Taishou Yakyuu Musume is what it is: Delightful

These days, picking anime with teenage female casts is like walking through a minefield. For every show that’s good on its merits, another show is called good because “it is what it is.” When nobody differentiates between the good and the bad, how am I supposed to avoid the crap? Whatever happened to standards? There’s only one way to get away from this age of complacency and pedophilia: time travel. Next stop: the Taishou period.

Watch at your own risk. This is twice as awesome when you don’t see it coming.

This unexpected work of badassery assured me that I’d made the right call. The Taishou period was the perfect historical setting. It was old enough to feel classic yet modern enough to relate to. The men wore manly hats and had manly haircuts with sideburns. Lesbians existed but pantyshots didn’t. What more could I ask for?

The Taishou period is particularly charming in light of the impression that American education gives us about Japanese history. We’re taught about two key events in early Japanese–American relations:

  • 1853: Commodore Perry forces Japan out of isolationism
  • 1941: Japan bombs Pearl Harbor

Basically, Japan was backwards in 1853, crazy in 1941, and nothing important happened in between. Among other things, this ignores the democratic and westernization-friendly Taishou period. When I watched Taishou Yakyuu Musume, I was shocked to feel that the difference between modern and 20’s Japan seemed about the same as the difference between modern and 20’s America.

Even the kids had sideburns. What a glorious era.

If you’re anything like me and tend to ignore shows with strictly Japanese titles, here’s a rough translation:

  • Taishou: period in Japanese history from 1912 to 1926
  • Yakyuu: baseball
  • Musume: daughters (or girls, every girl is someone’s daughter)

The girls learn to play baseball at a time when girls did not play baseball. Hilarity ensues.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume doesn’t depict a real-life tale. It’s a work of fiction and isn’t shy about it. It chooses to be realistic where it would be interesting and embellishes parts that would otherwise be plain, a simple formula that’s often forgotten these days.

Realistic:

Unrealistic:

  • High school girls making sharp, high-speed turns while running rickshaws sitting two passengers each, and then running over the school choir without injury
  • Throwing a baseball bat to an unsuspecting stranger in the dark and expecting him to catch it (I could catch it, but most people can’t)
  • The tall, confident, blond-hair, blue-eyes, big-titty, exaggeratedly accented American teacher. I’ve never had one in 19 years of American schooling.

Although it’s covered to some extent by the TV Trope Foreign Fanservice, there should really be a narrower trope specifically for this type of character.

Another awesome random song

Taishou Yakyuu Musume gets off to a great start and does plenty to keep you interested. Aside from the setting, the show’s greatest strength is it’s sense of humor, which never lets up. The cast is fairly standard (yes, a soft-spoken girl voiced by Mamiko Noto is standard). It has more or less the same basic plot as any other sports anime, except for the twist that the girls aren’t allowed to play. The ending is pretty sappy, but for this kind of show, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Final Grade: ++

The ++ is a strong recommendation for everyone, but I especially recommend the show to girls. It’s full of girl power and fashion porn.

It also has a lot of hot older guys picking up the high school girls, which would be pedophilia now but was legal at the time.

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78 people love sucking up to me

  1. Ryan A says:

    I had a teacher like that, sad she went through a divorce during my time in high school. Also, twig stepping, nice catch.

  2. Kabitzin says:

    How much is this like A League Of Their Own? Is there crying in baseball?

  3. SaberToothedPie says:

    So is this some sort of Anime version of “A League Of Their Own”?

  4. I miss the checklists,
    But looks like no dinosaurs.
    Still might watch it though.

    I had a teacher
    Like that once… well, she was hot,
    In nineteen forty.

  5. Shin says:

    One of my favourites last year, despite my disinterest in baseball. The show could have easily been gone down the path of yuri tripe, but it held its head high in the end and ended being glorious, much like the girl’s rematch against the boys.

    Also, Tokyo Juice > Marching Through Georgia

  6. otou-san says:

    hm I avoided this because I’m not a fan of baseball or sports anime in general, but you do make it sound fun. Pity it’s not shorter, I’ll probably never do it.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      I’m sorry, is 12 episodes too much for your royal majesty? Shall I edit out the OP and ED, thereby effectively shortening the series to approximately 10.5 episodes?

