I’m a big fan of sports anime because they tend to focus not so much on the sport but the people playing it instead, which makes for some really moving, touching, or just plain cool stories. You’ve got your Eyeshield 21s and Kuroko no Basuke’s which are over the top battle shounen in sports form which works REALLY WELL at providing badass insanity you’d never see in real life and that just feels so damn cool to watch accompanied by a great cast with some good development (though that development is clearly “shounen-esque”). Then you’ve got your Baby Steps, Chihayafuru, Ookiku Furikabutte, which while having a HUGE focus on the sport they play (all three of them pretty much cover 100% of every ‘game’ they’re involved in, rarely skimming over any of them or fast-forwarding at all) while somehow balancing that with equally hugely focused on cast development that is top fucking quality stuff you’d find in most not-shit josei (no surprise that Chihayafuru literally is one).
What about Battery? It’s a show that was perfectly set up to fall into the second group and even provides you with all the super obvious paths it’ll go – while making you excited to see them play out rather than bored that it’s going to be predictable. The show starts off with the VERY FIRST SCENE harping on the health of the protagonist’s little brother and how weak his body is and how dangerous it is for him to even be in snow for 10 seconds or he could die – obviously something is going to happen with that. Then it goes deep into providing you ample proof that this main character needs to develop, he’s an asshole to everyone – from his grandpa and mom to kids he meets that love baseball and the secondary lead, he’s a huge prick to everyone except his little brother (another red flag that he’s going to be hospitalized or die). That’s clearly the point of the show, taking him from this dickheaded super self-obsessed diva into someone that’s less of a self-fellating douchebag through a big character arc that probably involves his brother dying and baseball along with his battery-mate Go and baseball as a whole helping him handle losing his brother. Another big talked-up aspect from the second scene in the show is that the lead needs to learn that baseball isn’t just about winning, it’s about the joy of playing and the bonds with your teammates, something the grandpa never shuts the fuck up about from the moment we meet him. Surely the show has a lot ready for us, and all of it sounds like stuff that, especially for a Noitamina slot, could be done fantastically well. I was especially hopeful because Noitamina has had nothing but shit since Nanana ended in 2014 (Nanana was great) aside Kabaneri which was alright and this looked like the perfect way to get this timeslot back on track with the top-tier character dramas it used to be so full of.
Yet instead Battery chooses to fall into neither category. It’s certainly no shounen sport series and is equally lacking in anything that would make it more character-drama focused. The baseball aspect practically doesn’t exist in this show at all, there’s a lot of PRACTICE and PLAYING CATCH but there are only two actual baseball games and neither one is sanctioned and NEITHER ONE IS FINISHED. The first game is ended halfway through because the coach of the other team finds out about this game taking place and makes them stop, the second game is the finale of the show and ends with a pitch after only a couple innings as a “decide on your own how you want this to end” cliffhanger. On the character development front…nothing happens. Ever. Nobody changes or grows, nobody looks in and finds something about themselves, the little brother’s health constantly comes up but has no consequence whatsoever even when he starts playing baseball and is even foreshadowed to be fucking dead early on, the titular battery never grows as a team and even hates one another in the final moments of the final episode just like they did from the start, and the main character is still that same dickheaded super self-obsessed self-fellating diva douchebag.
Instead, we get all I just said as well as some really awkwardly shoved in pseudo-homoerotic bullshit with this completely out of nowhere introduced other school’s pinch hitter who becomes creepily obsessed with the lead. I mean REALLY obsessed, the entire second half of the show centers around his insane adoration for the lead and even has his (of questionable sexuality) friend teasing him constantly about his “princess”. These two also lack any development but, like everyone else, it HAS THE SCENES WHERE DEVELOPMENT WOULD EXIST but just continues on after without anything having happened. They’ll outright beat the fuck out of each other and then nothing is any different which is a common event in this show.
Which leads me to the single moment this show really fucked itself; when the school suspended the baseball team indefinitely for a bullying incident. This is the SOLE thing in the entire show that actually has a result and sadly that result is “the entire point of the show is now impossible to accomplish” and it happens like halfway in. Up to then all those other issues exist but you still have faith things will change, once this happens it makes it clear nothing ever will. It’s also done incredibly uncomfortably with the “bullying/hazing” being more like gay ass-rape. That’s not a joke, they literally lock the MC in a room, put a flashlight on him, bend him over a table, start pulling his clothes off, shove something in his mouth, and then start whipping him from behind while everyone holds him down and keeps his ass arched into the air. It’s one of the most overtly gay things imaginable and it goes on for awhile.
Battery is a mess of obviously abandoned good-ideas, poor directing, and a distinct lack of anything ever fucking happening. It’s not terrible, it’s not “shit”, it’s just a waste of time because it never takes even a single step in any direction whatsoever. It’s boring.
P.S. Sorry for having no posts in almost 2 months, I’m still here.