the Dolphins would win and which would knock them out of the tournament. There were a couple unpredictable variants (both of which involving Hikaru), and both felt like they were just thrown in to increase the drama. Know what would have happened if they were both taken out? Absolutely nothing, aside from a more realistic method of developing Hikaru's character. What the heck was the point of that bit which happened in the last couple episodes? Absolutely nothing, except to bring back Edgelord!Daigo...something literally nobody asked for. I have to dock quite a few points for that crap last couple episodes (though one of the last couple scenes was very powerful, it didn't make up for the crapshow before it). Unnecessary drama is what it was. Didn't we see enough of Daigo moping and being all emo for the first few episodes? Why subject us to more of that? If there's one thing I can't stand, it's seeing a repeat of a character's mistakes. Characters are expected to grow, and protagonists are expected to hit a "wall" or even "blue screen of death". But the mistakes need to match the growth and not be reused, and I don't feel that happened with Daigo. Honestly, I'd rather re-watch the first season of Major than watch this again. It didn't fully draw me in, and Daigo was just such an unlikeable protagonist that for all of Goro's annoying traits (and bad parenting; stop leaving Kaoru to raise both your kids because you're a baseball idiot-fanatic), he was a more solid protagonist. As I said before, I feel like Hikaru would have even been a better protagonist. Then again, if Daigo had just been a little more on the meek side of the "cowardly" protagonist, then he would have worked out just fine come to think of it. I guess even edgelords play baseball. This did have potential to break out of the "second generation being crappy anime", but while I would say it did better than the likes of Boruto (ungh), Major 2nd just couldn't get a homerun. 6/10; not the worst "second gen" anime out there, but it could have easily been the best with a few tweaks to the characters and the story.
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