First Impressions – Nana Maru San Batsu

I didn’t have a lot of sleeper picks going into this season, but Nana Maru San Batsu (sometimes written as “7O3X”) was definitely one of them.  Having skimmed the manga and found it charming in a straightforward and unpretentious way, I figured that the anime had a chance to be pretty solid if the adaptation didn’t mess it up.  And given that the staff is experienced and solid and TMS has a deft hand with this sort of material, it didn’t seem too likely they would.

Well, they didn’t.  This was a solid premiere that was solidly in line with the manga in terms of appeal.  There’s not a whole lot that’s truly original going on with Nana Maru San Batsu – we’ve seen the general template of the unassuming first-year entering high school and finding their passion through a club in many a sports anime.  That means that success or failure comes down to execution, and we get a lot of energy and enthusiasm here.  I like Horie Shun as protagonist Koshiyama Shiki – he was the best performer in the 12-Sai cast, and he’s one of the more convincing seiyuu at portraying younger teens believably.

I also like the notion of “Quiz Bowl” as the sport in question for a sports series – it hasn’t really been done in an anime that was remotely trying for realism, and for those of us that (like Shiki) loved the library growing up, it’s a topic very close to our hearts.  Like any club-themed series there are going to be a variety of personalities involved – the gung-ho and demanding club president, the beautiful and slightly awkward girl who knows her way around the quiz circuit, the savant with insane hearing and reflexes (and a bunch more where that came from).

As a general rule I’ve never felt it was necessary to be knowledgeable about the sport or other hook (like Karuta or Kabuki) in a show like this in order to enjoy it.  That may or may not be true with 7O3X – I think a passion for esoterica would go a long way towards drawing one in.  There’s so much more to “fastest finger” quizzes than general knowledge – hearing and reflexes, sure, but also the strategy of how to figure out the question from what’s often a tiny fragment of information.  it seems as if the mangaka is pretty geeky about this topic, so I expect the anime to go pretty deep – all the more reason why I wonder how well Nana Maru San Batsu will connect with a broader audience.  We’ll see – for me at least, this looks to be pretty much in the sweet spot.

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6 comments

  1. O

    I’m not gonna lie, its kinda funny that the Quiz Bowl anime feels more like a sports anime than the soccer anime this season. It looks like a good watch though.

  2. u

    This almost flew completely under my radar, but looks like it has some potential to be for this season what the Kabuki show was for the last.

    I take it you weren’t bothered by the main girl’s voice, Enzo? It sounded very awkward to me, and not in the sense that the character was awkward, rather like the the seiyuu was either badly miscast or simply not very good. I’m not surprised she’s gotten only a handful of roles since her debut all the way back in 2010. I hope she can find a firmer footing as the series goes on, otherwise it’s going to be an unfortunate earsore.

  3. Kabukibu! is definitely the model for me in terms of expectations. We’ll see.

    As far as Kawashima Umika (Fukami) goes… Yeah, I did note that her performance is atypical. But I wonder if we’re not so used to overslick performances by the usual suspects that a “natural” one sounds “awkward”. I haven’t made up my mind about her performance yet, to be honest. It sounded refreshingly different, if nothing else.

  4. u

    Different for sure, not so sure about refreshing in this case. 🙂 Not particularly “natural” either when she sounds too obviously like she’s reading her lines. At first I thought she might be a total beginner, a “let’s cast an actual schoolgirl” type, which I do generally support and would be willing to give more leeway, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. At this point, not a plus for the show.

  5. D

    I wasn’t expecting much but I had a good time watching it. The voice part seemed fine to me, more interesting in a natural, toned-down sort of way, but I got the impression that she was either miscast or the facial animations don’t quite click. Nothing wrong with the acting itself, imo. Though from what little I know of the animation industry, they record voices over mostly finished frames, so if it doesn’t line up, it’s on her, I suppose…

  6. J

    I’ll be honest, this premiere drew me in in ways Kabukibu barely managed. A solid start all round.

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