I recently finished watching a tennis sports anime called ‘Baby Steps’. I’ve watched a few sports anime every now and then but I have to say this is the most realistic sports anime I’ve ever seen. It has the beginners approach because the main Character, Maruo Eichirou only starts playing tennis without any knowledge of tennis at all. So you dive into the anime without much knowledge of the sport and learn about it the same pace as Maruo.
Another thing that makes the anime realistic is the significance of training and practice. In this anime… THE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY PRACTICE!!! I mean of course other sports anime show the characters practice too but it is not as detailed and as important as Baby Steps. In this anime, they actually show us why certain way of practice is necessary for development and how long the practices should be done. Practices and training in this anime majorly affect the results of the matches that the main character plays.
Talking about matches, I I think this is the first anime where the characters don’t get sudden superpowers mid game. You see in other sports anime, the main character is usually losing in the beginning of a match. This is to create thrill and suspense to the viewers. But then somehow the main character always wins by revealing their ‘true potential’ or some crap like that. It always feels like they’re cheating. While I have to admit it is fun to watch, but I feel like the realism of sports is totally ignored in most sports anime. This anime, fills that gap. Maruo doesn’t win every single match he plays. The percentage of him winning in this anime is very close to only 50 percent of the time. This is to show how inexperienced the main character is and how much training is needed for one to become extremely good.
Another thing I really like about this anime is the realistic portrayal of talent. Often times, talents are portrayed as superpowers in anime. They show characters improve in a very short amount of time and call it ‘talent’. Most of the time, the characters improve IN MATCH and often beat their invincible opponents after improving in match. I can’t say that it’s not fun to watch but it’s just very unrealistic. Baby steps, however, offers us a very realistic take on talent. Maruo, the main character is very talented in terms of having extremely great eyesight that is able to capture and remember ball movements and player movements. He is also very diligent in his training, which is the major factor of him improving very quickly. Quickly here means more than two years of diligent practice. He doesn’t just win every match, it takes several loses for him to learn more and to improve his playstyle. That’s what I like about this anime, it’s very rewarding to see him win after seeing him practice very hard for a long period of time.
I also love the romance in the anime. I think this anime handled the romance element WAY better than most romance anime… We can see that both of them better each other especially in terms of playing tennis and having a clearer goal. They motivate each other to achieve more and to work harder in achieving their goals. Their goal, obviously is to play tennis at a professional level.
All in all, this is a really great sports anime. It might be the best sports anime I’ve seen at the moment. It appeals to beginners, shows us the technicality of the sports in detail, portrays talent in a very realistic manner and has a very well handled side romance. What more could I ask for?