After going into extra innings against Toushuu, Meisei’s tournament life ends in anticlimactic fashion. In Adachi’s world of baseball, luck giveth often, but taketh away at critical moments. Touma’s arm failing was bound to happen – Coach Goro predicted it from miles away – but the circumstance of it was a heartbreaker. Meisei was fortunate to have advanced so far in the tournament, relying largely on the talents of their stepbrother battery and preying upon opponent’s mistakes and injuries. It makes sense that they’d bow out at this stage, but we’re still left wanting more, both on the baseball diamond and off. Conventional wisdom says that anime series are just extravagant advertisements for their source materials, but those “to be continued” endings sting every time.
This will be a relatively short post, I think, as I’ve got to save my concluding thoughts for the overall series review. Unfortunately, it’s also going to be partially critical, as the last episode left me cold, and 23 was unremarkable. When a sports series enters tournament mode, you expect it to deliver on that front, especially if it comes at the expense of the more detailed character moments that came before. Mix pushed important members like Otomi, Ryou, and Haruka to the side during these two weeks, but didn’t create any big or exciting moments to justify their absence. It did, however, pack its finale full of flashbacks. Some were 26 years old, detailing the baseball-playing days of the main characters’ fathers, which added nothing of value. Others were a bit more recent, showing Touma’s acquisition of baseball knowledge through his father’s love of the game – this sequence was nice, but placing it just minutes before the show’s final signoff was poor timing. Mix is a show that’s kept one eye on the past for much of its run, but a series finale isn’t the place to indulge that habit.
In terms of present day character building, these episodes managed a bit of it. Those flashbacks to a young Touma watching baseball with his dad conclude with a haunting moment where his mom’s picture disappears from its frame. As a fuzzy TV screen illuminates his back and reveals a black expanse, the show creates a portrait of isolation. Touma undoubtedly feels like he’s let down his team and his family (instead of the TV showing Meisei’s current or past glory, it emits only static noise), but there’s an emptiness linked to the death of his mother, as well. I think the message here is that baseball can’t fill the void created by her absence. Mix has hinted at Otomi’s sense of loss surrounding her father’s passing, and now we’ve received the same feeling from the other side of the family.
We also got some interesting dialogue between Arisa and Tomohito in the stands during episode 23. Their friendship (or whatever it is they share) has been mostly relegated to the background, but some clarity from Arisa’s end helps humanize her at the last minute. Her tale of siblinghood with a famous ball player might explain her attraction to Tomohito’s little brother, actually, as Ryou is in the same position. Having a baseball novice in the stands also helped to break up the nonstop fawning over Mita and Touma’s pitcher’s duel, as she bailed once the game hit extra innings. Could this be the stealthiest ever condemnation of Japanese youth baseball’s tendency to overwork its pitchers? The answer is almost certainly “no,” but it’s interesting to think about!
I think that’ll do it for this post. There’s more I could mention – Mita’s evolution into a good guy antagonist, the ED’s foreshadowing of Meisei High’s second run in the East Tokyo tournament – but maybe it’ll find its way into the series review. That ought to be dropping in a day or two, after I figure out how to upload a particular scene to Sakugabooru as evidence that the show looked good at least once. I’ll catch you then, if you’re so inclined.
The post Mix – 23-24 [It’s Only a Matter of Time/Don’t You Think They’re Alike?] appeared first on Star Crossed Anime Blog.