A new year implies “new beginnings.” Yet, rather than discussing the “new,” we will be discussing the “revival.” “Revival” has multiple definitions, but the meaning we will be focusing on is the improvement, development, or refinement of something. Our posts will be about characters that undergo a positive or negative transformation and what we can learn from them.
Also, I just HAVE to say this because I find it hilarious, but last year for our first tour I wrote up a post about Erased and omg, Satoru had that power called Revival…Hehehe
But before I begin my actual post, new year means possible new followers who have no idea what the heck OWLS even means. Now then, gather round my fellow bloggers for I shall now briefly talk about this amazing group that started one year ago. OWLS is a blogging group where we do blog tours based on monthly themes in order to promote awareness and spread love.
OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect and we believe that all individuals – regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability – are human, should be respected as such, and deserve love. While we initially started with the idea of doing anime and related content only, through the months we’ve expanded into pop culture in general so when following our tours you’ll find us talking about anime, manga, BL titles, yuri, TV shows, movies, personal accounts, adaptations, and more!!
If you’re curious about our previous tours, I do have a list of ALL our stops on my blog or you can stop by over at the official OWLS site! And if you want to join, just pop over and tell us about yourself 😀
So far I’ve had a blast learning about new things every month and just getting to know my fellow OWLS members through their blog posts (and online)
Ooof! Now that we’ve settled that, I will be talking about a recent anime I watched and one that I am fully immersed in via the manga. Honestly, there were so many to choose from but I thought it would be nice to pick something recent so I know what I’m talking about (lol)
So to anyone who hasn’t watched or read Big Windup…Big Windup (aka Oofuri) is a baseball anime about a boy named Mihashi who loves to play baseball (as the pitcher) but who has been bullied so much that he’s just a bundle of nervous insecurities. So much so that he ends up going to a high school far from his old teammates and then finds it hard to truly integrate himself into his new team
And I guess I want to focus on Mihashi so if you haven’t watched or read Oofuri, there will be spoilers!
When the anime starts off, we immediately learn a couple things about Mihashi. One is that he’s not confident about his pitching and we get to see why. While in middle school, during one of the games, his team loses faith in him and refuse to play. His catcher doesn’t give him signs and those defending are just standing around, returning the ball to him slowly and aggressively. His teammates made him believe that he was useless and when he’s talking with his future baseball team, he tells them “loud” and clear that he sucks and that he was only the ace of the team because his grandfather was the owner of the school
But as we come to learn, this isn’t exactly the case. On his own, Mihashi did suck (I mean, who wouldn’t suck at a team game when playing by themselves), but once he was in Nishiura and his teammates didn’t expect anything from him (other than for him to play his best), things started to look up.
Abe was the first to make Mihashi believe that he could be their Ace. When Mihashi confesses that he can’t play well, Abe has Mihashi pitch a couple times to him and makes note that he has very good control, he knows quite a few moving balls, and that, while his speed is rather slow, a mix of good game calling, and Mihashi’s different pitches (and control) could be a good weapon for games. Of course, as we see, Abe isn’t so kind. While his words helped pick up Mihashi, they also brought him down in other ways
One way is that Mihashi won’t say no to Abe’s pitching calls. It seems to do the team well initially, since they’re fairly new in the tournament, but once they start playing and other teams start to analyze them, this habit becomes a burden. We see the beginning of this when Nishiura plays against Mihoshi. While at bat, Oda closes his eyes so that he doesn’t have to deal with the afterimage of Mihashi’s first pitch and then cleanly hits the second pitch. When this was happening, Mihashi wanted to shake off Abe’s calling, knowing something was up (knowing Oda was going to hit his pitch!) but decided not to because he didn’t want to anger Abe. Afterall, when they first met and became a battery, Abe made it very clear he hated pitchers who shook off his signs
During this match things end up working well for Nishiura, since they were playing with Mihoshi, a not so strong team, but once they start playing in the tournament, it becomes a more apparent weakness. In fact, during the game with Bijō High, Abe starts to realize that this constant agreement to do as he says is something other teams are using to their advantage because he’s predictable. But if both were to work together, things could become more exciting. After all, they both see the game from different perspectives and can use that when calling pitches (ie. Abe didn’t see Oda close his eyes but Mihashi clearly saw it)
Even though Abe limits Mihashi’s involvement in their battery, he was the first to help Mihashi in his road to confidence by acknowledging him as a pitcher. Since a battery is supposed to be close and trust one another, I feel like gaining Abe’s approval (though how genuine it was is debatable) was a big step for Mihashi, since his previous catcher pretty much detested him
But Abe alone can’t lift Mihashi’s confidence. Nishiura as a whole did it. I feel like two things Mihashi craves in baseball is playing with others as a team and results, and Nishiura gave him both of these things. When Nishiura played against Mihoshi, they didn’t know what was at stake, that Mihashi would be playing against the team that (pretty much) tossed him aside and dubbed him useless, but they had faith in him and wanted him as their Ace. An Ace who wasn’t placed on the mound through favoritism but through skill. Everyone saw results then and in their following big match against Tosei
Each little word of encouragement, praise, and friendship brought Mihashi more confidence. At the start he would hardly speak out at games, even to call out how many outs they had, but as he continued with Nishiura he began to speak out more. Granted, it might not seem like a big development, but as someone who is extremely shy, even calling out One Out in a louder voice than usual takes some effort