  7. I think the teacher might be realistic if it’s the only job opportunity that women had during that time period. Instead of being fashion models or some other silly professions, that is. And we were about 20-25 years away from the Rosie the Riveter image, weren’t we?

    • Laguna Loire says:

      No. It is Unrealistic. Japanese at that time sent their teachers to study in western universities so that only japanese where allowed to teach in schools…it has something to do with their militaristic ideologies.

      For example, take a look what boys were taught at school at that time period:

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/Japan_drills_Boy_Scouts_with_rifles_1916_2.jpg

      • Yoneda says:

        Yes, I remember the almost-main-character of “I am a Cat”: Professor Savage Tea.

        It took a very long time for Japan to jump on the native-speaker import craze, so there are still a lot of English teachers with bad accents and next to none overseas experience like Yukari-sensei around. This is still one of the major factors contributing to the average Japanese’s poor English skills.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Now it makes perfect sense. I never had any hot teachers because they were all busy perpetuating the military-industrial complex.

  8. Heinsia says:

    so you could recommend a show to girls that girls can actually like
    will check it out when I have time

  9. Karuroso says:

    Does this show explain the baseball rules or they assume you already know? Eyeshield 21 for example, even though this one wasn’t realistic, atleast they explained the football’s rules

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      This show assumes you know the basics. In any case, it’s one of those shows where you don’t need to know the rules to enjoy it. The most complicated thing that happens is a batter running to first when the catcher drops his third strike. After that, the most complicated thing is a double play.

  10. digitalboy says:

    I’m extremely glad to see that as much as you talk crap about most shows with all-girl casts, you still are unbiased enough to give them a shot and potentially enjoy them. Taishou Yakyuu Musume has been brutally overlooked, considering that the people who watched it all seemed to love it, and it’s got a total all-star production staff. But maybe it’s because people like me have still been putting off watching beyond the first ep LOL.

  11. kadian1364 says:

    I put it off because someone told me it didn’t have any more impromptu musicals after the first. The thought still saddens me, but I’ve gotten over it enough to go back for more.

  12. mefloraine says:

    I think your “realistic” section is slightly flawed… :P
    Oh hey, I’ve had a teacher like that.

    Sounds interesting. Though watching that would require me to get out of my current sports anime slump. <.<;

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Never stepped on a twig before?

      Taisho Yakyuu Musume is the perfect show to break your slump. The focus is on the girls, not really the sport. Instead of watching full matches, you’re only show the relevant highlights. There aren’t any 3-episode games with cliffhangers, nor are there enough episodes for them to develop ridiculous special moves.

  13. Scamp says:

    It’s really bizarre seeing a baka-raptor post have the word ‘delightful’ in the title…

    As for the anime in question, I thought it was a pile of shite with no sense of humour whatsoever once the impromptu musical ended. I certainly never saw the great sense of humour you refer to. All I saw was a bunch of high-school girls being insuferably nice to each other.

    Ah well, it is what it is~

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      You’re damn right it is what it is~

      I could literally open any episode to any random point and find humor. In fact, I’ll do it right now.

      – Episode 5 at 10:30: The girls are collapsed yet again after running. We see the usual bird’s eye death shot. Overall, the series uses repetition very well.
      – Episode 3 at 7:06: Rich girl can’t carry her buckets.
      – Episode 10 in its entirety: Lesbian scheming
      – Episode 8 in its entirety: The movie filming episode
      – Episode 7 in its entirety: The street batters episode

      If you weren’t amused by the street batters, there’s no hope for you to like the show.

  14. Sorrow-kun says:

    “Whatever happened to standards?”

    Absolutely! You’ve managed to take all my thoughts and anxieties about the fandom and sum them up in a single… err, question. Oh yeah, and Moe Baseball Girls rocks. It disappoints me so much that series like K-On! are the face of modern slice-of-life moe comedy when the genre has produced and continues to produce so many really good works like Moe Baseball Girls and Hidamari Sketch, that get almost completely ignored in comparison.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      I actually wrote a post called what ever happened to standards a while back. It was on a different topic, but it still satisfies my lazy side to see that I can keep using the same lines and get away with it.

      When I actively look for moé, I do see it in Taisho Yakyuu Musume. When I sit back and watch it normally, I don’t see a thing. Many people get the impression that I’m anti-moé. The truth is that I’m neutral, because I can’t even recognize moé unless I actively look for it or it gets shoved in my face. One of may all-time favorite anime characters is a SaiMoé winner (I’ll let you guess which one). I’d never have known she was moé if it hadn’t been pointed out.

