Cinderella Nine – Anime Preview
Synopsis: When Arihara Tsubasa enters Rigahama Municipal High School and learns that it has no baseball club, she starts up the Girls’ Baseball Club on her own. Drawn to the club are girls who have never played baseball before, girls who once played it but quit, and girls who are constantly tackling great challenges. The Rigahama Girls’ Baseball Club races through the trials of youth, periodically clashing and quarreling, but supporting each other all the way! And so begins the hottest summer the world has ever known…(Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Cinderella Nine starts strong with its animation, featuring well animated scenes, characters….but quickly tapers off around the midpoint where its tight budget manifests peppering the rest of the episode with frequent still images right as we get to the baseball action. To make it worse, the still images aren’t even that well drawn, making the hard drop all the more noticeable.
Tom: It’s hard not to feel like Cinderella Nine is going to turn into a visual dumpster fire when the first episode has trouble keeping it together. Not only do the visuals start to collapse midway (excessive long shots with little animation, poor character models, etc.) But Cinderella Nine’s opening animation sequence offers nothing impressive either. It’s riddled with lengthy sequences of looped animation, or static images of each of the girls appearing on screen. Despite this, Cinderella Nine at least offers some decent, low-key, conflict as Tsubasa tries to put together her girl’s baseball club. This keeps the episode moderately engaging as she works to recruit a handful of girls, who we get to know briefly through their practice session that makes up the back half of the episode. It’s nothing overtly impressive, but checks enough of the right boxes to work as a casual sports anime.
Linny: The truth however is that these girls are all very generic. You get the determined club founder, the fumbling and shy member, and finally the reluctantly roped in semi skilled player that the episode tries to depict as suffering from some major personal hang up but does a terrible job of clearly establishing said hang up. If you’re fond of seeing cute anime girls dabbling in sports, you might still find these girls good (and cute) enough to keep you engaged but to anyone else they’re bound to feel like shallow copy-pastes.
Tom: Cinderella Nine could be a lot better. As it stands the series seems to be doing just enough to remain entertaining, but only just. The writing itself isn’t that tight. As Linny mentions it’s hard to get a handle on what’s bothering one of the characters. Later, when the super shy girl undergoes a catharsis that allows her to break out of her shell and actually play the game, it’s not clear what really spurred her to do that. It just sort of happens. If you haven’t guessed it already, Cinderella Nine is yet another mobile game adaptation. Unlike Spring’s other promotional mobile game anime, AFTERLOST, Cinderella Nine isn’t helping to boost awareness for something up and coming, but a ‘reward’ for a game that’s been running two years in Japan. Also unlike AFTERLOST you can feel that Cinderella Nine is at least trying. There’s actual effort put in to expand on the mobile game and tell a story about girls struggling to form their own high school baseball club. For that I’d say that Cinderella Nine isn’t a terrible watch, but I’d set expectations low for it rising anywhere above the quality of this mediocre first episode.
Linny: As Tom mentioned, if you do decide to give this show a chance, it would be best to go in with tempered expectations thanks to its mobile game origins. While I would love to thoroughly support this series for featuring girls playing a sport usually associated solely with the opposite sex, it’s hard to ignore how high its chances of degrading to cheap cash grab/promotional material are. What’s in the first episode isn’t that strong plot wise or character wise, and at best Cinderella Nine could be enjoyed as a means of seeing a cute group of high school girls playing baseball with little to no hope of ever delivering any amazing stories or animation. If cute girls playing baseball is enough to sell you on it, then dive in. If not, then mark Cinderella Nine as another easy skip for the season.
Cinderella Nine is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.