Three episode reviews: Battery and Days

This season, there are two anime
about sports and both of them are kinda under the
radar. In case you’re wondering, here’s a little
double feature mini review, based on the first three episodes of each
show.

Days

Sport: Soccer. Yay!
Finally a sport I, European chick, am familiar with.

Well, I say soccer, but it’s mostly about running.

What it’s about:
Tsukushi is a loser who randomly gets invited to a soccer match by
genius player Kazama. He decides to join the school team and GIT GUD
on pure grit alone.

First impression:
Days has the absolute WORST opening episode I’ve ever seen
in a sports anime. It was so bland and formulaic that I have been
reduced to ranting at people about it. The episode felt super flat.
It gives ZERO motivation for Tsukushi to do the things he does. And there’s certainly no reason
given for Kazama to be that into him. It was so boring I had to click
away halfway through to do something else before getting back to it.
You can tell me that all of this is explained properly in the manga,
but in that case it’s not a very good adaptation.

Second impression:
Well, I have a three episode rule and it gets better. Quite a bit
better, in fact, and after three episodes I’m kinda into it. The show
has a wonky and completely random sense of humour, which I appreciate.
Kazama is a gift. I like the variety in characterisation of the players and how some of them are regular teenage asshats. Tsukiuhi
has to endure some pretty heavy verbal abuse which is probably meant
to build up his character, but is also painfully brutal in
making me relive some of my worst teenage nightmares.

While Kazama is a gift, he’s also a little shit.

Favourite dude:
Half of the cast is super hot, while the other is really weirdly
drawn? But Kazama is, hands down, the best character. He is very cute
and he has that cocky rebel thing going, with a whiff of genius
ennui thrown in. To top it off, he’s also channeling the ‘fabulous beautiful character who’s very
aware of his beauty’ vibe (see also: Kise, Oikawa). I already adore the
hell out of him. He rocks that Bruce Lee jumpsuit, man.

Gayness? This show
is almost meta-gay. Like it knows sports anime is supposed to be very straight and also very gay. It’s become self aware. There’s a
lot of shots of Kazama looking longingly at Tsukushi and the both of
them are immediately ready to lay down their lives to defend each
other. And then there’s the scenes in which Kazama professes his love
for boobs. It’s a pansexual show.

Extra time: This show feels like it’s trying to
push all the buttons. Like, trying real hard. It has the random sex
talk for the male viewers, the bishis for the female viewers and
people just straight up tripping over air for the younger audience.
It’s all a bit too formulaic, but it’s much better than the
first episode makes it appear.

Yay or nay? Let’s be honest, Days is not nearly as good as something like Haikyuu, but
it’s still worth a watch. I’m interested in where it’s gonna go,
storywise.

Battery

Sport: Baseball.
Not, as the title may lead you to believe, some kind of blood sport.

No, I don’t know anyone called Haru, why do you ask?

What it’s about:
Harada is 13 and already a famous pitcher with ’genius complex’,
where he doesn’t feel like he belongs. He moves to a different
region, finds a really good catcher and joins a new team, all while
dealing with whatever it is that makes him such an angry little shit
(my money is on puberty).

First impression:
This show is so pretty and melancholy! The pace is very slow, with a lot of
focus on family members and feelings and shit. If you want a
reference: it’s like a baseball version of Free, in terms of storytelling (and also themes).

Second impression:
I really like how much they focus on the support system of these
kids: the grandfather, the deeply worried moms. Battery is very
emotional and it’s really more of a drama about people playing sports than it is a traditional ‘sports anime’. The team members don’t even come into
view until episode three. There are no attempts at humour, childish or
otherwise. If I have to label it, it’s a show about teenage rebellion.
Harada is obviously dealing with some shit and he has that bored
sounding voice to back it up (same voice actor as Tsukki!).

Did I mention the pretty?

Favourite dude:
Nagakura. While Harada is definitely ‘the cute one’, Nagakura is just
such a gorgeous personality. He’s a genuinely wonderful person and I
support that.

Gayness? This is a
middle school show, so the relationship overtones are mercifully low
key. I’m not getting a lot of gay, really, mostly good old fashioned
blossoming friendship.

Extra time: I’m
actually rather impressed that they chose a middle school setting,
cause those are pretty rare. It certainly gives a different
perspective and probably explains the focus on family. Most sports anime start with full teenagers that are already pre-fucked up by both puberty *and* whatever happened to them in
middle school. This one shows you exactly how that goes.

Yay or nay? I
really like it. A lot. I have no idea where this show is going but
it’s pretty much sucked me in. I just hope no one dies.

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