Kamisama no Memo-chou Ep. 9: Remember the Koushien

You’d think a one-off story about the Yakuza and NEETs playing baseball would actually be light-hearted, silly and fun, but KamiMemo takes itself way too seriously. Our villain opines that nobody ever remembers those hard-working high school pitchers like the one he used to be. Aw bloo bloo. Just play the game, goddamn.

Baseball in anime sucks
I am a huge sports fan. I will watch almost any sport and this includes baseball. I cannot, however, stand the depiction of sports in anime. It’s always the same pandering nonsense: either some wunderkind talent surprises everyone despite his or her slight build or a motley crew of dweebs and rejects upsets an all star team using moxie, heart and a strategy. Sometimes, a single anime combines the two. See? Nerds could totally dominate sports too if they tried, nyah~ The latter of the two is what concerns us for this particular episode.

Baseball is the perfect sport for this sort of nonsense, because baseball managers always fancy themselves to be brilliant tacticians (like that LaRussa jerk). Man oh man, I’m totally gonna bunt, hit and run, etc. Of course, statistical analysis will tell you that managers have a miniscule effect at best on the actual success of a team. If Alex Rodriguez is only worth like five wins over a replacement player, I doubt Joe Torre is really worth a damn over your average AAA manager. Seriously, managers are basically there to manage egos and fill out a line-up card and some can’t even do the latter correctly. Basically, if you could pontificate in sports, you’d be a baseball manager.

So naturally, Alice volunteers to be the player-manager (the subs say “coach”) when the NEET detective group manages to find themselves playing the Yakuza. What’s at stake? A video game arcade. It sounds silly, it is silly, but don’t get me wrong — I don’t mind if there are silly episodes in between serious arcs. Yeah, I’ll mock these episodes, but they’re relatively harmless as long as the actual arcs are substantial. But not only does KamiMemo fail to supply the audience with interesting arcs, the baseball episode is surprisingly full of angst. As a result, Narumi puts on his boring shounen serious face and the entire episode ends up feeling like a chore.

And of course, the motley crew wins the game in such a BS way. Alice reaches base only because the catcher failed to catch the third strike. Somehow, a midget loli beats all the defenders to her base. Next up is Narumi who totally does what the rival pitcher claimed no one else would do: he looks up the rival pitcher’s history at Koushien. Ooh! Using the power of video games (no, seriously), Narumi learns that the rival pitcher likes to throw a forkball as his out pitch. As a result, Narumi hammers it and the NEET detective group wins.

Shrug, everyone knows Mariano Rivera throws a cutter, but you don’t see many pros hammer it, do you? So, y’know, I really doubt some milquetoast high schooler like Narumi, who doesn’t seem remotely athletic, could really handle a former ace’s forkball even if he knew it was coming. At best, he might hit a grounder.

“But E Minor, it’s just anime. Why are you nitpicking the baseball!”
Because I’m a baseball fan! Who ever said I had to be rational about this! But honestly, it’s the anime’s fault. Had it played the episode off with jokes and gags, I doubt I would care as much. Take Haruhi, for instance. I may not like the overall show, but Inushinde reminded me how an anime could actually do baseball entertainingly: the characters knew they couldn’t win so they simply cheated. As for KamiMemo, things turned serious super quick, what with the rival pitcher telling his sob story to everyone about his Koushien days. If the anime’s going to make such a big to-do about a baseball episode, god forbid I take the implausibility of the baseball game seriously too!

Everything else… uh, just other thing apparently:
Ayaka had a strange reaction when someone asked about her brother. That was really the only intriguing morsel in the entire episode.

17 thoughts on “Kamisama no Memo-chou Ep. 9: Remember the Koushien

  1. Ryan R

    “Either some wunderkind talent surprises everyone despite his or her slight build or a motley crew of dweebs and rejects upsets an all star team using moxie, heart and a strategy”

    Well, in fairness, there’s an awful lot of this in North American sports movies too. Do you remember The Mighty Ducks films? The ones popular enough that they actually spawned a real life NHL franchise called the Anaheim Ducks?

    Not saying you’re wrong here, but it’s not like anime is uniquely guilty here.

    People simply tend to love underdogs. A story about a favorite that easily cruises to victory doesn’t tend to interest people anywhere near as much as the plucky underdog that overcomes the odds to win.

    However… I do see where Kamisama no Memochou’s take on this is particularly obnoxious in that this anime is presented in the constant context of “NEETS rule!” (and in this episode, “Gamers rule!”, as you alluded to). It does come across as extremely pandering.

    In fact, I think that’s Memochou’s main problem. Just a total disrespect for even a modicum of realism, as there is simply no limit to how far this anime will go to make NEETs, gamers, and otakus in general feel good about themselves. And yet everything is presented as though its starkly serious and sophisticated. If there’s any anime this year that deserves the term “pretentious” it’s Kamisama no Memochou.