  15. poulos25 says:

    Watch Mouryou no Hako. Baseball girls was pretty boring for me, even though I like sports anime.

  16. schneider says:

    A fun little show, which got me into baseball in the first place. Nice romance subplot too!

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      As far as the baseball aspect goes, I’d put it behind several other shows, such as Touch and One Outs. It’s the total package (baseball, romance, comedy, setting, etc.) that makes the show great.

  17. OBALLER says:

    yea im not a huge fan of the female teenage cast…. could be because i dont find anime girls “hot” could be because i dont sit around with my friends watching love actually until our periods sync up.

    however that is a strong recommendation, ill put it on my to watch list, but not too high

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      It’s something to consider when you’ve got nothing else to watch. That’s how I’d been treating it for months despite all the good reviews. You’ll like it whenever you get to it. Now or later, doesn’t matter.

  18. I have this, will watch it at some point.

  19. Canne says:

    Never really into baseball. In fact, I’m not really into sport drama but girl power…that’s another story!

  20. Glo says:

    This show stood out to me as one not to watch. I am now slightly interested. I’ll ask you personally, should I, Glo the Legend, watch this?

    While I wait for your answer, I will watch Aria, which I am still only 3 episodes into.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Well, if you liked something as universally panned as Nyan Koi, I can’t imagine you not liking Taishou Yakyuu Musume.

      Aria is bliss after endurance. Stick with it.

      • Glo says:

        I’ve decided to wait until summer to watch Aria….right now it just makes me depressed because I can’t go swimming, and it’s not summer.

        I guess I will watch this show eventually.

  21. Laguna Loire says:

    [quote] “would be pedophilia now but was legal at the time.” [/quote]

    If i recall well, pedophilia is a psychological disorder… the law really doesn’t matter…because rape is a crime no matter whom is the victim.

    At that time children got married by arranged marriages made by their parents, so this can’t be considered a child sexual abuse and do not fall in the category of pedophilia.

    Pedophilia also has been committed by the catholic church priests for centuries.

    I haven’t watched the anime but i guess older guys teasing younger girls to know them better was natural because they could meet their parents and later have their infamous marriage arranged, to even latter on to put them in bed as wifes.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      I look at pedophilia for the perspective of the victim. The key question is whether the person is too young to make a truly informed and responsible decision about sex. If that’s the case, they’re being taken advantage of and the act shouldn’t be allowed, but if they can make a truly informed, responsible decision, it should be allowed. In that regard, it’s more about mental age than physical age. The law factors into this because community standards are relevant to determining whether someone is able to make an adult decision and whether they’re able to accept the consequences of their actions.

      Another thing to consider is life expectancy. People didn’t live nearly as long back then, so 18 now was more like 16 then.

      • Laguna Loire says:

        psychological/mental age…i know 18 years old girls behaving like 9 years old…by nowdays standards if we take the fact of people living longer, i guess majority should be raised to 21 and this number will then keep rising…hahahh

        but even so, decisions about girl’s life were all made by their parents back then, so even if they were not ready to have sex or didn’t have the responsibility to do so, they would be forced to do it anyway, and would fall in the “victim” category…

        That’s why i look at pedophilia as a psychological disorder, no matter if the laws prohibited it or not, in texts about psychology, predominant sexual preference for prepubescent children or girls at least five years younger than (citation needed), qualifies as pedophilia,

        for example, i am 24 yo today and due to this rule i can’t pick any girl younger than 19, that explains very well why i am not found for adolescents with 16-17 yo anymore as i was when i had 21yo.

  22. digitalboy says:

    By the way BR, in response to your Denpa Teki no Kanojo post, the actual ‘greatest redemption story mankind has ever witnessed’ is Nanoha A’s. Nanoha season 1 = shittiest thing I’ve ever finished. Nanoha A’s = one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Just wanted to point that out.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      I’ve never seen anything in the Nanoha franchise, thought I may check it out someday due to lolikit’s raving about it.

