Sports! Drama! Girls! Drama! Baseball! Boys! Drama! Repetitive theme music! Laughter! Tears! DRAMA!
Sports anime is one of my favorite genres, perhaps because it’s structurally similar to battle anime but a bit more…accessible/relatable to the average person. I’ve often read that sports anime (and manga) isn’t popular here in the US, which I don’t understand since I think we’re a country that loves sports. Or maybe we’re a country that just needs to watch more sports anime?
Princess Nine is essentially about a group of nine girls brought together to form a baseball team (not softball–baseball) with the ultimate goal of making it to Koshien. The story revolves around Ryo Hayakawa, the pitcher, and her relationships with a) her dead father; b) her rival Izumi; c) ace batter and love interest Takasugi; and d) her own tumultuous, dramatic emotions. I chose to watch the dub, as it reminded me of my anime glory days back when ADV was still around and Chris Patton and Vic Mignogna were cast together in seemingly everything. The scene with these two yelling at each other might be my favorite in the whole series.
Watching Princess Nine made me realize something: although I watch a considerable amount of sports anime, this was the first time I can recall watching sports anime centered around girls. As a result, Princess Nine had a different flavor. Much of the plot revolved around Ryo’s potential romance with Takasugi whereas in other, male-centric sports anime, the love interest is very minor, if there is one at all. But it did the trick-I couldn’t look away during the last disc; I had to know: will the girls make it to Koshien? Will Ryo and Takasugi get together? Will Izumi and Ryo ever evolve from rivals to friends? Will the coach ever sober up? Is there any chance we could get a Princess Nine x Ace of the Diamond crossover OVA? WILL THE KISARAGI GIRLS MAKE IT TO KOSHIEN?!
Watch Princess Nine. Watch it for the emotional rollercoaster that is sports. Watch it for Izumi, who I believe is actually the best character. Watch it for all the great sports anime tropes. Watch it for female rivalries and manly arguments. Watch it because nine random girls trying to make it to Koshien need all the help they can get.
I think I’m actually going to watch it again.