I seem to be somewhat lonely in the aniblogosphere in that I’ve been enjoying Ace of Diamond a lot so far (or really, in that I’m even watching it at all). It’s a rock-solid old-fashioned shounen sports series; it knows exactly what it’s doing and it does it very well. Anyway, in case there’s anyone else out there who actually watches the show, Guardian Enzo’s been hitting it out of the park (har har) with his episodic posts on the series. This post was originally going to be a comment on one of his episodics, but I decided to expand it a bit into its own quick post.
In his post on episode 6, Enzo mentions, “I like the fact that while Sawamura is clearly the star here, this story remains very much about the team – and that’s been set up as a very significant difference between he and his rival, Furuya.”
I’ve been digging the focus on the team as well. One detail that I really appreciated in this episode was the way that Sawamura’s unpredictable pitching was used to build that focus and to set him up directly as a team-centric player. In contrast to Furuya’s single overpowering pitch (reflecting his view of the catcher as a hindrance rather than a teammate), Sawamura’s pitches complement his more outwardly visible vocal encouragement in relying on and inspiring the team to take on the upperclassmen. Rather than strike out batter after batter, the surprise curve results in a series of easy flies that go right into his teammates’ gloves – his pitching style ultimately empowers the team as opposed to showing them up. While Sawamura is on the mound, he isn’t the lone star player, he makes everyone else on the field into a potential star player.
Now I know nothing about the physics of baseball or what have you and I don’t have a clue if that’s actually what this type of late-curving pitch is meant to accomplish, but the way it’s used in the episode to funnel easy plays to his teammates and boost their confidence does well at setting Sawamura up as the team player he claims so loudly to be.