Initial Thoughts on Moshidora and Shouwa Monogatari

HOORAY for finally finding subbers for these two shows!  *ahem* And, back to business (and delicious watermelon milk)!

Minami and the boys

Moshidora (Eps. 1-3)
Shortened to “Moshidora,” Moshi Koukou Yakyuu no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no Management wo Yondara (What If a Female Manager of a High School Baseball Team Read Drucker’s?) takes business management strategies and applies them to the management of a high school baseball team.  After watching and really enjoying Cross Game, and finding myself fascinated behind the money premises of [C], I thought this would be a nice medium between the two.  It’s nowhere near as complicated or lengthy, but it pairs two great ideas.  This show also runs straight from April 25th-May 6, airing a 24-minute episode a day, resulting in 10 total episodes.  Impressive! I can only hope the producers and animators can keep up with the pace and present us with a good story through out.

Main character Kawashima Minami is also a likable character, with her determination, curiosity, and frankness.  I see a bit of myself in her.  What’s even more intriguing is the fact that although she has history as a baseball player from childhood, she currently claims to hold no liking for the sport.  After her best friend, Miyata Yuuki, becomes hospitalized due to recurring health problems, Minami decides to take over her position as the high school baseball team’s manager and to drive for the dream to reach the baseball nationals: the Koushien.  In her resolve to take her part seriously, she purchases a book for management, but discovers that it focuses on business and not on sports.  The more she reads into it, however, the more she sees the similarities between the two.

OP: “Yume Note (夢ノート)” by azusa–Nothing special music-wise, but it does have a nice free, flying feeling to it.  The song also suits the softly-colored visuals and continual movement of the baseball team.
ED: “Daisuki da yo (大好きだよ)” by momo–Sortof a soulful, pop sound? Creates a nice feeling, though it’s nothing I haven’t heard before.  Visuals are so-so as well, starting with colorful cranes galore, then moving to still images of the baseball team.

Interest level: Medium-High, I had more interest going into the show than after watching a few episodes, but the small decline results more from my animation quality expectations than from the plot itself.  There are a lot of still images, repeated images, and moving heads/mouths and not much else besides, except for the actual playing of baseball.

Minami and "Management"

Other than that, I’m still loving the idea of mixing marketing strategies and management with a sport.  I also like the fact that there’s so much female participation in this show, with the featuring of our female protagonist, her fellow female co-manager (the overly shy and timid “Ayano”), and Yuuki.  I don’t usually see so much of the girl point-of-view in shows like this, where usually you’d expect to focus more on the male players.

Another nice addition is that the characters seem multi-faceted, and not just flat representations.  I especially note this in Ayano’s character, who comes across as “shy and timid” and usually always responds in the same phrase: “Huh?…Oh, yes.”  She struggles to overcome her reputation, built up from middle school, as a model student/”android,” who has no friends and probably joined the baseball team only because it would look good on her student record.  We later find out that she truly likes Yuuki and wishes to be like her, to help others as much as she can.  This revelation comes about from Yuuki’s prying and pretended assumption, which again one might not expect from a physically frail character.  By the third episode, we see some definite improvement in Ayano’s involvement with the team, due to the influence of the other two girls (and some “yuri”-ish moments with Yuuki).  Despite the main characters being female, we still get plenty of interaction with the players themselves, as well as with the coach.  This stems from Minami’s, with the aid of Yuuki, one-on-one interviews with each one of them.  It was pretty awesome hearing their opinions of the team and their explanations of their hopes and dreams as its members.  We also got to hear fears and misgivings, which again made them all the more believable.

The Yamakazi Family

Shouwa Monogatari (Ep. 1)
This show was the number one attraction when I first viewed the initial Spring 2011 Charts.  I like the fact that it targets an older crowd and that it’s set in a less-than-typical time, during the Shouwa era, specifically Shouwa 39 (1964), the year Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics.  This also marks the first time the Olympics ever took place in Asia, especially important since it followed World War II.  Another milestone for this particular Olympics was that it was the first to to be internationally televised.  I’m not sure if this anime will feature any of this though, since all we see in the first episode is the Yamakazi family as they greet the new year.