      • digitalboy says:

        If you do, there’s a few things to know. 1. watching the first season will make you a pedophile, but not the second season. 2. it has lesbians, but they are both underaged. However, in the third season, they are both of legal age, and they don’t get intimate until then anyway. It is never stated in the story that they are lesbians, but the director and the voice actors have said it explicitly. 3. Everyone who likes the first season is a psychopath. And you’d be real fucking surprised how many people love it.

  23. Fat Nakago says:

    I really loved and enjoyed PRINCESS NINE. So this show sounds like it’s right up in my wheelhouse. Thanks for a nice review of a show that for some reason I wasn’t aware of.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Princess Nine? I’m only familiar with Princess 69. Will look into it.

      • Yoneda says:

        It’s another show about some alcoholic male ruffian coach trying to make an all-female baseball team so good that they could take on male teams. It can get pretty serious at times and is probably even less moé than Taisho Yakyuu Musume. Didn’t watch it though.

  24. Salsk says:

    KOUME! IT’S EIGHT O’CLOCK, WAKE UP!

  25. Yi says:

    I actually thought about watching this because of the ubiquity of that video…

  26. Kyoin says:

    Why not Fuedal Japan?

    • Yoneda says:

      Because there are already way too many series based in some Edo or Sengokujidai period?
      There lies much romantic potential in the eras after the Restauration, because Japan in these times, only through having to deal with foreign powers closing in, started developing a “healthy” national spirit and a consciousness of what defines the Japanese people. Kind of like China, only that China lost pretty shamefully because their national movemenent started way too late. Japan in contrast could defeat their first foreign power, Russia, pretty quickly (1905, not even half a century after escaping feudalism), so that in Taisho and Showa their national spirit was on a continuuos rise (although towards the doom of WWII). When Meiji is still too confusing because old and new values still clash, and pre-WWII Showa is too desperate and hardcore because of the permanent need to justify the gathering of resources in China and the Pacific and to defend them against the West, Taisho seems the perfect syncretism of Western technology and Japanese culture while giving a very relaxed setting of a united nation of Japan which could single-handedly win wars without suffering of the civilian populace.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      What Yoneda said. Also, Inu Yasha. Finally, Comment #5000!

      • digitalboy says:

        Dude, no shit? I’m 7 away myself! AND NOW WONDERING HOW THAT’S POSSIBLE (and then realizing that because I post 7 times more often then you, then the sum total of comments on 7 of my posts equals that of one of yours) this is huge, I need to lie down…..

  27. Yoneda says:

    As a fan of Sakura Taisen, the word “Taishou” was the only word the show needed to catch my interest. I have pushed it into the waiting loop so far because of the potential Moe-overdose it might contain or not. Now that I hear you recommending it, I will definitely give it a shot.

    Did you watch the TV series of Sakura Taisen? If yes, what do you think of it? It is also set in some kind of Taisho era (though the TV series overdoes it a bit with giving them all kinds of advanced electric devices), it features an almost all-female cast of fighting girls and has lots of raw girl power. The basic idea is that there is a multi-national group of six female actors working as an all-female opera troupe in the same imperial theater briefly shown in that Yakyuu Musume video, while also doubling as a mecha-controlling defense force protecting the capital from standard demons and the anti-restauration spirits of the past Feudal Japan (and also from the ocassional foreigner from evil countries like the US). I could not detect any moé at all, heck, I couldn’t even detect any sexual fanservice! The girls are even mean to each other, and the reason for this is not fighting over the male protagonist (yes, there is one, but he is an adult trained soldier and the captain of the girl troupe on the battle field – his eyes aren’t covered by his hair and he is not voiced by a woman either – and he doesn’t show up until episode 4 or something so there is no typical everyday-school-life he needs to get dragged from) like it would be in harem shows. The mechas (which the show doesn’t focus on) are almost realistic in size and armament, despite being controlled by a mix of steam and spiritual power. The theater troupe stuff is not just a cover either, and the girls are all “trying hard” in the original kind of way (not the moe variant). The setting of the TV series is pretty dark as well, which leads to an awesome first half, at least until the filler begins. Skip the OVAs if you decide to watch it, it is only of value if you have played the video games to which it is a supplement. You can also watch the movie after the series, which is almost worth it for the train launch sequence (yes, steam trains get launched in their era) alone but also gives some nice examples of how to properly use CG in anime (while also having some bad ones during which you will shortly feel like watching a cutscene from a video game). Gainax was slightly involved so expect a weird ending that doesn’t end even after the bad guy has been the defeated. The series as a whole has an extremely top-quality soundtrack by the guy who did the Gunbuster music, if you ended up watching it. It has always been some kind of an insider recommendation for me (despite having been extremely popular in Japan until not long ago), but now that the fifth game in the series (which sucks by the way) ended up being published in America, this idea seems bound to fail anyway.

