I’ll be writing a series of short posts on Battery’s anime adaptation as it airs this season. Mostly on the adaptational differences and how different it will be. Don’t expect proper writing from me when I write these posts because I don’t feel like “editing” — they are just notes. So you won’t see me write my thoughts on Battery much, just facts over the adaptation differences (do feel free to ask me on the comment section!). I’m going to try taking out as many spoilers as possible, but I recommend reading this after you watch the anime episode in question of course.
But first, a quick overview of the novels: the original Battery novel series is actually written for kids. But it is a surprisingly deep work in terms of character interactions and baseball is merely used as a plot device to make things moving, especially in the first two volumes. It’s also one of those rare Japanese novels that has a strong sense of third person narration; it switches to different perspectives and lingers for the characters’ thoughts. A lot of introspection takes place throughout the novels and they’re primarily the reason why the novels are long. This makes it a very very slow but immersive read once you’re into it.
The first volume is somewhat rough in this regard however. In the afterword, the writer actually wrote this novel out of a “political” reason. After watching so many news pieces about terrorism and school shootings by teenagers, she has decided to write a novel to parents, telling them that they shouldn’t be helicopter parents who fear that their children will one day be evil. Let them grow freely instead. Battery will show that these characters will — must change because they are growing up. Having parents guide them will stop them from growing up.
You see this philosophy throughout the series, especially when the novel goes exploring family structures and dynamics. For example, the Dad character actually got demoted from his job. He used to work in some major city (I believe Tokyo, been a while since I read it), but he and the mother character have been worried about Seiha’s health. So his work quality has dropped. The company decided to move the family back to his hometown.
Similarly, the mom and the grandpa have this love-hate relationship that is extended to baseball. The mom doesn’t like how her father is so into baseball that she feels that Takumi might have been infected by his genes.
Takumi and Seiha also realize how much they don’t know their parents once they’re back in the hometown. They have not expected that their mom who spoke in Tokyo-ben forever could easily go into the dialect whenever she speaks to her friend, Gou’s mother.
There’s a lot more about the families that I cannot write in full detail. Most of them deal with the differences between Takumi’s and Gou’s families. Quite a lot of neat stuff like that will sadly need to be cut out because the anime seems very very VERY focused on the relationship between Takumi and Gou.
That’s something I honestly don’t mind because adaptations have to sacrifice detail and focus on the most important parts.
There are some weird adaptational changes. Seiha doesn’t immediately speak in the dialect — and it doesn’t make sense anyway since everyone in the family speaks in Tokyo-ben except him and his grandpa who has never lived with them until the show/novels begin. But I guess he’s cute so it’s a-ok.
Some minor changes are real interesting. When Takumi asks Grandpa about the curveball, there is a flashback in the novel. I have no idea if this flashback is moved or cut, but I’ll just say that there is a good reason why he wants to do this. Grandpa lectures him about why he can’t do a curveball yet. If he can’t throw a good fastball in proper form, throwing a curveball badly will destroy his shoulders.
Takumi then decides to jog, but there’s a few lines cut out in the anime. Grandpa says something like “Be careful, kid. This is your first time out in the woods. Make sure to turn a right by the shrine.” Takumi gets lost, a bit frightened (foreshadowing his super duper angst and later how flawed he is as a character), and meets Gou and his friends out of nowhere. Gou teases him for being a scaredy-cat.
When Gou and Takumi meet up to play catch in the alley, in the novel some of his friends play too. I suppose the animation staff decided to make this a more private moment 😉
I don’t recall if the grandpa is supposed to be there, but there is another adult character who works for a shitty company. Maybe he’ll appear next episode but if he doesn’t, I’ll talk about his subplot.
There is a funny scene however that got cut — I guess for being too gay. When Seiha receives the baseball from Gou, Gou pats his head and says something like, “Man, Seiha is so cute. I’m jealous of you, Takumi.” And Takumi is like “Are you homo?” Some はぁはぁBL jokes like that got noticeably cut out, but I think that one sums up the cut out content the best.
There are still some gay moments though — like:
I wonder when and how the show will approach Seiho’s character. You do get a glimpse of it in the beginning of the novel, but it isn’t mentioned at all in the anime except Takumi telling him “you can’t play baseball because your health ain’t that good”…
Japan’s reaction to the anime episode seems favorable too, especially since they grew up with the work. Some people disliked Takumi when they were young, so they appreciated how he still comes off as this character you don’t know what to feel about in the anime. Everyone loves Seiha.
Overall, I think the first episode sets up the overaching story well. It has to cut and move content around, but I think it makes sense. People who are interested in the family subplots will rightfully be disappointed, but this is a cannot be helped case. For what it is, I think Battery is going to be a decent adaptation and a sleeper hit (considering how Amazon Prime is literally sleeping on its advertising for the show).
I’m guessing they covered near half of the first volume this episode. Wonderful art direction, music’s great, and Seiha’s cute. All is well.
Quick small note: The town featured in Battery (Nitta, Okayama) actually doesn’t exist; it is based on the author’s hometown, Mimisaka. The J-drama adaptation is filmed there and a website is dedicated to grabbing all the location shoots. Expect to see beautiful backgrounds inspired by this comfy small town.
The ending theme is Anderlust’s cover of a 1997 debut single by Matsu Takako. It’s a popular song and has been covered by artists like ClariS. The lyrics are cool if you consider the whole “fate” concept in Battery. It’s also a love song, so this is kinda gay…