Animation Studio: Madhouse and Production I.G.
Eijun Sawamura has immense passion for baseball. Scouted by Seido High School, Sawamura now pursues his dream of becoming the Ace of the team, to become the best pitcher there is. Sadly, when you’re a first year, and all your third year seniors overshadow you, the only way you stand out is having a big mouth. Sawamura, Furuya, and Haruichi have to show the upperclassmen that their natural abilities are an asset to the team. Together they learn about friendship, team work, new pitches, and intense games. Gear up Sawamura, for your destiny is supposedly great!
I’m sure by now that if you haven’t watched this anime, then you would have recognized a certain animation studio that worked on this; Madhouse. The animation studio that brought you Death Note, Hunter x Hunter, and soon to be One-Punch Man. Maybe some of you are wondering how this passed under your radar, and the simple answer is that Ace of Diamond took a while to get good. Yep, the first ten or so episodes are slow, focuses more on comedy, and you’re just wondering if it’s even worth watching. But I will say, once this series picks up it gets really good.
The animation is not solid as say Hunter x Hunter, but when it comes to the games you can really see that greatness shining through. I have no idea how each studio split the animation, maybe I.G. did half and Madhouse did the other half, or Madhouse only did the games, I don’t know, but the eyes are beautifully made and the animation during the games are top notch and full of energy, to a point where your cheering at your monitor.
The show does a nice job balancing out fun character moments, and just balls to the wall baseball action. The characters are lovable and you wish your heart out that they’ll succeed, and the games are so suspenseful and intense that I’m either biting my nails or screaming at my monitor. Unfortunately, it’s not like that throughout the whole show.
Like I said before, the beginning is more comedy based, but they have that same comedy throughout the whole season. Sometimes the comedy works really well and I’m just laughing my ass off, but other times, like near the end, you start to notice that a lot of the comedy is literally the same. Furuya being angry that he’s not pitching, Sawamura being a stereotypical airhead, and you just feel tired of this comedy. Granted, I did laugh more than I was tired of hearing it, but in the end I’m not sure if I’ll find the comedy funny, or annoying, if I rewatched it.
As I was noticing the comedy being repetitive, I started noticing something else; the characters are not as good as I thought. The three main characters that we are introduced to are all interesting, first year prodigies basically, and had lots of room to grow; however, they are treated like side characters, unless it focused on them wowing the people with their skills. In fact, a lot of the time we are learning about the third years, and how much focus their backstories are really makes me think that they should have been better as the main characters.
By the end of the season, you do understand why most of the focus is on the third years, because Ace of Diamond season one is essentially a passing of the torch story. When it comes time for the third years to leave you feel shattered, and are wondering how the team will continue, and by God the scene when all the third years are gone, and it’s finally sinking in that all the good players left, is just one of the best passing of the torch scenes I’ve seen in anime. You really feel the weight of those scenes, and how the characters are reacting to it. Because of this, I understand why the three main characters were put on the sidelines a lot, and now I’m really interested to see them shine in season two, even though I was mad for a good chunk of the season because my favorite character, Haruichi, wasn’t getting much love.
When the season was coming to a close, I felt like the characters were making mistakes that I don’t think they would have made, and the last six episodes almost felt like they were focusing on character, because they had numerous games that were just barely touched on in the last few episodes. I’m not sure if it was like this in the manga, but I couldn’t tell if they were just rushing, or actually putting in the time to focus on the characters before the season ended.
Speaking of characters, I forgot just how many there are. At the end, when everyone is saying their goodbyes, I’m seeing all these players coming out and I’m like “who are you? I’ve never seen you on this series before?” so that threw me off. There are just too many characters to keep track of when your not watching a game.
Unlike a certain series, *cough* Yowamushi Pedal *cough* , this season actually feels like a closing of a chapter, and the beginning of a new one with season two. With the third years gone, there are so many great scenes to look forward to. New characters are popping up to take the spotlight, the three main characters now feel like main characters, and now the team has to work hard with learning how to use the new team. If you were having a roller coaster of emotions throughout this whole season, then you were like me and probably liked the potential this series has going for it. The last six episodes really made me excited to start season two.
Overall, his series has it’s ups and down, but I feel like it was an experience. The games really pulled me into their world, and the passion put into the voices and animation is just top notch. There were some questionable moments, but by the end it only made me excited for more.
+ The Games
– Questionable moments
– Wanted more out of the main characters