Not your typical anime...
David A. Brown | 04/28/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"My first exposure to this series was through the ADV trailer on the Robotech series. At first glance it seems a far departure from the typical robot/battle/sex/gore fare that gets translated into English, so I had to check it out. Over all, it is a really decent series that doesn't play into any of the typical stereotypes, and becomes a very crafty exploration of Japanese culture and ethics by presenting an all girl's highschool attempting to break tradition and form a baseball (not SOFTball) team to compete against boys schools. There are plenty of complexities within the dynamic between all the players, their pasts and how it all fits together into the present. Perhaps the most refreshing idea of the series is presented through a very simple, elegant subject which means so much to the Japanese- baseball (highschool baseball holds big interest in the Japanese public). The involvement of the visionaries and management of the team adds depth to the stories which play up to the aspiriations of all those involved with the team, and those of the people against the formation of a girl's baseball team.The first few episodes plod slightly as it reveals the hidden power of the central character, Ryo Hayakawa, a fourteen year old high school girl who is the daughter of a late baseball superstar. The revelations of her father and his involvement in people's lives unfolds through the series. Ryo inherited her father's ability to throw a fast, accurate baseball. She is then discovered by Ms. Himaro, the president of Kisaragi High where she hopes to put together a girl's baseball team, and Hiroki who is a star male high school player. The team's rather slovenly, apparently disorganized, drunken coach Kido reveals his hidden depths as hegets Ryo to use her enthusiasm to lure in other girls from around Japan and gain scholarship to Kisaragi. The second episode has Kido trying to land a wayward athelete whose home is being shattered by divorce. The fourth episode concerns Ryo's unexpected solo aventure to a seaside town where a girl with extraordinary batting abilities is hiding her skills so she can stay with her enfeebled father.All around, the stories are fun and enthralling once the series gets underway. The video is very good, the audio is fine, and the disk extras are nice additions. The only negative to me is the style of layout and animation- it is the usual flat technique prevelant in the less skilled productions. However, the developing stories, unique characters and complex back story make up for anything the series is lacking. Sweet, aggressive, thoughtful.....'Princess Nine' is a very enjoyable series!"
This is better than "A League of Their Own"
David A. Brown | Sonoma, CA United States | 11/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This one is a keeper, one of those anime DVD's that you can pull out and show to people who claim that anime is nothing more than violence and pornography. There is no "fan service" or anything else to offend.Princess Nine is the story of Ryo Hayakawa, a 15-year old junior high student who wanted nothing more than to skip high school and stay home to help her single mother run an Udon bar (High school is not mandatory in Japan).There's just one thing. Ryo's father, who died while she was five years old, taught her how to pitch well. Really well. Well enough to pitch for the neighborhood league team and to strike out semi-professional baseball players. Ryo is handpicked as the core player of a girl's high school baseball team formed with the goal of reaching Japan's national high school championship.It's hard to describe how complex this story is. Ryo plays baseball in part to maintain a connection with her deceased father. Keiko Himuro, the chairperson of the board of directors of Kisaragi High fights for the right for a girl's team to compete against the boys. Her daughter, tennis star Izumi Himuro, fights for the love and attention of her too-distant mother. Shinsaku Kido, the team's coach, is a drunkard who, I think, will try to redeem himself by coaching this team to victory. There are two potential love interests for Ryo: Her quiet and sort of geeky childhood friend and Hiroki Takasugi, the rising star of the Kisargi boy's high school baseball team. And this is only after five episodes.Who should see this? Well, everyone, I think, but especially people who like either baseball or inspirational stories about young women. There's a certain energy to Princess Nine that makes me believe that it's going to be a classic of enduring value."
The pitcher with a golden left arm...
Strategos | In Space above Planet Earth | 05/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Princess Nine transcends the sporst genre to become a true classic of anime. With deep characters, complex plot, solid animation, an inspired orchestral musical score, and EXCELLENT voice acting (including the superb English dub), this is one anime that every serious anime drama fan should definitely not miss. There's much more to this one than just baseball. In the first five episodes found on this disc (how's that for value?), the main characters who hold the show together are introduced.
The character of Ryo Hayakawa is first shown in the first episode in a moment straight reminiscent of The Natural (which is what inspired the creators of this show in the first place). The orchestral music swells, she winds up a pitch... and we just know that she's going to be the driving force of this show. And indeed she is.
Very quickly Ryo finds herself with a scholarship to a prestigious high school where the lady chairperson is forming a baseball team (just to see her Ryo achieve greatness like her now-dead father). From there she quickly earns the romantic interest of a hot-shot up-and-coming high school baseball star, and the girl who thought that SHE was going to be his girlfried. I knew I was going to love this show the moment Ryo and her rival Izumi first met, with dramatic music kicking-in and everything turning into a stylized painting (just as the episode ended). That brings to mind something that I really love about this show. Also every episode ends on a cliff-hanger. Often in this show an episode will end just as a challenge is declared, the tide is about to turn, or things are looking particularly bad (and dramatic!). It really keeps you glued to the TV set, as you're just dying to know what is going to happen next.
Really, the best parts of this first disc are the developing of Ryo's character, her rivalry with Izumi, and the growing romance between her and the baseball player who keeps calling her Tofu. The rest of the episodes just cover the recruiting of additional players (and this trend continues in the next disc until all the positions are filled).
If you get a kick out of this disc, just wait till the next one, where Ryo and Izumi have a showdown. Get this one now if you love sports anime!"