Brand New Animal Ep. 5: Bad News Bears

Baseball is serious business in Anima City. Serious enough to get you killed.

— Our heroine tells Shirou that she isn’t using her human form because she feels more comfortable in her beastman form. Over time, she’s going to get used to living in Anima City. Even if Barbaray finds a cure, I bet Michiru won’t take it when the show is all said and done.

— Michiru prefers basketball, but with all her superpowers, she ends up excelling at baseball. She’s got gorilla arms for pitching and batting, cheetah legs for running the bases, and super stretchy arms for catching fly balls. The first two are at least animal-related. I’m not exactly sure which species on this planet can mimic Stretch Armstrong. In any case, it’s obvious that Michiru isn’t just a tanuki. She’s got all sorts of animal DNA in her.

— Again, Anima City is a dump. Baseball isn’t just a beloved pastime in this city. It’s a life-or-death game. Players can literally whip out knives and stab you on the basepaths. How dumb is that? The mayor should outlaw this shit, but instead, she tells Shirou to investigate a potential gambling ring surrounding a sport. Huh? Gambling? That’s what you’re worried about when your beastmen are literally dying from trying to play the game?

— Mary (Marie now?) preemptively correcting Michiru is pretty funny.

— Winnie the Pooh dies to a liner that hits him in the face — no, I’m not making up the Winnie the Pooh thing — so Michiru gets roped into filling in for the Bears. With all of her “natural” talents, she carries the massive underdogs to victory.

— The Bears later take her to their home, which is smack dab in the middle of the slums. Like sure, big cities will have some rough areas. You might accidentally wander into the projects if you’re not careful. But you usually don’t expect to find a shantytown where plumbing is a pipe dream. Again, Anima City has serious issues. How can the mayor abide by all the fancy skyscrapers when this mess exists right beneath her nose?

— Michiru initially doesn’t want to join the team, but after the Bears send her on a guilt trip, she finally relents. She has one rule, though: no killing. So the opposing teams can kill them, but they have to be clean! Obviously, baseball in Anima City just isn’t worth it. It’s a game where you can literally die, but you barely get paid for it. What dream is worth your life?

— Nevertheless, the game goes on, and with Michiru’s help, the Bears rack up wins after wins. Their coach tries his best to throw games for obvious reasons (hint: gambling), but Michiru doesn’t care what he wants.

— We get a flashback about how the coach was the first beastman to ever join a pro baseball team with human players. He’s kinda like the Jackie Robinson for beastman kind. Unfortunately, he snapped one day due to all the discrimination, so he either murdered his fellow players or seriously injured them. Yeah, I don’t think Jackie ever did that.

— Anyways, the Bears eventually make it to the finals, and they’re up against a team full of literal animal killers. But again, the mayor wants to get to the bottom of that gambling ring. Yep, that’s the priority.

— Michiru soon discovers that even her own teammates are trying to throw the game. They’ve been offered a substantial sum of cash to lose. So of course, our heroine climbs onto the mound and delivers an idealistic speech about how one shouldn’t sell out, dreams are special, blah blah blah. There are lives at stake, man. Their fucking lives! I love baseball too, but c’mon, surviving is way more important. It isn’t the players’ responsibility to clean up the game. That’s what the league should do, and if the league won’t, then the government steps in.

— Nevertheless, the Bears stage a furious rally thanks to Michiru’s speech so they’re now down by just a single run. Meanwhile, the coach breaks into the bad guys’ safe and steals a whole bunch of money, but Shirou stops him in his tracks. The wolf then gives the money… uh, back to the bad guys?

— In the end, the Bears couldn’t pull it off. They lose by that single run margin. But the moral victory is that they’ve revitalized the sport! The Bears are in tears because they actually care now. It was such a good, well-fought game (against literal murderers) that the Bears can go home with their heads held high? I don’t know what to think, man.

— Right before the episode ends, Shirou lies to the mayor about being unable to uncover any hard evidence on the existence of a gambling ring. So what was even the lesson here? What was I supposed to take away from this episode? Maybe if he had delivered the evidence, baseball would’ve been shut down? And Shirou wouldn’t want that because so many people (including Michiru) depend on the game for fun? But they can literally die playing this sport. They can literally die. I’m not even using the word “literally” to mean “figuratively.”

— I dunno, man. This seems like the weakest episode yet.

1 thought on “Brand New Animal Ep. 5: Bad News Bears

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