May 27, 2011
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Title: Moshidora
Genre: Drama
Rating: 7.5/10

Moshidora

Summary: Minami joins her High School baseball team as a team manager after finding out that her best friend Yuuki is in the hospital and can’t be a team manager any more. In order to try to fill in for Yuuki and to help out the team the best she can, she goes out to find a book on how to manage a baseball team. Unfortunately, she accidentally buys Peter Drucker’s book called “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” which is actually about how to properly manage a business. Because she couldn’t return the book, she decides to read it anyway and to try to apply the business management concepts to the baseball team so that way they can go on and win the Nationals.

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Review: Moshidora ended up quite a bit different than I expected. I would first like everyone to note that I am not a particular fan of sports themed anime. I generally find them quite boring since they all have the same general plot. In terms of end goals, Moshidora was no different. The high school baseball team wanted to reach nationals and to do so they had to improve their game. Of course the team initially can’t get it together with internal conflicts, lack of motivation, and other such factors. However, after watching the first couple episodes I started to see things in a new light. Moshidora ended up being quite an entertaining little series. The episodes were released daily which helped keep my interest. Unlike many other series, Moshidora had no episodes that could be considered filler, and with only 10 episodes I would sure hope not. This short, bittersweet tale of of a high school baseball team captured my interest and went far beyond my expectations.

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The series starts off setting up the general plot. The high school baseball team isn’t doing so hot and are starting to get discouraged. Everything is well and good until you learn that their manager is no where to be seen. Due to a childhood illness the manager, Yuuki, has been hospitalized and needs a replacement. Her best friend, Minami, decides to help her out because it has always been Yuuki’s dream to take the baseball team to nationals. The only thing is Minami knows nothing about managing a baseball team, and secretly hates baseball after realizing she can never go pro. After pushing her feeling aside, she does all she can to help the baseball team and buys a management book. Unfortunately for her, it’s a management book to start a business, not run a baseball team. Trying not to get discouraged, she gives it a shot anyway using the book’s advice. The series does a great job establishing the initial story and showing the bond between Minami has Yuuki. Moshidora decided to take a past that both friends shared, but push them in different directions. Yuuki fell in love with baseball after watching her Minami play even though she could never actually play herself, while Minami walked away from baseball despite being so engulfed in it as a child. After adding in a little drama the series turned a bit toward comedy.

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The art honestly wasn’t all that great. It was pretty standard if anything. Thankfully the series didn’t need great art to be considered worth watching. It got the job done and wasn’t an eye sore. Probably the only problem I had with it were the little “dream” sequence things (see pictures above). I still have no idea what the purpose of these were. Suddenly Minami would go off talking about the management book and she would enter these strange worlds that look like a bad painting. I admit that they look very cool and artsy, but they had no purpose. My best guess is that defining words like “innovation” and “marketing” is pretty dang boring, so why not throw something neat on the screen. At least then you have something nice to look. Other than that though, the art was solid and no real complaints here since the art was probably the least important subject.

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The comedy wasn’t all that great, and for the most part it gave a little grin on my face. However, I feel it necessary to have because it did cut some of the tension between the baseball team and Yuuki’s condition. Minami was probably one of the best characters because it showed her development as a manager and person in general. She offered most of the comedy with her lack of ability and strange personality. Most of the time she was basically the person who lightened the mood and helped motivate the rest of the team to do better. Her sociable personality also helped tie the baseball team with the entire school, gathering everyone together to help keep the team going. I think her fighting spirit was what I fell in love with the most. Although it may seem a bit cliché, she is usually the one who is ready to take on any challenge head-on. Her innovative thoughts made this simple sports anime something everyone can enjoy. Even a non-baseball fan like myself.

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As I said earlier, Minami was responsible for bringing the team together. By bringing them together it brought about a lot of great scenes and moments that got you routing for the team from day one. Getting to know the different characters and their reasons for the joining the baseball team brought the audience closer to the struggles and hardship they all had to face. The series did a great job making the team seem very believable by not having any of the players spectacularly good or bad. It seemed like all of them were just normal high school kids trying to play a good game of ball. I felt that the anime had a particular focus on three of the players: Asano (pitcher), Yunosuke, (short stop), Hoshide (clean up). Although there were other key players, these three seemed to always be in the spotless for the tense moments. Yunosuke was often the one creating the tension by making countless errors that cost them either a run in or man on base. Asano, the key pitcher and probably the star of the team would either overcompensate for Yunosuke’s mistakes or need to make the big play. Finally, Hoshide, would always be the one to take the team home. As a clean up it was his job to get the runners to home base. He was also one of the hardest working players, running everyday after practice whether it be sunshine, rain or snow. The combination of these three players made the tournament very enjoyable to watch. Many of the games were fast-forwarded and you only got to see a quick little montage of what happened, but the key games were exciting to watch. The anime not only brought out of the best in the team, they also included to game’s audience. Probably one of the greatest moments in the entire series is when the audience stood up and started to sing Asano’s favorite song. A song that strengthened Asano’s confidence as he threw the final pitch, ending the opponent’s inning. This magical moment of the bond between the players and audience really brought out the best in the series. And to be honest, it made me want to listen to the full version of the song if there is one.

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But of course, this is a drama, and not everything can work out picture perfect. There were a lot of dark scenes and heart pumping tension. I can’t spoil too much talking about the drama because it would probably take away from the series, but I’ll let you know that not everything works out. With all the glory, and finally bringing the team together some things just can’t be helped. Sometimes reality is a harsh mistress that has no mercy. However, the drama is what took the series above and beyond. It wasn’t a series that made me sit and bawl my eyes out, but it definitely made an impact. Thankfully, it is after these dark moments where things shine the most.

Final statements: Even as a non-sports fan I enjoyed this series. It actually made me think that sports anime aren’t all that bad. This short and sweet series is a preferred watch because it has a lot of great things about it. It wasn’t something that will go down in the history books, but it had a lot of strong scenes and development.

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