Big Windup! Season 1 Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima, Produced by A-1 Pictures
Having transferred schools, Mihashi promptly sets out to become part of his new school’s newly formed baseball team. Quickly, he catches the eye of the team’s catcher Abe. However, while Abe feels Mihashi has potential to become a great pitcherhe must first deal with Mihashi’s personality and mysterious past. Will he succeed or fail?
This show lives and dies with the viewer’s passion for baseball. It you’re passionate about it and love the idea of it being combined with the medium of animation you might enjoy this show. If, however, you are like me and are completely disinterested in baseball this show will do little to change that. Big Windup! adapts Asa Higuchi’s sports comic of the same name which ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon comic anthology in Japan.
To the show’s credit it has a very organic feel to it from the ways the characters think and act to the colour palette used. That being said the baseball games themselves drag on for ungodly long periods of time. The second (and final) game is the worst offender spanning eleven episodes of the 26 episode first season. Even the first game feels slightly too dragged out at five episodes. The amount of detail the series goes into for both games is nigh maddening. In the second game it goes so far as to practically give the thoughts behind all the involved players of a certain action at any point in time.
The series main problem however is its own protagonist. Mihashi is grating on the nerves (and the ears) of those around him and the viewer. While he makes for an interesting character his introverted personality results in his many, many inner monologues grating on the viewer. It is also difficult to identify oneself with a character whose so erratic.
If the series had been edited to roughly half its run time and the viewer was allowed to infer more this rather than each detail being so thoroughly explained this may have been a truly great show. However, while the title succeeded well enough in Japan to warrant a second season in North America Funimation (the company which dubbed and distributed the title in the United States and Canada) publicly announced it sold poorly for them that they would not release anymore of the series or any other titles in its genre.
Big Windup! is available digitally and on home video in North America from Funimation.