Battery – Preview
Original Air Dates: July 13, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: Harada Takumi is the best pitcher in the region and he’s not even in Junior High yet. However, Takumi finds himself increasingly frustrated as he’s unable to find a catcher who can keep up with him. When his family moves to a backwater town, his frustration only gets worse until he comes to meet one Nagakura Go….
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Battery’s first episode is all about the characters. It’s entirely used to introduce us to our core cast, their problems, and ultimate starting point before they’re catapulted into the story and gradually change and evolve. There’s no real set up, no real sense of where the series will be going, or how it’s plot will unfold other than Go and Takumi forming a Battery (Pairing of Catcher and Pitcher). So currently, Battery’s introduction hinges entirely on how compelling you find either of these two characters.
Linny: And that’s where Battery’s first issue crops up. Takumi is a difficult character to warm to. He is talented but also immensely aware of it to the point of being brash and arrogant. One could have brushed off his bristly nature as caused by his unhappiness about the family moving to a new and small town, and there are hints about his parents being oblivious and cold towards him. However, right in the very first few minutes of the show, Takumi is shown telling his brother, Seiha to aim and hit a bird with a snowball. When Seiha misses on purpose because he doesn’t want to hurt the bird, Takumi then hits the branch with full force, making it seem like if he’d been the one who threw the snowball, he’d have had every intention of injuring it as much as he could. It was an incident that left a very sour taste in my mouth and made it hard for me to sympathize with a character who seemed so cruel.
Tom: Takumi is an outright asshole. He’s rude, overconfident, and there’s little explanation as to why, save for some small hints that something, some event prior to the start of the series still has a hold over him and remains a negative influence. There’s hints that this’ll be a transformative series, where Takumi grows due to his budding friendship with Go, his grandfather’s influence and other aspects to change him fundamentally as an individual. But as he is right now, he’s a tough character to root for, and if you’re the kind of viewer that needs a likable hero, Takumi just doesn’t fit that requirement.
Linny: Takumi’s parents do not seem like the most loving parents either. While they aren’t outright cruel, there’s a lot of signs within the first episode itself that Takumi has a shaky relationship with them. His father seems least bothered when Takumi tells Seiha to hit a bird and seems to have no interest or idea of what his son is actually going through. Similarly, his mother seems to be frustrated with Takumi and both parents fail at reading Takumi, where as Seiha, his little brother seems to be the only one who truly understands him.
Tom: Go, our other prominent main character, is the nicer of the two, and probably the lead that’ll suck in anyone who needs to feel attached to their characters. He’s a genuine and authentic guy that tries hard and puts in real effort with a positive attitude. There’s also the little brother, Seiha, who is adorable enough and passionate enough that if he remains a central figure, could work to offset Takumi’s exceedingly unlikable personality.
Linny: This season has some pretty unconventional sports based anime in the form of Days and Cheer Boys, and I am wondering if Battery is going to be the more traditional of the three this season. As of now, it’s hard to tell exactly what the show is going for but my best guess would be that it is going to be a story of redemption and personal growth for Takumi as he learns to enjoy baseball and not merely view it as a competition. If you enjoy such tales, Battery will be a perfect match for you. Just be aware that Takumi isn’t the most likable protagonist at the start.
Tom: Battery is based upon the manga of the same name and, perhaps more importantly, is Studio Zero-G’s very first anime. They’re a new studio and as first fair adaptations go, Battery could be a lot worse. The troubles Battery faces primarily surround Takumi, and while I haven’t checked out the manga, I find it difficult to believe the studio is to blame for his sheer unlikability. If you’re interested in supporting new studios in this struggling industry, Battery is definitely worth a watch and won’t be at all painful. That said, until Takumi improves as an individual, he’s a severe detractor for anyone in need of a main character they can root for.
Battery is available for streaming via Amazon.com.