    1. E Minor Post author

      No, anime isn’t uniquely guilty, but we’re also just talking about anime. But you’re right, there are plenty of sports movies that are ironically unsatisfying to the sports fan to watch. Movies like For Love of the Game are few and far between. Stuff like The Blind Side might be interesting if the film adaptation didn’t feel like ratcheting up the racism.

  2. Marow

    Cross Game is a good baseball-anime. Though, I would say the character interactions are more dominant than the sport itself.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Well, the point is that the actual sports stuff is disappointing. If sports anime are any decent, it’s usually because of everything else in the story. Unfortunately, KamiMemo has had bland characters doing bland things since the first episode. Narumi and Alice can’t save anything, much less a sports anime.

      1. Marow

        I have to admit that I have barely seen any sports anime. Cross Game and Over Drive are seriously the only ones I can come up with at the moment.

        But it’s not hard to see what you mean, judging by shows like this one with random sport episodes. I would love to see a show where it’s about struggling and overcoming stuff, not always being top of the hill. Wonder if “Major” is any good…
        Talking about that, a show about real school life would be cool. No moe moe, but lessons, homeworks and whatnot. Drama drama drama.

        1. E Minor Post author

          I dunno, even in the West, public schooling is nothing but rote memorization. Stories are told from experience, and I just don’t think people have much to say about schoolwork.

          1. Marow

            True that about memorization and thank god for term papers.
            But anyway, I think it would be cool if it was done right. Oh well.

  3. idiffer

    check out One outs. it’s Akagi + baseball.
    as for memo chou, i can’t get myself to watch the 5th ep. it’s all just so unoriginal and boring. but hey, maybe they aren’t pandering to otakus just for the dvd sales. they are saying that neets are cool. but neets DON”T PLAY BASEBALL and don’t do pretty much anything shown in the anime, eccept alice role playing as lain. maybe the writers/mangaka/whoever are trying to set the RL neets straight, by sending a message saying that COOL neets play baseball and do detective shit. not likely, but a man can dream, right?

  4. SailorSonic

    What’s wrong with the underdogs always winning? Sure, it’s cliche, but it’s denifilety more satifying than watching the team you’ve been watching the whole show/movie loose.

    Nice to see you give some credit to Haruhi, though.

    As for The Blind Side, that movie is not racist. I mean, it’s not like they come out and say, “Without Sandra Bullock the black dude (i forgot his name) wouldn’t have became a sucessful football player!” It’s all those annoying bigots who keep saying that it’s remincest of white supremacy, slavery, etc.

    1. E Minor Post author

      What’s wrong with underdogs always winning? At some point, it becomes contrived. Besides, it’s okay to lose. You can tell beautiful stories through loss. Rocky isn’t any less inspiring because of the ending — too inspiring, maybe, but for other reasons.

      Man, if you don’t think there’s something wrong about a southern white woman going into the ghetto and saving a “dumb” black kid and telling him how to play football, I don’t know what else to tell you.

      1. SailorSonic

        Well, I haven’t watched TBS in a year, so I might be wrong on the whole racism thing. Even if it was really racist, that still doesn’t change the fact it’s an great movie. Some people say the movie The Princess and The Frog was racist, but I still love it regardless.

        What’s wrong with underdogs always winning? At some point, it becomes contrived.

        I know. That’s what I said originally. I like the stories where they win more because it’s more satisflying. I don’t care if its “contrived” or “cliche”. I just always like to see the underdogs win.

        Also, never watched the Rocky Hexalogy due to all the bad reviews thay got, so I can’t really comment on that.

  5. Buk Lau

    Man, this show has degenerated into utter crap. I actually had to make fun of this episode while watching to pull myself through it. And you know what? I’m sick of their NEET bullshit. I don’t give two shits if you’re fucking NEETs because I don’t care about any of you. Welcome to the NHK? I loved the characters in that and hoped for the best. But these NEETs are just called NEETs to attempt to give them some personalities. At least I have Penguindrum to look forward to every week. ._.

  6. Pingback: Notes of Kami-Sama No Memochou Episode 9 | Organization Anti Social Geniuses

  7. Andre

    I just flipped shit when I saw that you were going to FANExpo, until I reliezad that further down you mentioned another con that was in America, and it clicked that you aren’t coming to the canadian FANExpo ;-; Fml.But HO MA GAWD BLAAACCCCCKKKK.Startled the shit out of me when it happened. Dropped my tablet and everything XDI so hope you update before your next con! This will keep me up tonight!But thank you for your wonderful continuous updates and awesome story. :3

  8. Pingback: Notes of Kami-Sama No Memochou Episode 9 | Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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