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Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai Hen Review

The original Oofuri was a big hit with me, despite the fact that I generally have an aversion to sports stories.  While Touch, an Adachi series, involved baseball, Oofuri was the first series I watched that was unashamedly centered entirely on baseball, and by the end, I found myself wishing that I had bothered to join some sort of sports club in my high school days.  That’s how effective Oofuri’s portrayal of the different aspects of baseball – teamwork, friendship, victories, disappointments – were.  The other important part of Oofuri’s success was its slow-paced, realistic approach to depicting the actual games.  Rarely was a single pitch skipped over, never were there any convenient home runs or ace-pitchers.  Oofuri was one of the first shows I’ve seen that actually gives us a firm idea of what it’s like to actually be a player, rather than simply watch them.

It’s worth rehashing all of this because the effectiveness of this sequel corresponds mostly to how well it follows the formula of the first season.  However, as this sequel only lasted around a dozen episodes, while the first had 26 to work with, keeping that slow and detailed pace was unrealistic.  Indeed, the very first game of this season is mostly rushed through in a decidedly un-Oofuri-like fashion, and was perhaps the low point of the series thus far.  The second one slows down the pace and subsequently is far more enjoyable, though there is still something of a claustrophobic feeling to the presentation.  Generally, though, this second match is as suspenseful and captivating as the Tousei match from the first, which is a big compliment.

In terms of content, the sequel quite competently advances several character threads (a great deal regarding the battery between Mihashi and Abe as pitcher and catcher), and though the manga material is ongoing, they did manage to end at a natural break-off point.  It would be a shame if there were no more sequels, but I also realize it isn’t very common for third seasons of any show to appear – After all, I’m still waiting for Natsume Yuujinchou’s second sequel.  While I was willing to hold out after the first season, I will probably be diving into the Oofuri manga soon enough.

That’s about the extent of what I have say about Natsu no Taikai Hen.  It’s a textbook case of “more of the same“, except a tad diluted this time around.  I can’t imagine a fan of Oofuri not enjoying the sequel, and I strongly suggest anyone with even a slight inkling of interest in the sorts of themes that I described earlier give this series a try.  I mention this very often, but I am far from a sports fan, yet Oofuri, which is almost completely about sports, managed to break my list of favourite anime.  That should tell you enough about its strengths.

3 responses so far

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3 Responses to “Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai Hen Review”

  1. Baka-Raptoron Jul 2nd 2010

    >>The other important part of Oofuri’s success was its slow-paced, realistic approach to depicting the actual games. Rarely was a single pitch skipped over, never were there any convenient home runs or ace-pitchers.

    Sounds interesting. About how many episodes does a single game last?

  2. Theowneon Jul 2nd 2010

    The longest was 11 episodes, and the average is around 7 if you exclude one quick one in season two.

  3. ojisanon Jul 9th 2010

    ” It would be a shame if there were no more sequels, but I also realize it isn’t very common for third seasons of any show to appear”

    Hey, we waited a few years for this second season! I have hopes,though – though the licensed version did poorly, I understand that the Japanese fan base for this is really, really big.

    This is such a great show.

    I share your hopes for Natsume Yuujinchou too –

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