Hey guys! So sorry I haven’t really written anything on the blog. I just haven’t really been feeling like writing and then I’m always too lazy to turn on my desktop and ask my clothes to let me borrow my chair. I know. I’m a mess BUT I just finished Daiya no Ace and I’m just so excited and I want to tell you all about it!
Excuse me if this review turns into fangirling along the way. Also, SPOILERS because I know I can’t keep my mouth shut when I’m excited and right now Eijun has infected me with his enthusiasm
Now, in case you all forgot (and to my new followers), I actually picked this series up 2 years ago. I know, how could I have postponed this for so long! But I picked it up because the lovely Shiroyuni (who I believe no longer blogs because #reallife but you all should go check out her amazing posts anyways) recommended it to me after I asked for some sports anime recs. At the time I think I’d only watched Free, Haikyuu, and Kuroko’s Basketball and I wanted to broaden my sports anime horizons. And Daiya looked good. So then I picked it up and wrote up a first impressions post on the first two episodes
To sum it up, I was excited about it! Just those two episodes really set up the anime for me and the feels and I had played some softball so I wanted to watch some baseball. I watched the show for some time and then wrote up a mid-season review when I hit to the 50 episode mark, and then continued to the finish line
And YOU BET I went and got myself stuck in Misawa Hell because who can watch this and not love these two. So much that I ended up buying so much junk that year when I went to conventions! Now 2 years later and I’m back. Yes, I’m in Misawa and Daiya Hell again. Unfortunately for my poor fujoshi heart, this show isn’t as popular as I’d like for it to be
But what is this show even about? Well, it’s about Sawamura Eijun, a junior high student who is going to be graduating in a couple months. During one of his games, he catches the eye of a scout from Seidou, a really prestigious and well known high school for baseball. Initially, Sawamura is reluctant to go to Seidou because he already had plans to go to the same school as his friends and continue playing baseball with them, but after checking out Seidou and having Miyuki catch for him, Sawamura falls in love. He wants to go there, to have Miyuki as his catcher as Sawamura is known for his unique pitching style, to get better at playing, and overall, to play baseball at a professional level (since his friends were casuals). And like everyone who goes there, he wants to become Seidou’s Ace!
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), life at Seidou is anything but easy. Because Seidou is a powerhouse there are dozens, if not hundreds, of students vying for the first string (main players) and the Ace position. Students that have more experience (upperclassmen) and students that are just more talented (Furuya and Haruichi), so Sawamura has his work cut out for him. The good thing is that Sawamura is not a quitter and (in my opinion) he sometimes works even harder than many of our other characters. Of course, I could just be biased since I love him so much!
If I had to compare Sawamura to someone, I would say he’s very like Hinata from Haikyuu. Sawamura’s baseball team was made up of his friends who saw baseball as more of a hobby and you could clearly see that by the different reactions they had when they lost their game. And because his team was made up of casuals, Sawamura is already behind in technique since nobody was there to properly coach them. So comparing him to the Seidou team, Sawamura knew very little. His pitching consisted of a simple fastball that only made batters pause because of his unique pitching form. Plus he’s a southpaw (leftie) and his batting sucked. He’s only really good at bunting (Master Bunter)
If we had to highlight some of his strengths, his number one would be his enthusiasm for baseball. As you can see it’s so infectious that I’m writing this possibly long post. I feel like he just always invigorates the team with his embarrassing but encouraging remarks. And even though everyone always tell him to shut up you can tell they love him just as much as me. Even Miyuki has said he doesn’t mind his loudmouth, could this be the yaoi feels? Hehe. His next strength would be his unique pitching style
Because of the way he grips the ball, his pitches move (apparently this is called pitching grips) and since he’s not conscious of it, his pitches are sporadic. This makes it hard for people to both hit it and catch it, but no worries because Miyuki is a Master Catcher (hehehe). But it’s not just the way he grips the ball. When he pitches, there’s also a delay and “wall”, which makes it hard to see the ball coming and if you’re trying to hit it…well, you get it. His pitching style is unique
And unfortunately for me, Sawamura isn’t the only pitcher who wants the Ace title. We also have Tanba, a current third year who IS the Ace and Furuya, a first year and Sawamura’s main rival. We also have Nori, a second year, but I don’t count him in here because I feel he’s the more passive of the bunch. I know he wants to pitch but I’m not really sure if he wants to be the Ace
Just how Sawamura is your typical shounen underdog, Furuya is your typical rival. He is Sawamura’s rival and complete opposite. Like Sawamura, he had some issues as a pitcher while in junior high, except his trouble was that his pitches were too aggressive for catchers to catch. Think Haikyuu, that one episode where Oikawa first faces Karasuno and the serve he makes. Remember how powerful those were and how it left everyone agape? Yeah, Furuya pitches like that all the time and people are expected to catch it. My hand would probably fall off at the first one! His pitching instantly makes batters do double takes because is this really a first-year?! The girls love him and baseball lovers yell their admiration by calling him a monster pitcher
But Furuya isn’t perfect. Yes, his pitching is ferocious but it has its weaknesses. Yes his batting is pretty good for a first-year but his stamina, in general, is rather bad, not to mention his catching isn’t to die for
As a rival, I think he’s a pretty good match for Sawamura because he’s just naturally good and he’s wanted the Ace position from the beginning. But I won’t talk too much about him because I swear this show really makes me growl at him! I just want to see Sawamura succeed but having this guy always be better somehow in someway fires me up!
