There’s plenty of baseball anime in existence though I haven’t really seen one of the cute girls doing cute things variety which, you know, “is where it’s at”. There was that one moment in Yorimoi where they play ball but that doesn’t really count. Last year gave us Cinderella Nine which was fine, had a decent character arc or two, but if it wasn’t compelling enough to merit finishing. Here we are now with Tamayomi: The Baseball Girls (thank goodness, the subtitle tells me what sport they’re playing). Will this be the one I’m looking for? Only one way to find out.
The title, Tamayomi, is comprised of the names of its two main characters, Yomi Takeda (Kaori Maeda) and Tamaki Yamazaki (Satomi Amano). It does translate to something from my understanding but I’m not fluent in Japanese so it’s best I leave that to someone who is. The emphasis on these two names is reinforced by how well the two characters’ baseball skills compliment each other. Yomi is a pitcher who can throw an incredibly curved pitch aimed to intimidate and catch the batter off guard. Tamaki proves to be a catcher skilled enough to catch that ball and secure a strike.
It does seem a bit odd to presumably have two characters be the center of attention in an anime about baseball. I mean, baseball teams are much larger than two by default. Compared this to, say, Harukana Receive. That show’s namesake is also inspired by its leading pair but it makes sense to put that much emphasis since volleyball teams are comprised of two players. Maybe the show is also called Tamayomi because that pair is its main ship. If that’s the case, how kind of the show to tell me what the ship is called.
Actually, I am liking Yomi and Tamaki well enough. Childhood friends reuniting in high school is a common set-up but it’s decently executed in this show. These two do come across as friends catching up with each other. There’s also some nice inverses to their personalities in contrast to their character designs. Even though Yomi looks like the more upbeat character, she’s actually far more insecure and glum about her baseball career compared to Tamaki who is comparatively more confident in where she’s at. The two’s backstories do leave a bit to be desired though. Tamaki’s recollection of the rigorous training she went through is skimmed over. Yomi’s biggest problem playing baseball in middle school is simply her catcher being the worst; not contrived but it does feel a little exaggerated. And unless that conflict is brought up again (by that, I mean the catcher getting her ass kicked by Yomi in a game), the whole backstory feels a little more frustrating than it needs to be.
Also introduced are twins, Yoshino and Ibuki Yamaguchi (Nao Shiraki and Miyu Tomita respectively). Not much to say about them but Ibuki does provide one decent gag in the premiere and Yoshino has a quirk I ain’t forgetting anytime soon (her and Yomi’s hands must be the secondary ship).
To be honest, what will likely hold Tamayomi back isn’t going to be the writing but rather the production values. The visuals by Studio A-Cat frankly look a bit cheap, even making the show seem older than it actually is. I’m not entirely sure if the dated look is intentional after looking up pages from the manga. Fortunately, the animation seems to hold up better when the characters play baseball, especially when Yomi throws a ball. The bigger detractor however is the music. It’s erring on the side of generic BGM from a visual novel. In fact, as far as I can tell, Visual Arts is providing the music. Is there an actual composer attached to this show or did the production committee buy stock assets from a music label?
So long as the writing holds up, I can stomach through the visuals and music just fine. As for whether or not the writing is up to snuff, we shall see. Nothing stands out to me but I’ll watch a little bit more of the show.
OP: “Never Let You Go” by Naho
ED: “Plus Minus Zero Rule” by the Shin Koshigaya Baseball Team
Thanks for reading!
Watch Tamayomi on Funimation