For the most part, our main protagonist seems to be Yamazaki Kouhei, who narrates the beginning of the episode and takes up a good majority of the screen time.  Kouhei is a 5th-grade elementary student and is the youngest in the large Yamazaki family, which consists of an older brother, older sister, mother, father, grandmother, and two friends of the family.  The show does a nice job of bringing in some elements that ground this anime into its appropriate era, including a television broadcast of major events of the previous year, a traditional manzai act, a gas-powered kotatsu, and of course the clothing (Kouhei wears a Charlie Brown-type sweater).  The family also feels very tangible, as their faces range from ugly, to very ordinary, to passingly attractive.  The personalities are far from perfect, with a father who drinks a bit too much and ruins the New Year’s meal and a main character/youngest son who worries too much about receiving his own New Year’s allowance and is easily influenced by his friend.  I feel like I’ve met people like them in real life.

OP: I love that the opening visuals compare the anime scenery to real photography of the same scenery from now and the Shouwa era.  It again helps the viewer immerse him/herself more into the setting.  The music is also nice and nolstagic, with piano and a low string instrument (either the lower strings on a violin, or a viola perhaps?).

Road to the shrine, Yakuyoku Gate

ED: Though I feel fairly comfortable talking about classical music as a classical pianist myself, I claim no familiarity with Japanese music.  The ending theme sounds very folk-like to me, with the throaty, syllabic male voice punctuated with recurring female shout-outs.  It’s also accompanied by some type of string instrument, which I assume to be a shamisen, but I could definitely be wrong.  After the ending theme, Shouwa Monogatari also treats us to a “television manga,” where they high light particular scenes from the anime and discuss their historical relevance, showing us the same scenes in real life.

Interest level: Medium-high, like Moshidora, my interest on this anime dropped a tad due to the animation quality.  It looks like an older anime, maybe from the 90s.  This stems from the fairly average drawing style as well as from the more neutral colors.  But again, I am still drawn in by the promising story of how this family lives in and changes through out the historic year of 1964.

Yakuyoku Gate, IRL

You’ll have to excuse my blog absence; I recently just had my wisdom teeth pulled out, so I’ve been fuzzy-headed and sleeping a lot.  >.<

I should also hopefully be blogging some of this season’s upcoming films, including Onigamiden and Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo.

7 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts on Moshidora and Shouwa Monogatari

  1. I’m glad you posted on my site, because I didn’t know about your blog before.

    I really want to see Showa Monogatari, but the universe is conspiring against me. I looked for a copy of the ED to see if I could figure out the if the stringed instrument really is a shamisen, but could only find the OP. As you said, it has a nice nostalgic quality, by linking the photographs of now and then.

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    • Well, the version I found is subbed by Hatsuyuki, and it’s the first time I’ve ever tried out their fansubs before. They only have the one episode out, so I don’t have much yet to judge by. From what I can see, the quality is fine.

      I wish I knew how to describe the music used in the ED, b/c I’ve definitely heard it before in WWII-type films.

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      • I downloaded it, but my computer can’t play it (it stopped being able to play video files for some reason). I’m a little worried that only that episode will end up being subbed. There should be more shows like this; certainly we could do without one generic harem show, instead.

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      • I, too, am worried that the anime will be dropped by the subbers, but all I can do is hope!
        I use MPlayer to play all my anime and it’s always worked awesome for me. Perhaps try re-downloading whatever program you use?

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  2. I haven’t seen Moshidora, but I’m planning to check it out. I’m just a bit hesitant because the plot might be cliche just like the other sports anime.

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    • Well, if you mean cliche in the fact that the team strives to improve themselves and take the competition to the highest level possible, then yes, it is cliche. You also get some training montages and such, but I feel these are somewhat unavoidable given the popular ideas of a show/movie on sports: overcoming adversity, winning, and/or having fun. But, the addition of the business management strategies does lend it some fresh air.

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