And since I’m already comparing Daiya to Haikyuu I’m going to continue using it. In Haikyuu I think the show does a great job at really making you love all the characters! Even those in the opposing team. I mean, who wasn’t biting their nails because they didn’t know if they should cheer for Karasuno or Aobajosai?
In Daiya, we kind of have this and we kind of don’t. Because a baseball team has so many players, I think having us genuinely care for everyone becomes a challenge. There are our main players and then you have the extras in the dugout who may come out for something like a player switch or pinch hitter. And then you have the dozens and dozens of other players who you maybe see cheering from the stadium and who you might only see once or twice. Because of this, I think the creators focus on our key characters for each team, which are usually 2 or 3 in the opponent’s team (unless they’re like the fated rivals) and about 11 for Seidou? Yeah, as you can see I’m having trouble figuring out how many they are
To be honest, when I started Daiya I had a hard time remembering the names and associating faces, but once you get them down, you really start to feel for all the characters. And I just love their interactions!
And speaking of loveable characters, can I just say I love Raichi? He’s one of those characters that stands out because he’s so loud but also his hunger for baseball is at a whole other level! And his strength…mmm, you bet he’s fit, that one. I love how he interacts with Sawamura so you bet I can’t wait to see more of him
One of the things Shiroyuni mentioned about Daiya (in comparison to other sports anime) was that it was very “real time”. As I started watching it and then completed the first season, I think I started to get it. Daiya is a very slow watch. If you think that 10 episodes for one match in Haikyuu was long, well, imagine a series with matches this long and then practices being a couple episodes too. But I think it’s done in a way that doesn’t make it feel like it drags because there’s usually so much happening that you just get invested in the feelings and actions
Also, I really like how our third years don’t continue playing like in other sports anime. In Daiya, the struggle continues and we’re shown the bitter side of what it means to be on a team. Sometimes you don’t win, sometimes you can’t continue playing, and sometimes you never even get to play. I know in some anime, like FREE or Stride, you only need a few members and they all get to have fun. In Daiya, that’s not the case. Because it’s such a prestigious baseball school and we only need so many members in the first string (think it’s 20), there are members that spend their whole high school life trying to get noticed but they’re overshadowed by the few. Imagine being beaten by a couple first years when you’re a third year. It hurts and we see this
Aside from it’s slower pace and these heartbreaking moments, we also get more heartbreaking moments. Playing competitively really puts pressure on players and we constantly see this. I played softball when I was in junior high but my team was very casual (and we sucked) so we rarely ever had much pressure about how we played or expectations. At Seidou, because they’re a powerhouse, things are different. We have pressure on the coaches, pressure on the captains, and quite the pressure on the pitchers as they’re the starting and ending points of the games (in my eyes)
And like all pressure and stress, our players suffer mental roadblocks. And as a viewer who becomes attached to these characters, it’s super stressful to watch them break before our eyes
Even though season 1 of Daiya is 75 episodes long, all of these things I mentioned – the characters, the realism, the feels – really make it a good watch. When I picked it up I watched up to episode 65 (about). To remind myself of what was going on, I decided to rewatch since episode 50 and I still tensed up at some of the pressure-filled moments, I still had so many feels, I fell in love with these characters again, and usually I’m not one to rewatch shows. I think Daiya does a really great job of drowning you because the feelings are very relatable and we even get some words of wisdom from many of our senpai (and really all of them because Sawamura has his words of wisdom every now and then, lol)
And no, I don’t think this show is perfect but it’s close enough and I love it
If I had to be nitpicky, I’d say that the story has many flashbacks. Flashbacks to years back but also flashbacks to 20 minutes ago. If I were watching this weekly, I would probably have no more hair because it can get a bit frustrating (the pace). The large cast would also be something, but every team we meet and match we have is important and helps the characters grow so really I can’t complain because I love to see them learn new things. If I had to cry about something though, it would be how the struggle feels never-ending. I won’t say much more because it might go into spoiler territory
Now that this is out, I’ll be diving into season 2 so expect more Daiya spam on my Twitter. I’m also hoping to pick up the manga soon and maybe I’ll do a comparison post because I like to do stuff like that. And maybe some Misawa stuff
HMMM. Now that I think about it, Daiya might be taking over the blog for some time because I’m also planning to reread The Trajectory of Laughter and I still need to write that final review. And more stuff…
But I’m curious, has anyone checked this series out? I know like 3 people aside from me who have. If you’ve watched it, what do you think of it? And if you haven’t, have any of the gifs in this post made you want to go check it out? I know Miyuki is super cool in that gif where he’s batting. That alone would have me running to Crunchyroll (lol)
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