Well, what do you know – in the end, Moshidora was an anime after all, not a lecture series.
First of all, it was a safety bunt – Kawashima was bunting for a base hit. That was a nice way of dodging around the whole strategy/integrity issue, I guess. Given the broad strokes this series has used since the beginning, it was no surprise that the drama in the finale was as subtle as a sledgehammer. We had pretty much everything – dewy-eyed flashbacks, Yuki speaking from the other side, two-out bottom-of-the-ninth comebacks, insert songs, Minami donning the sun hat… It was nothing if not heavy-handed, but effective in its way.
I was happy for little Yunosuke to win the game in the end – courtesy of Yuki’s words of wisdom, of course. Turns out that the ultimate spoiler was in the very tag line for the series – “This is the story of a high school baseball manageress who leads her team to Koshien”. Not that I ever thought they’d lose but there were all those on-field tears in the ED – they ended up being tears of joy. It was all pretty predictable and cashed in pretty much every cliche chip in the bank, but ultimately this proved to be an interesting series. It sounded like one of the strangest ideas for an anime ever, and it turned out to be unique.
What of Drucker, you may ask? Well, he got a few seconds there at the end of the finale – and a shout-out from Nikai at his Koshien interview. But as I sort of suspected all along, in order for this to actually be an anime, it couldn’t really be about Drucker in the end. He was a part of the setup, certainly, but once the hook has established itself the final arc turned in a surprisingly conventional direction. I’m not complaining – Drucker doesn’t make for great drama, and dying girls and ninth-inning comebacks do.
Production I.G. has certainly made some odd choices of late. I respect that, but I’m just ready for a classic I.G. series – a big, sprawling, lavish and well-told model for the rest of the industry to aspire to. Low-key shoujo romances and oddball curiosities are fine, but I want to see the I.G. of 2007 – the studio of stunning production values and big ideas. Maybe the new “Blood” project will fit the bill, though the Clamp “noodles” will take some getting used to in that setting…