Picking up where the original series left off, Ren Mihashi, the ace pitcher of the newly-formed Nishiura High School baseball team, and his teammates face the Sakitama High School team in the next round of the High School Baseball Invitational Tournament as they aim to play in the finals at legendary Hanshin Koushien Stadium.
An Anime Worth Your Time: Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen
Before we dive deep into our review, let’s lay the groundwork and get to grips with the story structure of Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen!
Ookiku Furikabutte, also known as Big Windup, is a sports anime that takes a slice of life approach, centering around the dynamics of a high school baseball team. With a keen focus on character development and sport psychology, the anime follows protagonist Ren Mihashi, a talented yet self-conscious pitcher who carries a burden from his middle school days. After a turbulent start to his high school career, he lands in Nishiura High, where he learns to face his fears and make peace with his past.
In the sequel series, Natsu no Taikai-hen, the focus stays on the Nishiura team’s journey, as they strive for higher heights in the Summer National Tournament. Mihashi’s growth continues, and the relational dynamics amongst the team shift and evolve. The drama of high stakes games, friendships, rivalries, and the gripping tension of competition are artfully painted in this immersive second season.
Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen is a true evolution to its predecessor. For starters, the animation quality has visibly improved. It is cleaner, sharper, and adds that extra zest to the high-action baseball sequences. Art director Shichiro Kobayashi certainly ups his game and delivers an aesthetically pleasing treat to the viewers.
What pushes this sequel above and beyond is the profound character development. Our protagonist, Mihashi, is no longer the excessively self-deprecating pitcher we met in the first season. His confidence grows, he communicates better with his team, and there’s an inspiring transformation that we witness as he becomes a more assertive player.
But it’s not just about Mihashi. The unique thing about Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen is how it gives ample spotlight to the rest of the team members. Their abilities, struggles, and growth all contribute to the wholeness of the narrative, deepening the viewer’s attachment to the Nishiura team.
Furthermore, the portrayal of the sport itself is on-point. As in genuine sports situations, strategies, techniques, and mind games are portrayed with gripping realism. The intensity and anxiety of each match are palpable, making each game feel like a mini-story arc in itself.
The pacing of the anime hits the nail on the head. It avoids excessive drag and ensures the narrative is always moving forward, balancing the baseball action with human drama. And the beauty lies in how you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the series!
In short, Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen is an anime that ticks all the right boxes – character development, storyline, animation, pacing, and a menu of raw emotions. Whether you choose to rent, buy, or stream, this anime is worth your time and money. An anime that transcends the sports genre, it’s a tale of growth, relationships, and determination, wrapped up in the heart-thumping thrill of baseball. Batter up and enjoy the game, anime lovers!
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