TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls is Japan’s sports-themed take on cute girls doing cute things, by featuring a group of high school girls and their passion for baseball. Cute anime girls are in every hobby, profession, and sport imaginable and Tamayomi follows this trend. The story of Tamayomi is a simple coming-of-age story of a group of friends finding their place in the world through baseball and setting about conquering past mistakes, finding new friends, and facing the many challenges along the way. But does TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls have what it takes to score a home run? or will it lose by never scoring at all? And is Tamayomi a love letter to the women in Japan’s declining female baseball league?
TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls
Takeda Yomi is a girl who loves baseball and her pitches can be seen as magical with the ball curving mid-flight. But her pitches back in middle school were too much for her team’s catcher, the missed catches cost Yomi and her team the game, and Yomi is to blame for the defeat. Yomi gives up on baseball, but after enrolling in Shin Koshigaya High School, her passion for the sport reignites when she is reunited with her childhood friend Tamaki, who also loves baseball. With friends Yoshino and Ibuki, Tamaki and Yomi revive the school’s baseball club so they can fulfill their dream of playing in the nationals and win.
Story and Pacing
The general pacing of the anime is very good with little to no filler. The story starts with Yomi reuniting with her childhood friend Tamaki in a school Yomi thought she can get away with dreams of becoming a baseball player, they meet the Kawaguchi twins who happen to be baseball enthusiasts, and the four girls revive the school’s baseball club. More girls from various backgrounds join in—some are inspired by Tamaki and Yomi’s love for the sport, while some want to prove themselves that they too can play baseball. After the initial introduction of the main and supporting characters, Tamayomi changes gear and jumps straight to practice episodes for back-to-basics baseball and assigning what roles fit a character based on their strengths and weaknesses, then a practice game with one of Japan’s best at episode 4. Episodes 5-6 then focus on the supporting characters, their motivations and goals, and establishing their defined role in the team. Episodes 7-12 contain the main story of team Shin Koshigaya High School entering the nationals and playing against various teams with their own unique style of baseball, and earning victories.
General Theme and Atmosphere
For an anime about baseball, Tamayomi isn’t action-packed, nor exaggerates the elements of the sport and it doesn’t teach the viewers the baseball lingo used, so unless you’re familiar with the sport, you need to look up what RBI means, what is a two-seam fastball, or what are innings on your own. With that said, the baseball lingo isn’t too hard to understand and the last 2 games are nail-biters episode by episode without relying on shounen-style dramatic pauses, movement appearing superhuman, and a gruff narrator pausing the action and teaching the viewers what a submarine pitch is and who are the popular players who uses it.
Characters and Character Development
Tamayomi has a huge cast of characters and manages to give each and every one screen time and development. Tamaki, the catcher, is calm and collected and can make quick decisions and relay them to her pitcher. Yomi is free-spirited and doesn’t panic under pressure, so her enthusiasm and her skill as a pitcher boosts the morale of the team. Ibuki has a talent for copying a pitcher’s style resulting in confusion on the rival team. Yoshino’s analytical prowess makes her a valuable asset to the team—she can dissect the strategies of rival teams, and adjust the composition of her team by placing who is the leadoff and the cleanup depending on who they are up against. The same can’t be said about the rival teams, however. Tamayomi only gives the girls in rival teams a brief introduction, though it’s enough to let the viewers know who they are and what drives them to play baseball and the decisions they make whenever they pitch or bat.
Art, Animation, & Production
Production value and presentation are very poor with inconsistent and rough animation plaguing the anime—some movement feels off and the art style is average at best. Episode 4 is notorious for bad animation and became a brief meme, but fortunately the episode was fixed and is more consistent with the anime’s overall average presentation. However, given episode 4 was fixed, there is a chance the Blu-ray version will have several fixes, though it’s highly doubtful the fixes will be noticeable and will vastly improve the overall visuals. Voice acting is standard with exceptional performances from the voice actors, and nothing stands out as being remarkable. The soundtrack is below average with music tracks that didn’t get our attention.
Watch or Pass?
Despite its average audiovisual presentation and not being a definitive anime for hardcore baseball fans—or for fans who want to know about the rich history of baseball, be it in the United States or in Japan—Tamayomi is still an anime series worth a watch with an interesting story about the baseball league on a high school level, and a cast of characters you can’t help but cheer for and support. Tamayomi may not be breaking new grounds in storytelling and may not be the right anime for baseball, but Tamayomi does enough right things to make it a show worth checking out. Tamayomi is worth checking out, but watch it without any expectations.
To those who have already seen Tamayomi, what do you think of the show? We’d love to hear your thoughts and please leave them in the comments section below!