Anime Review: Baby Steps

anime-baby-stepsLengthy anime about tennis. Great anime, though I will admit it can be very slow at times. There are two reasons the slowness didn’t bother me. One, I played a lot of soccer as a kid so I could recognize some of the similarities to what I went through (in terms of repetitive practice and such). The other is that I tend to be an analytical person and the main character was also very analytical as to how he went about making himself better.

So basically the show is about tennis. There is some mild romance development, but it is for sure a minor part of the story. The main story is about Maruo learning to play tennis. He has good eyes, good instincts and can analyze and memorize play styles and learn to defeat them – though he has a long way to go (otherwise there would be no story to tell). Most of the story deals with him learning about tennis and also teaching the viewer about tennis as well. Sometimes it is just small informational details and other times it’s a big chunk of how tennis works.

Now as to why I call it slow at times. It can be summed up with this statement: I think at one point it took 3 episodes to cover about 45 minutes of “real-time” for a single tennis match. Nearly all three episodes covered the match itself. How they played, the strategies they used and how Maruo worked to try and overcome the difference in skill. As I said, this never really bothered me because it was interesting. But it was interesting because I like this kind of stuff. I like knowing the why behind something.

This was also one of those anime’s that I almost didn’t even give a chance. I don’t know what girls normally wear under their tennis skirts but lets face it, in anime it’s almost always panties. And when tennis shows up in an anime it’s almost always an excuse to flash them. I was surprised. Even if panties is all they had under their skirts (for the girls anyway, lets not talk about if the guys were wearing panties since they weren’t wearing skirts either), they never got flashed. Meaning, they didn’t use skirts flipping up as an enticement for people to keep watching the show.

I think one episode in season 1 had an extremely brief scene of the guy getting into the tub after a long day of practice. Once he was in you couldn’t see anything and him getting in the tub lasted for maybe maybe 1/4 second, if that long. You also couldn’t see anything there either. I actually rewound and watched that scene a few times to see if I could see anything to report on and I just couldn’t. It’s a side shot so you really see nothing except his hip for about 3 or 4 frames before he is in the water and you just see his shoulders and head. Beyond that, I can’t recall anything inappropriate in this show. (Note: I have only watched Season 1, though I don’t expect Season 2 to be suddenly full of fan service.)

Summary: Very clean show about a boy’s attempt to become a pro tennis player. Recommended if you enjoy sports.
Seasons: 2 (I have only watched season 1 so far)
Season length: 25 episodes
Episode length: 23 minutes
Content: Clean (visually as well as language)
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

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