At the beginning it was common to see Mihashi start crying or demeaning himself (and his skill). By the end of season 2 we see this start to change. Mihashi is starting to see that he has skill, acknowledges that there are people better than him without putting himself down, and isn’t afraid to work harder to compete with them. He even gets reckless in his behavior but who doesn’t do that when it comes to something you love (ie. that time he crouched close to the strike zone or his insistence to not be switched out even though he was really jumpy, lol, I thought he had a fever then, or that one slide to first that sent him bouncing)
We also get a glimpse of this at the end of season 2, but when Abe gets injured and needs to be swapped out, Mihashi finally shakes his head. Tajima is the catcher at the time and Mihashi and Tajima are BROS, so instead of having this impending doom looming over Mihashi, he instead (as he later tells Abe) has a conversation with Tajima about what would be the best course of action. Mihashi found that he liked that interaction between himself and the catcher, that Tajima trusted him enough to hear him out and abide to his pitch calling. He confesses that he wants Abe and him to have that sort of trust and communication. And as we see in the manga, it’s a Work in Progress. One, because (I feel) Abe has little faith in Mihashi and because Mihashi doesn’t want Abe to hate him
There was this scene I recently read where Nishiura is watching Musashino (Haruna’s team) play against ARC. At this point Momoe has made it her mission to keep Abe and Mihashi together as much as possible so during this game they have to sit together and observe. Like usual, Abe is doing the talking but Mihashi gets up the courage to start giving his opinions and talking about the game. I may have gotten emotional at this part and yeah, I think Abe was surprised about this as well
And even though Mihashi has become more outspoken and more confident, there’s still a trace of his timid self in there. Even while telling himself he needs to try harder and consult with Abe, as the game continues and he sees Abe become agitated, he loses his nerve, thinking he’s the one Abe is mad at. While he can speak up a bit more, there are moments where he stutters and can hardly get the words out properly (though at this point his teammates are getting more versed in Mihashi gibberish)
We never really get to see Mihashi before his old team hurt him, but there are hints from his cousin and even from his memories with Hamada that make me believe he was more carefree and outspoken before, so in a sense this is a revival for Mihashi. But as we saw from the start, this revival wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his team. It was with Nishiura’s help that he was able to go back with his old team and show them he wasn’t useless. He even made up with them and re-became friends with Kano (now baseball rival). And it was with Nishiura that he decided to stay and play baseball with (and then played successfully because everyone is loveable and supportive)
He still has a long way to go but he’s not backing down from challenges and yes he’s allowed to cower from Abe every now and then (because ok, RL Abe would be scary). And while some of those challenges need to be done by himself, Nishiura has given him that strength to do so
Even though I only just watched this, Mihashi has really inspired me in a way. No I don’t play sports and no I don’t really have something I devote my life to (aside maybe my 2D obsession) but as a character I felt like I’m a lot like Mihashi. I’ve always found it hard to speak with others and maybe I speak Mihashi stutter when I meet new people. For a long time I felt like I was in that post-bullying phase Mihashi was in and it’s only until recently that I think I found my Nishiura. Surprisingly, at my current job where they decided to take a chance with me
What do I mean by this? Well, some of you might know this already but I work at a Dunkin near my house. A Dunkin I’ve been working at for maybe five years, on and off. I was hired on a whim I think. I’d taken my brother to apply and the manager at the time randomly asked if I could work there (since my brother was still in HS). I ended up agreeing and Dunkin became my second job at the time and later my full-time job. I was there for a little over a year and one day my boss (who was a shift leader when I was originally hired) was saying I couldn’t be Shift Leader because of my weak personality, I wouldn’t be able to tell people what to do, which is what she needed
At the time I believed it. I mean, I was really shy but as time passed I began to think, could I do it? I never knew because the chance was never presented. If I had been more outspoken, maybe she might have considered me
Fast forward five years and my mentality is that I won’t ever get a position like that. I mean, I don’t have the personality to be anyone’s boss. That’s what that moment made me believe, but at my current job they pushed me. They told me that yes, I lacked an important quality to be in a leadership position but it wasn’t impossible. They gave me tips on what I could improve, gave me feedback, and I followed it as much as I could. Next thing I know, I’m being offered a leadership position. But just like Mihashi and Abe, I didn’t just need the approval of my bosses. Also being liked, being complimented on my work ethics by my coworkers, and getting praise from random guests made me feel proud
No it’s not the best job out there and I still struggle financially, but it’s honestly been one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve had to date
I know I have much more growing to do and like Mihashi, I want to take initiative. I know I’m still going to struggle with things but even now I’ve seen an improvement. Where before I’d wait for others to speak to me first, I now introduce myself first. I try to make small talk with them and that’s resulted in some good stuff I think. And like Mihashi, sometimes I still cower in certain circumstances but one step at a time, right?
Hehe, thanks for stopping by at my blog for this Revival Post! I had some fun writing it because OOFURI! I’m still reading the manga and it’s still ongoing so I’m sure I’ve missed much of Mihashi’s development but honestly, it’s been a blast getting to see him grow. I obviously want more anime so that we can see what the manga hasn’t shown us, but I am patient