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.