Big Windup: Part 2
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(Sep 29, 2009)
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In Japan, baseball is a big part of Japanese culture. Aside from soccer and sumo wrestling, Japanese baseball has been covered in manga and anime series such as the popular series "Touch" as well as"H2', "Princess Nine" and "Idol Ace", to name a few.
In 2003, Asa Higuchi began a manga series which is serialized in the monthly seinen magazine "Afternoon" since 2003. The series has won an award such as the "Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize" and the "Kodansha Manga Award" and eventually was made into a 26-episode anime series in 2007.
Animation was done by A-1 Pictures (A studio from the Sony's anime production division, Aniplex) and shown on TBS and Animax Asia. What many people don't know is that Higuchi has researched and collected data on Japanese high school baseball for ten years before she started on the manga series.
With the first 13 episodes released in August, the second and final part of "Big Windup!" (also known as "Okiku Furikabutte" aka Ofuri) will be released in the US courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.
The series is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima ("xxxHolic", "Genshiken" and "Kujibiki Unbalance), written by Yousuke Kuroda ("Gungrave", "Infinite Ryvius", "Mobile Suit Gundam 00', etc.), character designs by Takahiko Yoshida (who has worked on "Honey and Clover", "Gad Guard" and "Welcome to the NHK") and music by Shiroh Hamaguchi ("Ah! My Goddess", "One Piece", "Sakura Wars" and "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children").Read more ›
I'm sticking by that claim because quite frankly, the show retains all of the best aspects of a shonen piece with a healthy dose of believability.
Previously released only as an online video-stream, Big Windup! was a Geneon property picked up by Funimation that's finally come to dvd format for those of us who prefer to enjoy our anime on the 42 inch plasma with surround sound (rather than in our media players through two tinny speakers that came with the computer monitor).
Coming at a total runtime of 315 minutes, Big Windup! Part 2 (Oofuri) consists of episodes 14-26 spread across 2 discs packaged within a standard-size dvd case. The show wears an appropriate, if not slightly conservative TV 14 rating (no violence, nudity or foul language).
Extras are limited here to textless songs and a nice assortment of Funimation trailers on the second disc.
As is standard fair with sub & dub anime, the language options consist of the original Japanese dialog track (in stereo) and an English language dub presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround with the option of English subtitles available under either choice.
The story picks up with young student Ren Mihashi's baseball endeavors coupled to his life as a regular high school student.
Whereas the first edition established Ren's desire to play ball even if bot hhe and his team's skill left a bit to be desired, this installment starts out right at the end of spring training.Read more ›
Since the game takes up most of the season, there's very little personal time with the players, instead you see their technical side on the field with bits of their personalities shining through. Because of this, Mihashi has very little time to be whimpy while he's up on the mound. He's still a little awkward and excitable, but you're not going to want to punch him every episode. And if you were a little creeped out by the shounen-ai stuff of the past, it's played down for this part of the season.
Puzzlingly, this season ends with an episode that's only tangentially related to the main characters. It's still about baseball, but focusing on Abe's ex-pitcher Haruna. You'll think this is a strange way to end the series, but I'll remind you that "it's only beginning." Indeed, the Second Season of Big Windup is about to start in Japan in 2010, so we might get it at the end of 2010.
One watching and I know six of the players names: Abe, Mihashi, Hanai, Tajima, Okki, and Sakaguchi. Okki is the kid with the weird looking face, and Sakaguchi has the voice of Al from Fullmetal Alchemist.
And a "Squeeze Play" is when you bunt with a runner on third. While the opposition get the batter Out at first base, the player on third runs home. You're going to hear that a lot without any explanation for newbies.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This series was far too short and there wasn't much baseball games played in the whole 26 episode. I think they played a whole 2 games. Great English dub, though. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Joshua M. Brooks
I was disappointed with BW Part 1, because the protagonist was soo wimpy that it took away from the baseball. Read morePublished on December 7, 2010 by Steve
Was this Part 2 horrible? No, but it was a Big Letdown. First off let me say that I loved the first collection (ep1-13) and gave it 4 stars. Read morePublished on September 23, 2009 by Michael Harmon