Ookiku Furikabutte: Thoughts and Impressions

Hello everybody! Firstly, I apologise for staying such a long time away from the WordPress community – I was having a particularly intensive period at school what with school projects and exams, and also other stuff had happened that had taken up a huge proportion of my time and energy. Now its technically my ‘summer’ holidays but I am not going to really be less busy – I only have 2 weeks of rest before getting up and going again ^^

Secondly, I know I haven’t really been around and commenting and reading my followers’ blogposts that much, but I really hope to turn that around soon 🙂

Without further ado, I present to you — Ookiku Furikabutte (a.k.a. Big Windup!)

I don’t actually know what’s with the spate of sports anime reviews that I have been doing on my blog when in reality, most of the anime I watch aren’t sports related. But I reckon that these anime really deserve more attention by virtue of them being the essence of what makes the subject matter of Japanese animation so special – which other media genre has had so many instances of spinning touching narrations of friendship, teamwork, effort, tension and competition, replete with attention grabbing visuals, animation and a fast-paced plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat? However, we should note that not every sports anime delivers what I had just described to you in a gift box nicely wrapped, promising to bring you wonders when opened. Though they adopt largely the same structure and utilise the same elements in storytelling, each sports anime still has some unique characteristics that make it stand out from the rest.

Ookiku Furikabutte tells the story of Mihashi, a pitcher with extremely low self-confidence, who enters Nishiura high school and joins its newly formed baseball team. Being ostracised and certainly bullied in his middle school, Mihashi’s sense of self-worth is at a literal rock bottom (if you think Onoda from Yowamushi Pedal is already bad, Mihashi is at least two times that) that it makes him almost pitiable even at the very start. However, his unique way of pitching, though unappreciated and even booed at in his previous school, catches the eye of Abe, a catcher who realises the multifarious ways it could be used to the team’s advantage. Together they form a battery and the anime depicts their struggles as they overcome the vast differences between themselves to work towards a common goal – winning the matches they are thrown into.

The story is told in a slice-of-life fashion, depicting the struggles of the newly formed baseball team as they go through training. Though there are only two matches throughout the 22 episode series, Mihashi and Abe’s pasts are confronted through the two and it is actually during those long and arduous matches where we see character development. Other supporting characters also really shine in the games, and we get less of a sense that they are, for example, Teammate A and B, or simply the batter at 1st base, the outfielder etc. which was a source of confusion at the start of the anime, not helped by the fact that character designs are mainly differentiated by their hair which is entirely covered by their baseball caps during games.

This is a relatively unknown anime, even within its own niche genre. None of the characters have specific characteristics that make them stand out such that they would feature in crossovers, or are mentioned by people, or even brought up in Youtube video reviews. Of most special mention is actually Mihashi, whom you’d either really want to hit your head against the wall for such wimpiness, or you would really sympathise with him as sentient, fallible fellow human beings who’s prone to the occasional self-demeaning attitude. But other than that, his adorableness really captures the hearts of fujoshis/fudanshis as he is easily the main character that blushes the most in any anime I have seen (except maybe those with the explicit shounen-ai/yaoi tags). Having said that though, it doesn’t come across as overtly pandering to yaoi fans, because we are able to see it as something inherent in that self-defeatist attitude of his. Abe’s more assertive attitude shapes Mihashi up due to him being the first to truly recognise Mihashi’s way of pitching, and their chemistry both on the battlefield and off presents a good angle for exposition.

OF admittedly focuses a lot on baseball strategy. Up till now, I don’t claim to really know anything about baseball even after watching the anime, pausing, rewatching certain episodes to get what is going on, doing basic research, watching Youtube Baseball 101 videos. Even after all that, I am only familiar with the extremely basic rules. Though Abe, the narrating strategist here (together with their coach), explains the reasons why they are using certain strategies, there are just too many to catch and too many terms for a complete beginner such that it can get tiring too watch if, like me, you are a total noob when it comes to baseball.

In essence, though this is not probably as highly recommended as Yowamushi Pedal or Haikyuu!!, I daresay this would be an enriching experience for those more familiar with baseball because of the highly complex strategies. Nevertheless if you are a total beginner, it is still possible to enjoy it as there is some explanation given to familiarise yourself with how the game works. Do note though that this is a mainly sports centric anime and can turn out to be very technical, so its not recommended for those looking for high entertainment value.

Feel free to leave your thoughts below as to whether you’d be inclined to give this a go, or even if just to comment about whether you’ve watched it or not 🙂

*All images belong to their respective owners and do not belong to me.*

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10 thoughts on “Ookiku Furikabutte: Thoughts and Impressions

  1. I started this a while ago, but never really got round to finishing it because it was a bit too slow for me – Haikyuu!! on the other hand actually gripped me so much I binged the manga as soon as the first episode was released!

    Really well written review – Please update soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! Yeah I agree that OF really started out slower because they had to introduce the characters and form the new baseball team 🙂 Haikyuu!! on the other hand had more impact in terms of character personalities and the way it was set 🙂 Having said that, I still found Kuroko no Basket the ‘fastest’ for me amongst the three – have you tried that? 🙂
      Thank you for reading, and I will update more frequently from now on! 🙂

      Like

  2. This is one of my favourite sports anime series. I really like the characters, although most of them are relatively normal compared to other sports anime series. I’m quite saddened that they didn’t follow up for more seasons. Oh well. There’s still the manga.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed, but Tajima stands out on his own. He’s my favourite character in the series. I agree! But I don’t think there would be another season soon, although I’m crossing my fingers. We never know, right? Keep on watching anime.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Tajima is pretty interesting I agree 🙂 he quite surprised me with the way he behaved during the games, wouldn’t have thought of it at the start! Yeah I don’t think so too but just in case .. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review tough i have some disagreement.
    OoFuri did have a lot episode for one round, but it didn’t have a slow pacing because most of the thing shown in the series are esential to the story. I also like the idea how the author outline not only in physical factor but also the psycological aspect on sport. Also we could see a great char development even in just a few episode. Like Mizutani who used to be a Crappy Left fielder turn into a Mr. Nice Batting. I watch a lot sport but there is no sport anime that ever made me glue to the screen even stayed up all night just to see one round of battle finish. I don’t really need to talk much about how good this series is because Osamu Tezuka Award already tell us how good this series is. I hope OoFuri later become spread widely and well known because of this series actualy really good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Having watched more sports anime after I wrote this review, I do agree with your points. The point of many episodes to one match does serve a purpose in developing the characters vis-a-vis their progress in the sport. I haven’t watched the second season and I have half a mind to rewatch Oofuri again.
      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      Like

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