Tiny Couch Review

Baby Steps (April - September 2014)

  • hoshi-kun
    hoshi-kun
    Entry Critic

    9 posts
    Signed up the 22/05/2017

    On 26/07/2017 at 18:44 Quote this message

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    While most people don't realise it, sports anime are a fairly old concept that hasn't quite received the respect that it deserves. From Inoue Takehiko's Slam Dunk to today's topic, Hikaru Katsuki's Baby Steps, many anime fans just don't seem that interested in anime about sports. What they don't know is that sports anime harbour some of the most beautiful, most well-developed characters in anime with hopes, dreams and ambitions that rival those of most Shounen anime protagonists. But, enough advocating for the genre, Baby Steps speaks for itself.

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    The Plot
    15-year-old Maruo "Ei-chan" Eiichiro is the top student at his school. An A-Student in every sense of the term, Maruo is known all over his school as the man with the life-saving notes. With an attention to detail that is almost inhuman, the straight-laced and kind Maruo continues to awe his teachers. However, something is missing from his life. He decides that he needs to take up a little exercise in order to keep fit, something which won't mess up his schedule too much. When the school idol, Takasaki Natsu, comes to Maruo's class to ask him for his notes, Maruo ends up being coaxed by her to play tennis at the Southern Tennis Club, where she trains every single day. Underestimating the amount of strength and stamina required by the sport, Maruo passes out at his first practice, but for some reason, Maruo can't stay away from the court. And so begins Maruo Eiichiro's journey from unassuming novice, to a full-blown tennis virtuoso.

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    The Characters

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    As a sports anime, Baby Steps does not fail to deliver on what matters most: the characters. From protagonist to extras, each character is given a unique personality with a unique set of dreams, strengths and weaknesses. These personalities are then made evident in the way in which they play tennis, and their general attitude towards the game. While it may not seem so at first, the protagonist, Maruo Eiichiro, is the most exciting character in terms of development and growth over the course of the two seasons. Starting out as a baby chick in the game, Maruo's meticulous attention to detail defines his tennis play, as well as his relationships with all the other characters. His journey is inspiring and the anime itself is filled with motivational quotes and behaviours - characteristic of a sport anime.
    Each character is carefully crafted and no two journeys are the same; thus it is completely possible to be totally interested in the lives of each individual character.

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    Art and Animation
    To be totally honest, Baby Steps is not all that special where the art and animation are concerned. It is just alright, yet never ever a pain to watch. However, it could be better considering that it is an anime about sport, swift and silky animation is key - Baby Steps doesn't do too bad a job at this, but sometimes it may leave one wanting more.

    While it is awesome to be able to hear the thoughts of each character as they play, certain aspects tend to sound a little repetitive. However, such repetition allows even the most clueless of viewers to become somewhat familiar with the various technical aspects of the game of tennis and in some respects, the viewer can come to understand what goes through the minds of the most decorated players in the game.

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    Final Thoughts

    Baby Steps is brilliant and it does its job well. Perhaps it's a little bit unrealistic; however, we don't usually watch anime in order to be faced with the same greyscale reality. Baby Steps encourages us to dream and to set goals for ourselves, taking small steps before great strides.

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