    I should really stop using brackets as much (might be a good New Year’s resolution in the future).

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Haven’t seen it, and based on the sheer length of your comment, I’m now honor-bound to watch it (eventually). That’s not to say I’d watch any show pitched to me in a comment wordier than the post it follows, but shows that aired from around 2000-2002, the time I was first getting into anime, get special consideration. I suppose humans would call it nostalgia.

  28. Taka says:

    I watched this and Sora no Manimani round the same time and had a minor Kanae Ito genki-girl overload. (she voiced the lead female in both shows) I ended up liking both of the shows but was saddened by the lack of coverage for baseball girls. Except for the song at the beginning of course which left me in a stupor for most of the rest of the first episode.

    I am curious, besides Mamiko Noto are their other seiyuu that you are a fan of? Seiyuu tend to be the first thing that can draw me into an anime and sometimes I’ll stay with it long after it’s stayed it’s welcome thanks to my favorite seiyuu.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      While seiyuu impress me all the time, there aren’t any I really follow, mainly because I’m all about the final product. Voice acting, production studios, directors, etc. and all that other stuff in the background doesn’t really matter to me. Mamiko Noto is the exception, and that’s because:

      – She uses the same exact voice for every role
      – She’s everywhere
      – She’s the only seiyuu I can recognize with any certainty (next closest is Aya Hirano, who I mistake surprisingly often)

      I do like it when she shows up, but it’s honestly more of a running joke than actually being impressed with her vocal talent. Other than Mamiko Noto, the only voice I really look forward to hearing is Naomi Shindou, the voice of Shizuru, who doesn’t get a lot of work.

      • DragoZERO says:

        Hirano Aya is awesome. She did great in Kimi ni Todoke & White Album.

        • Baka-Raptor says:

          I first heard her voicing Mamori in Eyeshield 21. I liked voice then and I like voice her now. A lot of the fandom surrounding her is annoying, but that’s something to blame on the fans, not the voice. Unlike some fans, I really don’t care about her weight or how many bikini tops she wears upside down.

  29. Dont think i am going to watch this

  30. Michael says:

    On the topic of baseball, Cross Game is a really strong series. I just finished catching up to the most recent episode, and three days of little sleep is a testament to its staying power and beauty. I’ve never seen a realistic anime series featuring coping with death do it as well as CG does it. Aoba is also one of the most complex female characters in anime, not only because she is a tsundere, but because she is so much more.

    I’m still thinking about it. I will probably rewatch the series in a few days’ time, because there’s so much nuance in their characters, it’s amazing.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      I’ve been watching Cross Game from Day 1. Great show, but I’ll save my thoughts for next month when it ends.

      Watch Touch. It’s from the same manga artist and has many of the same themes. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

  31. Michael says:

    I realized that you do have really, really good taste. I thought your DMC praise was meh, personally, but I knew you had to love something much better.

    I read your article on Touch. It’s not even making fun of it, which is quite well-deserved with most Adachi series (except H2). I have admired Mitsuru Adachi ever since I discovered Hiatari Ryoukou and he’s making an even better point for himself with Cross Game. I’m just waiting for the DVD releases to complete but I’ll download everything that will come out as soon as possible.

    I can’t download the LD releases because no one hosts it on IRC. No one seeds it as well, and my torrenting is b0rked.

  32. Koji Oe says:

    It was a pretty decent show, yeah. More for kids or sports fans though. I wished they developed the romance side of the series more but that’s a personal preference.

  33. TheBigN says:

    Don’t really need to say anything, because I agree with you.

  34. [...] For every action-packed romp like One Outs, there’s a bore­fest like Taisho Base­ball Girls (although I think I might be the minor­ity on that one). For every piece of intel­li­gently writ­ten work like Cross Game, there’s a steam­ing pile [...]

  35. [...] history when I’m trying to make sense of an anime I’m currently watching. It’s rarely absorbing. The only history I ever have fun reading is American history, and that’s only [...]

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