「グラウンドに立つ」 (Guraundo ni Tatsu)
“Standing Ground”

Of course it’s a shame pretty much nobody is talking about Battery, but it’s not all all unexpected. It can proudly stake out a place in the ranks with shows like Kyoukai no Rinne and Binan Koukou – and the majority of the sports anime I cover – in that category. It’s prickly, uncomfortable and not all interested in being your BFF. But it gets better the deeper you understand it and deeply rewards close attention, and it’s also turning out to be much more baseball-focused than it first appeared to be – just not, perhaps, in exactly the way most baseball series are.

One of the things I find especially appealing about Battery is how uncomfortable most of its human interactions are, and how willingly Mochizuku-sensei embraces that. It aptly reflects the state of mind of Takumi, for whom life is a constant source of personal discomfort for refusing to accept him as he is. That includes Gou, who’s apparently never once showed anger towards his friends. Sawaguchi’s tearful reaction was a very age-authentic moment, and the boys are generally at a loss about what to do – eventually urging Takumi to apologize to Gou. That’s something we’ve yet to see Takumi do – who knows if he’s even capable of it at this point? He’s completely uncompromising – for better or for worse.

When Grandpa sees the red marks on Takumi’s neck he immediately figures out he’s been fighting with his “wife” (Seiha does too – must run in the family). This is about as vulnerable as we’ve seen Takumi – he clearly wants to ask his grandfather for help in dealing with Tomura-sensei, but the old man is not going to bail his grandson out here even once he finds out it’s his old player coaching the team. The best he can do is offer the observation that Tomura is bluffing – that he may pretend he understands kids Makoto’s age but he really doesn’t. And that middle-schoolers are indeed a mystery, and the “scariest” (especially for a coach) age of all.

Back at practice there’s no sign that the impending head-on collision is avoidable. Makoto simply has no decorum whatsoever – he says what he thinks, even when it means confronting the coach over stuff like canceling practice over a few raindrops. It’s no better with the sempai either – they take his latest confrontation with the coach as a sign that the time has come to physically bully him. Fortunately Gou – even in spurned wife mode – still has his pitcher’s back, and he expertly defuses the situation without humiliating the upperclassmen.

The hair thing remains a major bone of contention – probably the biggest – and it’s a vexing one, because while Takumi is really correct that it’s kind of dumb, he’s also being a stubborn dick by not just going along with the tradition. It’s actually the captain Kaionji who steps in and engineers a potential escape route for all parties by asking the coach to try batting off the freshman battery. It’s a no-lose for Kaionji – if Takumi is humiliated there’s a small chance he’ll stand down, and if he proves to be amazing enough perhaps Tomura will relent and let him pitch in games. It’s an interesting battle – the coach is more focused on Gou’s receiving than Takumi’s pitching, but Takumi makes it abundantly clear that he has a special talent any coach who wants to win would want to exploit.

Tomura’s visit to the Harada home is the best sequence of the episode, and not just because it’s more extended screen time for Seiha after a long absence. Seiha is great, don’t get me wrong – the most likeable character in the cast for me, and precociously clever in an innocent way – but the conversation between Gramps and his old player is great in its own right. Tomura is obviously respectful, even a bit in awe – but still hurt that Grandpa quit, having taken it as a comment on the team’s inability to get to Koushien. In truth it was because his wife became terminally ill (as Seiha has figured out, and explains to Tomura).

Tomura is obviously here for one reason – to ask Gramps to talk Takumi into toeing the line. But the old man again refuses to be a crutch – in fact, he tells his former pupil that it’s Takiumi’s obstinate nature that may be the key to his baseball prowess so early in life. The most important thing he tells Tomura is not to turn his grandson into a “robot that only wants to win, and indeed this is a point near and dear to me. As I’ve come to know Japanese high school baseball it’s struck me in watching games live both how technically skilled the players are, and how joyless they seem. There are a few in Japan who decry this aspect of schoolboy baseball, but it rarely gets a hearing in manga or anime. There are more immediate concerns – clearly Nobunishi has no intention of letting Takumi off without extracting some revenge for his attitude (and potentially losing his catching job) but in the long haul, this theme of trying to let a young person be themselves instead of forcing them to confirm may well be a major component of Battery.


  1. to ask Gramps to talk Takumi into toeing the line

    This is the reason why i ignore this so far. Is this about Baseball or about obey your superiors? Perhaps it is an Culture thing for me. How knows, but this could be the main reason why i did not pick it up

    I hope i could bring some points input, why the most “ignore” this Anime

  2. I enjoy this series. I hope we get a flare-up of the current conflict between Takumi and the team hierarchy in the next ep. I also hope Takumi more or less comes out on top, but still doesn’t get everything his own way.

  3. I have really mixed feelings about this series and most of them revolve around Takumi. I just don’t find him likable (which is probably the point now that I think about it); he acts like an arrogant jerk most of the time, and when things don’t go his way he whines until they do. On the other hand, even though he needs to grow emotionally, if he just gives up and goes with the flow he would not only be betraying himself but also giving in to the upperclassmen who clearly have their own issues to work out. Also, Go is a nice kid and I want him to succeed if no one else.

    My favorite scene this week was definitely the one between Gramps and Tomura because it focused on the most interesting part of the series to me: the other characters and their relationship to Takumi, not the other way around. Takumi is the main character (and completely stuck in his own world) so the vast majority of the story is from his perspective, and this includes his interactions with other people. This is one of the few scenes without him, and so we get to see how someone really feels about him. I really want to see more of this from the other characters, especially his mom. That is a relationship I’m very curious to explore.

  4. I think it’s pretty clear that what Battery wants to do is exploring teamwork from the point of view of someone who not only doesn’t believe in it but is self-centered to the extreme, the title itself implies we’re gonna see it through Takumi and Go’s relationship.

    What I really don’t get and also what is keeping me from dropping this show is the how, honestly.

    From Go’s point of view, as you can clearly see, despite all the talent and potential that Takumi has he’s just so not worth the trouble and has given him and us plenty of why so, yet he doesn’t feel like leaving him because Go is a good guy at heart and I think this is also why Takumi got off the hook often in his young life, there’s always been someone who either covered for him or helped him a lot without Takumi acknowledging it (this is my assumption though).

    I’m actually really glad this story is set in middle school and not in, say, high school, because I can hope of a some kind of growth from Takumi which this 4 episodes didn’t imply, at all.

    The point of view is always Takumi’s and I think that out of all the flaws this character has a serious lack of empathy is what put most people off.

    So I’m actually in for a bit of trouble, heck, I so wanna see him struggle and get a taste of just how bitter and cruel reality can be when you’re so full of yourself and never consider other people’s feelings, go for it Nobunishi-senpai!

  5. It is getting my interest now took a couple of episodes to get used to!

    You are right about this one Like Shouen Maid / Rinne it’s an underdog ! That because the Fandom dont have it on their site it gets ignored . There are a lot of anime elites who think one site is better than another / Well mostly one !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *