Battery the Animation
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 2 of
Battery the Animation ?
In this episode, brilliant but immature young pitcher Takumi is put into the same bad situation twice. First, Go's mother pulls him aside and asks him to convince her son to stop playing baseball. She let him do it as a temporary relief from cram school, but now she's worried that he's getting too into it, and that it will distract from his studies. Secondly, Takumi's own mom asks him to discourage his little brother, Seiha, from playing. His constitution is weak, so he can't handle the rigid athletic routine that Takumi subjects himself to. This all pushes Takumi – who's starting to stress over his own reasons for playing baseball – further to the edge. Eventually, he has an outburst and causes Seiha to run off and not return home even after the sun has gone down. While searching for his little brother, Takumi confronts some of his own weaknesses and bonds further with Go. In the end, Takumi shows weakness while Go and Seiha reassure him. Takumi doesn't seem to have realized that it was wrong of their mothers to put him that that situation, or that Go and Seiha have the right to make their own decisions, but slowly, Takumi is opening himself up to truly enjoying his calling as an athlete.
Battery the Animation is progressing at a good pace. The apparent moral about learning to enjoy an activity for fun rather than pure achievement is genre-standard, but well-executed so far. It's nice to see this aimed at an audience of young adolescent schoolkids, who are most likely currently experiencing these kinds of feelings. Still, I look forward to seeing whether the story eventually goes in a more distinct direction. Takumi should start school soon, and we'll likely be introduced to a bevy of new characters.
The show continues to look good, but a certain issue with the character designs has now become unavoidable. Takumi and Go look way older than their intended age of 12. This is especially bad when they're around Seiha, who looks like a toddler by comparison. These 12-year-olds are somehow a good two feet taller than another boy who is, at most, three years younger than them. Now I'm no expert on boy puberty, but I don't think they sprout twenty-four inches between ages nine and twelve. Maybe he has some sort of magical shrinking disease? If so, I can kind of understand his mom's concerns. Nonetheless, this problem is exacerbated by the voice acting. They appear to have cast an actual child to voice Seiha (to good effect – he's adorable), while Takumi sounds like a high schooler at the very least. While the performer (Koki Uchiyama) does a fine job, it feels like a casting mistake. Maybe the studio aged these boys up a bit to attract some fujoshi viewers? Who knows. Either way, it's consistently distracting.
Otherwise, Battery the Animation continues to be what I expected – a low-key, pretty, and competent narrative about young people shedding unhealthy attitudes about sports. Not that Takumi's troubles are over – he caught a fever while searching for Seiha and mumbles that he “won't let this happen again” while lying infirm. What won't he let happen again? Getting sick? Seiha playing baseball? Or just finding himself showing weakness? I guess we'll learn next week.
Battery the Animation is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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