[Review copy provided by distributor.]
For many fans, it wouldn’t be summer without the crack of the bat and leisurely afternoons at the ballpark. What does it take for players to reach the sacred diamond? To have a chance not only to compete, but to succeed?
Being a gifted athlete, alone, is no guarantee of glory. Players must navigate challenges off the field, as well as on the field. The first volume of the Princess Nine television series, appropriately titled First Inning, acknowledges and tackles these challenges… with a twist.
You see, the team in question is no ordinary ballclub. It is a girls’ baseball team. They are playing baseball — not softball — baseball. And unlike 20th-century, “League of Their Own-era” teams, they intend to compete on equal footing with the guys.
As junior high draws to a close, fifteen-year-old Ryo Hayakawa comes to a crossroad. Instead of continuing her education and moving on to high school, she is planning to drop out and help her widowed mother run their family restaurant.
She is a good kid. A kind of average kid. But Ryo has a special talent that has made her the unofficial “secret weapon” of the local men’s recreational baseball team. This natural aptitude on the mound has also brought her to the attention of the Kisaragi School’s chairperson, Ms. Keiko Himuro.
Chairperson Himuro only has to see Ryo perform once, and she knows that she has found the pitcher around whom she can build the first girls’ baseball team, not only at her exclusive, private school — but in all of Japan. Her plans don’t stop there: She intends to take her team and its players to the national high school championship series, as true contenders, within three short years.
Her progressive ideas are met with vocal opposition from the sport’s historically male-only, governing body. She also faces complaints, closer to home, from her own board of directors. And then, there is the little matter of recruiting the players necessary to fill out the team’s roster.
Will the Kisaragi Girls’ team ever take the field? Is Ryo ready to bear the weight of Chairperson Himuro’s dream?
Appealing and memorable characters, internal and external conflict building around the team’s impending success or failure, and the beginnings of a romantic subplot make Princess Nine a sports drama for which even non-sports enthusiasts can root.
PRINCESS NINE © Kensei Date / Phoenix / NEP21.
English Language Version © 2001 A.D. Vision, Inc.