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Princess Nine
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 11/19/2002

Ryo Hayakawa has loved baseball ever since she was little. Not only that, she seems to have inherited her father's superior pitching skills as well. A great opportunity is presented to Ryo when Keiko Himuro, chairperson of the posh Kisaragi Girls High School, approaches Ryo with a scholarship offer in exchange for becoming a member of the would-be Kisaragi Girls High baseball team. It's like a dream come true, but it's up to Ryo and the other team members to make the dream a reality.
"Baseball? This anime is about baseball? Thanks but no thanks, I'm really not into baseball,". It's such a pity you know, I always come across this and other similar remarks whenever someone recommends Princess Nine both online and offline. People would pass up this title because it's about baseball. Well I got news for everybody, I don't like sports in the least, much less watching sporting events... but I sure couldn't get enough of Princess Nine. What "Initial D" did to the farthest thing from a car buff (ahem, that would be me), Princess Nine did to the farthest thing from a sports fan (yup, me again).
As I've mentioned in the synopsis, Princess Nine is a 26-episode TV series about Ryo Hayakawa, an ordinary student with an extraordinary talent for baseball. Ryo's life changes when she accepts a scholarship grant from the prestigious Kisaragi Girls High, only to discover that only she and a couple of other girls have agreed to join the baseball team in-the-making so far. Thus Ryo takes on the task of helping to recruit more members and establishing the team while Kisaragi High chairperson Keiko Himuro fights for equal playing rights... since only boys' teams are allowed to officially compete in baseball tournaments. Admittedly, I wasn't too impressed by the first couple episodes but as I continued to watch, I found that I couldn't stop. Princess Nine was just too involving, exciting, and perfectly paced. I actually looked forward to watching every game the Kisaragi girls would play.
Aside from baseball, Princess Nine also tackles the usual stuff that teenagers face -- love, peer pressure, family problems... every girl in the team has her own unique background, personality, and issues to contend with. As for Ryo, her once simple and peaceful existence is turned upside down when she meets the most popular boy in Kisaragi Boys High, Hiroki Takasugi (played by no less than seiyuu Takehito Koyasu, also Hotohori in "Fushigi Yuugi"). Hiroki also happens to be considered as the most promising baseball player in the school circuit. Takasugi pursues Ryo relentlessly, but in fact Ryo's team mate and rival Izumi Himuro (yes, she is the school chairperson's daughter) is in love with Hiroki as well. Izumi and Hiroki grew up together, and Izumi has loved Hiroki ever since. Needless to say, Ryo, Hiroki, and Izumi's triangle is one of the main subplots of Princess Nine.
The art and animation are pretty simple in style, but serve their purposes quite well. Character designs are rather cute and distinctive. You never feel like all the girls came from the same drawing board. The music is so-so, with okay songs that aren't really anything special. I found the background music they'd play whenever Ryo would make a pitch particularly cheesy, but it's not that big a deal either.
Princess Nine is one of the best series I've watched. There's exciting sports action, drama, humor, lovable characters... just about everything that would make a great anime. It's just too bad that most people aren't willing to give it a chance. Here's hoping for another season, since the ending does leave room for more... and I do want more.
The first DVD contains six eps, and the rest of the volumes hold five eps each.

Princess Nine
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Review Title:
Princess Nine
Alternative Titles:
Kisaragi Joshikou Yakyuubu
650 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Older Children
Drama, Romance, Sports
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