Sousei no Onmyouji – 25

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I was hoping for some kind of movement of the Sae mystery—will she turn out to be the Big Bad, Kuranashi?—here at the halfway point of the show (assuming it only goes 50 episodes). Instead, we got another relatively generic dragon spot-of-the-week, this time a big one that opens in the middle of a domed baseball stadium in Aichi. Chief among the hordes of kegare that emerge is our Basara-of-the-week, Yamato, who creates a giant kegare suit to stomp around and fight in.

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Joining the Basara-of-the-week are the Twelve Guardians-of-the-week, Ioroi Nasumi and Kasukami Cordelia, who like Yamato are painted in the broadest of strokes due to the time constraints. Ioroi can’t help but laught heartily before saying anything, while Cordelia speaks with electronic voice in single English words she spells out first. Okay, sure, why not?

The guardians meet with Roku and Benio, then go off to fight Yamato’s giant kegare suit with Cordelia’s giant celestial suit; a tactic we haven’t seen from exorcists before.

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They don’t fare too well though, and before long Roku and Benio realize that “what they need to do” is what they, like the former ace pitcher, and only they can do: close the spot.

They do so, getting a small (microscopic) assist from the old pitcher in the process, and in doing so, gain the respect of two more Guardians, who, like Yamato, wander off in the end, leaving Roku, Benio, and Sae free to tackle the next crisis-of-the week.

I’m putting myself on record as not being the greatet fan of this latest string of episodes; they tell small stories that aren’t really progressing the protagonists’ development in any meaningful way. Not to mention Sae continues to be head-scratcher the show is annoyingly in no hurry to resolve.

Of the 25 episodes of SnO I’ve watched, only 12 have scored 8 or higher. If that trend continus, that means a minimum of 24 sub-recommended episodes when all’s said and done. That’s a lot of mediocrity to sift through, and I’m quietly starting wonder whether it’s worth it.

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Battery – 01 (First Impressions)

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The gist: Takumi Harada is a world class pitcher and his parents have just moved to the country side to live with his Grandfather. While his school team is not impressive, his Grandfather was also a quality pitcher, and Takumi stands to gain even if he doesn’t make the nationals.

While jogging, Takumi meets Gou Nagakura, a large boy who will be this years catcher. Gou’s mother also went to school with Takumi’s mother. So their lives quickly entwine.

Takumi also has a sickly little brother who wants to beat him at bases balls. Grandpa thinks this will happen but he’ll probably die late in the season for dramatic effect, just in time to turn Takumi around?

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I’m not a big sports anime fan and, unlike everyone else at RABUJOI, I actively dislike baseball. Obviously, this limits my potential enjoyment of the show, which is otherwise about a stubborn grim faced teen who doesn’t talk much.

Battery suffers from having underwhelming sound. Not only is the background music forgettable, I had to re-watch the episode to see if there was music at all. I also found some of the audio a little ‘tinny’ like the sound booth had not been setup correctly and Grandpa’s voice work came off surprisingly amateurish. These are not game-killing issues just not good for a first impression.

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The Verdict: this is the high school equivalent to Bud Lite. If you watch it in an air-conditioned room on a hot day, its average looks, sluggish story telling, and not especially interesting characters won’t bother you. It’s unclear what direction the show is going to take since this first episode’s focus on Ta & Go, saved technical exposition of baseball and school class building for later.

If it stays in the family drama realm, I’m not sure there’s much to hold anyone’s attention. However, if it focuses mostly on the baseball, it’s not an especially pretty show either. Lose x lose?

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Kami-sama no Memo-cho 9

When Nemoto, a yakuza, threatens to raise the rent of an arcade the NEETs frequent, they convince him to take part in a bet. If the NEETs beat him at baseball, the rent stays the same. To their surprise, it’s a real baseball game, not a video game, they have to participate in. Nemoto also fields ringers and is himself a former ace pitcher. To beat him, Alice and Narumi need to know what kind of player he was.

I have a soft spot for baseball episodes – even DS9 did one for crying out loud – especially when they bear some resemblance to the sport of baseball. This episode did, somewhat. You had your signs, your uncaught strike three, your out pitch, et cetera. Baseball is every bit as much about brains as it is about brawn, and considering the NEET team had more than a few capable players, I wasn’t that outraged that they won. Whether Narumi could actually hit a home run off of Nemo just because he knows what’s coming is a stretch, to be sure. But as an in-between episode it wasn’t bad.

The arcade at stake is apparently where the NEETs spend a lot of time; the owner calls them regulars. Yet nine episodes in and I believe this is the first time we’ve seen them there. Usually they’re just in the alley behind Min’s ramen shop. It was hard to care about the stakes considering this episode was the first time we learned of the arcade’s existence, and Narumi & Co.’s fondness for it. Still, I liked how they still needed to do some detective work to “solve the case” (win the game). And Alice actually going outside and participating in athletics? Unprecedented.


Rating: 3