it’s not a gas guzzler

Categories: anime, general review

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I love football. During Fall, every Saturaday, I am glued to the TV watching college football. I like Basketball. Don’t care for it much except during playoffs though. This year, it’s exciting once again since my Pistons are doing well. I tolerate hockey, only because I grew up in the self-appointed Hockeytown. Baseball? I dislike it. Well, I hate it. Slow… archaic… lack of flash… well… oddly, this is why I like H2.

Anime… about baseball… without fanservice… why?!? Let’s start with the background. H2 is a thirty-nine episode series from 1994 based on the manga of the same name. It follows the two H’s, Kunimi Hiro and Tachibana Hideo, who are into baseball as much as ecchi no hon, as they begin their high school lives. In middle school, Hiro was the ace pitcher, and Hideo was the slugger. They won two consecutive national titles, but as luck would have it, Hiro discovers that his arm cannot last the rigors of pitching anymore. So Hideo attends a prestigious high school with hopes of becoming a pro someday. Hiro ends up going to a no-name high school that doesn’t even field a baseball team, but even with the chance of destroying his arm, he can’t stop thinking about baseball. The main story starts there as Hideo tries for the championship while Hiro tries to discover himself. In typical sports anime form, it’s about people who try their best against all odds… well… and not everyone wins in the end.

If H2 stood alone as a sports anime, it would be above average. Luckily, it also fields a romantic element. Hiro’s childhood friend, Hikari, falls in love with Hideo during middle school, and the two start dating. Of course, Hiro is filled with regret, because Hikari turned him down since he was a runt back then. Now in high school, Hiro meets a mysterious girl who oddly is infatuated with baseball. Soon the love triangle turns into a love pentagon. If you’re expecting harems or bishounens, utter disappointment await.

H2 isn’t fast. It’s slow paced… a welcome change from today’s typical anime series. H2 takes its time building up its plot… for one, it takes a good chunk of shows before any baseball of real consequence is played. Heck, H2 makes Konomini seem like the roadrunner. However, being slow, it allows for plot build up and, egads, proper plot development. The show also looks old. It came from around the same era as the original Aa! Megami-sama OAVs, but the animation quality and character design are not comparable. But slick animation isn’t why I watched anime in the first place. Doreamon? Robotech? Talk about dreadful art. But even with CG, high animation frame count, and mathematically extrapolated bouncing boobs, such flashiness can’t cover up the lack of a soul… Bakuretsu Tenshi and Divergence Eve pop in mind immediately. Probably can think of a dozen more series if I devoted two or three more brain cells to the project.

H2 is a quirky series. Full of self-deprecating humor… which is something absent from modern anime. They even say baseball is boring. In the end, this old series about baseball somehow managed to keep someone who completely and utterly dislikes baseball interested. It’s definitely not for everyone or even most people, but it’s definitely a nice change of pace from the Narutos and Comic Parties.

Hiro at bat
Koga gives a pep talk

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