I absolutely had to include this series this month for two reasons. The first being that I needed a post or two to add a breath of air between my challenge posts. However, the series is called Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine – Aka Cinderella Nine in August. I mean come on the timing is just too perfect for me to pass on okay?
Walking in with the basic expectations of a handful of troupes, I walked away from Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine with satisfaction. If there had been anything more, or anything else I probably would have considered the series a flop. This series has it’s moments, especially with attempting to add on to all-female sports teams in anime.
With that out of the way, we gotta talk about the okay and the weird before we get to a plot summary. The weird is that Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine is originally an idol game but not idol game semi-dating sim-esque game? The original game, you are former little league champion who has a bad injury and swears of baseball. You move to your grandma’s hometown where you meet Aihara Tsubasa, whose also a former little league champion who wants to start a baseball team at school.
The original material for the anime is a little… unique. Luckily, the studio didn’t make attempts at having the viewer insert themselves, or pause for dialogue the way other adaptations have done. Instead, they do away with the first person perspective of the game and re-focus on the characters within the anime, making Aihara Tsubasa the main focus. This is done in an okay-ish manner. Which means, I personally didn’t mind it but knowing the background it explains the weaker plot developments and overall weaker narrative.
So let’s get into a summary of the anime version shall we? Aihara Tsubasa is a first year student at Satogahama High, and former little league baseball champion. However, after being encouraged by her childhood friend Tomoe Kitakawa, is set on starting up a baseball club, and then team with ambitions of making new friends and participating in girl’s koushien in the summer. Starting a new group at school is a bit more then Tsubasa realizes with more then a few obsticles in the way. Will they ever get their Cinderella story started??
If you are already envisioning three main troupes of, starting a new club at school, cute girls doing somewhat cute things, and then koushien you’ve more or less got the main points of the series down. I’m not going to re-hash what the above means, since well it’s the main crutches of the story. Having the above troupes isn’t particularly a bad thing, as troupes used well are enjoyable. Admittedly, Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine fumbles the execution of these troupes, so nothing new or experimental is done. The development is readable and the individual characters are fairly one dimensional aside from an individual stand out moment or two for each. The series doesn’t fall apart, but it really doesn’t progress beyond the basic expectations of the troupes.
Reader’s have probably noticed that I’m approaching this series very luke-warm statements. This is very true, because rationally I know this series isn’t doing anything new or innovative. That series like the original “Princess Nine” and ‘Taishou Yakyuu Musume” did girls in sports, specifically baseball, way better.
This is a very big but, and a very honest but, BUT I enjoyed this series. It was an easy to watch, easy to enjoy series even if you have no background in baseball. Although background characters suffered a bit at times, it was fairly well animated. The character designs are cute. I did what I rarely do, and that’s pick a ‘best girl’ for the series. It was easy to enjoy the characters interact with each other.
I enjoyed the idea of girls coming together to do something that not even the boys were doing at their school. I felt their pride when they managed to clear a hurdle for their team’s sake, no matter how small. There were a lot of nostalgic moments for me watching the girl’s learn the basics of the sport, and improving little by little. Seeing that even in high school, being a newbie at a sport wasn’t so bad.
What was interesting was the conclusion, given that it was only twelve episodes long it really spent a lot of time setting up the team and the main rivals. Yes, the ending was more or less rushed with it being about what you would expect from about episode 5 forward. Yet, the series set itself up in a manner in which the main story concluded but, there was enough wiggle room for a sequel if desired. I doubt it would get a second season, but it is an interesting option.
When it comes down to it; I liked this series. It’s not a stand-out, or a favorite, or a revolutionary series for the genre but it’s solid. If you’re a fan of sports anime, or cute girls doing cute things, try your hand at the series. Maybe it’ll be a home run series for you!