Mix – Anime Preview
Synopsis: A new generation steps up to the plate in a moving sequel to the 1985 baseball manga, Touch. Stepbrothers Touma and Suichirou are ace players on Meisei High School’s baseball team, and thanks to them, the team may finally have a chance at returning to nationals. But little by little, a tragic legacy unfolds as the stepbrothers follow in their fathers’ footsteps. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: With two 13 year old boys as its main characters, Mix immediately gives me the feeling that the show is aimed at a similarly aged audience, with whimsical writing and a relaxed atmosphere that makes Mix feel like mild, easy going entertainment. This is bolstered by an older art style, which seems to stick to the original manga’s art, touched up with a bit of cartoonish flare.
Tom: The atmosphere for Mix sits somewhere between light nostalgia for fans who remember Mix’s predecessor anime, Touch, a 1980s baseball anime (Western fans wouldn’t since it never came over here.) and something aimed exclusively at a new, youthful audience. The series makes use of a lively narrator who introduces each of our main characters with a whimsical, jovial touch and a few light-hearted jokes that really hammer home this ‘kids show’ feel. Even after the narrator’s voice disappears, the series retains an almost slice of life-esque approach to its introduction, never hammering too much on the drama, and keeping things light and easy. But this focus on keeping things light, easy and low-key makes for a pretty dull introduction. It’s not until we get some actual pitching going on that the series even feels worthwhile.
Linny: For a sports anime to truly win over a large following, that includes people who are not even fans of the featured sport, nor of sports anime in general, it’s a must that it present really likeable characters that grab your attention and affection. That’s where Mix drops the ball. Touma and Suichirou’s introduction consists of the two boys bickering over who’s the older brother. This conversation, as written, hardly feels natural, making for a bizarre and ineffective first impression. Mix’s premiere as a whole lacks punchy moments that leave a mark, relying on repetitive gags or predictable elements that fizzle on impact. In fact, one of its main attempts at humour is a character whose catchphrase like explanation for his name gets the exact same unimpressed response from the people he tells it to, making for an equally unimpressive joke each time. Then there’s the fact that the episode is trying extra hard to both build up but also hide its big reveal about the relationship between its Touma and Suichirou, constantly teasing what feels like a painfully obvious reveal. There’s plenty of dialogue and even one scene that all but confirms the obvious, that these two boys are not actually twin brothers nor even related by birth. The episode’s attempts to build up this just doesn’t work and feels like way too much effort to reveal something that it also is making way too obvious already.
Tom: Mix, to me, feels like something that may actually hinge more so on nostalgia than its own legs. The series’ easy going, slow start may be a symptom of its pedigree, assuming audiences are happy to stick around for a seemingly ‘epic’ narrative, as it continues the story of one of the most popular anime of all time. Western Audiences won’t have quite the same experience, seeing Touch never came to the west, forcing Mix to truly stand as its own thing, without such an awesome pedigree. As it is Mix feels mild and inoffensive, with little real meat to its bones. Maybe that’ll improve, but right now it doesn’t feel like a must watch for the season.
Linny: As someone who had never heard of this series, or its predecessor, I cannot speak to how it compares to the original or even to its original source manga. But if you are worried that you might need to be familiar with either to follow, I can assure you that is absolutely not necessary, specifically in terms of understanding what is happening in the episode. Maybe it’s because it might actually be aimed at a younger crowd that the show chooses to keep its exposition style simple and obvious, even employing a narrator who voices all kinds of basic information in a playful tone. That means it’s easy to follow, but it may be too simplistic for an older viewer. Give Mix a try if you love baseball or sports anime but if you’re averse to either, I’d recommend skipping this series and I’d also probably recommend skipping it to anyone who’s past their teen years thanks to its rather simplistic and basic approach to storytelling, dialogue and characters.
Mix is available for streaming via Funimation.com