TAMAYOMI : The Baseball Girls – 1st Episode Review
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Synopsis: Even with her “miracle ball,” junior high student Yomi Takeda’s pitching career ended in heartbreak. When she reunites with childhood friend Tamaki Yamazaki in high school, the only person who could catch her signature pitch, it rekindles her passion to play. To fulfill the promise made to each other as kids, she’s eager to step up to the plate again. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Despite the super short skirts and defined butts, TAMAYOMI is actually very innocent for a series with an all female cast. Not once does it linger on any scandalous body part or offer any kind of suggestive content in its first episode. This is hopefully a strong sign that the main focus and purpose of TAMAYOMI is to showcase these girls bonding over a shared love and talent for baseball, rather than an excuse for fan service.
Tom: Tamayomi is nothing special, besides being a baseball anime with an all girls cast, a general rarity in anime. It’s decent enough slice of life fodder, watching a group of adorable teen baseball fans come together and realize they share a similar love for the sport. It’s fairly predictable, hitting expected beats like ‘tragic pasts,’ or reuniting long lost childhood friends who eventually form a formidable duo, etc. Basically take most any shonen sports anime, swap the cast for girls, tone down the drama so it’s more easy going and bam you’ve got Tamayomi. It’s nothing impressive, but at the same time feels at least a bit more together than Cinderella Nine, another baseball girls anime that aired last summer.
Linny: TAMAYOMI doesn’t have the most dynamic first episode. Yes it does feature some actual baseball, as well as the girls indulging in some casual rounds of pitching and catching, but a fair amount of the episode is just the girls talking. And these conversations aren’t the most engaging either. How far away do the girls live from school? What’s their commute like? Even when we do get to see Yomi’s personal drama with her previous school’s baseball team, it’s all played out so low key that it could easily blend in with the rest of the more slow paced content in the episode. While I am all for keeping drama restrained, TAMAYOMI keeps it perhaps a bit too restrained, making it hard for the viewer to really notice the emotions onscreen.
Tom: That’s definitely one of the show’s bigger issues. Tamayomi suffers quite a bit of meandering dialogue, likely there to pad out the story and give it a more laid back feel, but that does have the side effect of making the more emotional beats struggle to connect. A bigger issue though is how ‘samey’ all the girls are. We’re introduced to four characters in this first episode; Yomi, a talented pitcher, Tamaki, a talented catcher and two baseball fangirl twins, Yoshino and Ibuki. Outside of their different hair colors each girl feels very similar to the other. They’re all bubbly cute and innocent, perhaps even a bit shy. Sure there’s a little variety, one is a tad more hyper than the others, or Yomi is prone to tears, etc. But each girl feels like an ever so slight variation on the stereotypical bubbly cute high school girl, lacking unique traits that really set them apart as compelling characters. Either you like that type of character and this works, or it all feels a little too narrow and lacking in diversity, making for a cast that’s altogether forgettable.
Linny: TAMAYOMI’s first episode gives off this heavy ‘power of friendship and sports’ vibe; i.e the show will be about these girls not only coming together to play baseball but also healing each other’s hang ups and traumas from the past. If so, drama is going to be a huge part of the story and given how the show handled emotional content in this episode alone, I do not have the highest hopes for how well executed the rest of the series will be. Combine that with the merely passable to downright ugly animation in what’s usually supposed to be a stunning first episode and TAMAYOMI feels like a weak start to this new season.
Tom: The topper on all my issues, and probably what prevents me most from offering the series a recommended, is the art. Episode 1 is already suffering from a number of uneven animation/art quality issues that have me worried for the visual fidelity ahead. There’s wonky faces, off-model bodies, and generally flat art that lacks depth. It doesn’t help that the opening animation, usually where you see any anime at its best, simply looks acceptable, rather than stunning. I’d say if you’re hard up for a girl’s sports anime, Tamayomi will do in a pinch, but otherwise this looks set as one of the Spring’s more ho-hum offerings.
TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls is available for streaming via Funimation.com