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Big Windup!

Big Windup! (which is known as Okiku Furikabutte in Japan) is an anime based on a manga series by Asa Higuchi.

The main character of Big Windup! is Ren Mihashi, who was the previous ace pitcher on his middle school's baseball team. Unfortunately, it appears he only got the position because his grandfather was the owner of the school, since Ren isn't very talented as a baseball pitcher. His teammates hated him because the team always lost their games, so Ren went through middle school with very low self-esteem.

At the beginning of the series, Ren transfers to Nishiura High School and intends to quit baseball. However, he is dragged into Nishiura's baseball team when the coach when she sees him watching the team practice. With help from Takaya Abe, the team's catcher, Ren begins to hone what pitching skills he has and begins to grow in his confidence.

The other members of Nishiura's baseball team include Yuuichirou Tajima, Azusa Hanai, Yuuto Sakaeguchi, Kousuke Izumi, Shoji Suyama, Fumiki Mizutani, Kazutoshi Oki, and Shintarou Nishihiro. Maria Momoe serves as the head coach for the team, Chiyo Shin'oka is the team's manager, and Tsuyoshi Shiga is the faculty advisor for the team.

When I watched the first episode on the Crackle service, I saw the English dub version. Unfortunately, the dub really didn't do much for me. There were also some styles used in the animation that I didn't really care for, either. All of the characters seem to have red lines on their cheeks right below their eyes, so it looks like they're embarrassed all of the time; I assume this may have be due to the characters having this kind of a design in the manga, but I can't say that definitively since I haven't had a chance to read the manga yet. Also, I really didn't like the look Ren was given whenever he looks surprised by something, because it just stands out so much in comparison to the more realistic anime that's utilized for most of the episode.

Big Windup! was a series that FUNimation gave up on due to the series not selling well; after seeing this English dub version, I think I can see why. The series already had the fact that it was a sports anime going against it, since sports anime traditionally does not do well in North America. Once you factor in the quality of the English dub and the animation quirks, the series was essentially doomed.

If you're a fan of baseball or of sports anime, then you will probably enjoy Big Windup! However, if you don't fall into either one of these categories, then you probably won't.

When I watched the first episode, I didn't see anything terribly objectionable in the visuals. However, there were a couple of lines in the English dub that probably wouldn't be appropriate for a very young audience. Personally, I would recommend Big Windup! to anime viewers who are 13 or 14 years of age and older.

Title
Episodes
Release Year(s)
Director
Studio
N.A. Licensor
Okiku Furikabutte26 +1 OVA2007Tsutomu MizushimaA-1 PicturesFUNimation Entertainment
Okiku Furikabutte ~Natsu no Taikai-hen~14 +1 OVA2010Tsutomu MizushimaA-1 PicturesN/A

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