It feels bad to so strongly dislike both this episode and this series as a whole because it could just… lean into being an over-the-top story about SFF baseball and give us all the drama in the world. Instead, it’s a kind of tepid take on a game where the rules are there’s very few rules. As a result, Tribe Nine is… unfun: stale, mediocre, and mild. That said, I did laugh when a character died, which… feels indicative of where my head’s at.
I cannot, for the life of me, explain why it is that this show keeps me tangled in its web. I think a lot of Tribe Nine’s ongoing appeal for me is because I genuinely want it to pull some sort of Akudama Drive-level twist in its finale. Or at the very least evoke Danganronpa V3, which it’s trying very hard to be without any of the philosophical posturing that made that game such a fabulous sendoff.
Ultimately, the experience of watching Tribe Nine is one of intense whiplash. Some episodes, the hype is real, but there are also times when I have to bride myself with snacks to focus on the screen. Episodes 6 and 7 are a mix: the action has this certain flow state that’s really fun to sink into once it’s gets going, but when it slows down—or when we’re spending time with the cast, really—all you’re left with are outlandish character costumes and a pretty baller soundtrack. And thank the baseball gods for the music, because at times it’s all that’s keeping me here.
Tribe Nine is still a perfectly fine way to spend thirty of your finite minutes on Earth; in fact, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. But you’re also guaranteed to get whiplash as the show carries you to high heights, only to plunge you into the depths of mediocrity, all in the same episode. Heck, sometimes in a series of five minutes, which is a feat if there ever was one.
Subtle isn’t in Tribe Nine’s worldbuilding, nor its general vocabulary. This show only knows how to show its hand, and while I respect that, it makes episode 4 thudding and honestly, kind of boring. By mid-episode, it’s time for more murderball, more XB antics and, well, it’s more of the same with biker gang Adachi Tribe (they ride the bikes while playing, btw, for extra coolness) I have no attachment to.
At the end of the day, Tribe Nine is here to have fun: it’s a show wholly focused on a dark, comedic extreme taken to the nth degree, but it’s also a show about genuinely having fun for real, and taking the act of fun and play seriously. The comedy is entirely subjective, though it’s just the thing to make me guffaw multiple times an episode. Come for the XB, stay for the XB, but leave your expectations at the door: this is a show best enjoyed when you come along for the wild ride and let yourself get swept up in the nonsensical plot.
If you’ve ever asked the question, “How do I make baseball more dangerous, more exciting, and also, a contact sport?” then Tribe Nine might just be the over-the-top, absolutely goofy series for you.Tribe Nine – Episode 1 — Anime Feminist
While I’m not a main writer on this article, I did chime in with my Favorite Song of 2021, which was an easy choice since Winter 2021. Here’s a taste, though I hope you’ll read the rest of the article:
“Minikui Ikimono”, or “Ugly Creatures” is hands down one of the best OPs of the year, and that’s not just because it’s performed by CHICO with Honeyworks, though they definitely brought the fire to this track. No, what makes this a 2021 banger are the lyrics, as well as the striking animation, which offer peeks into Sorawo and Toriko’s antics in our reality and the unreality of the Otherside.
While I’m not a main writer on this article, I did chime in with my Favorite Character of 2021. Here’s a teaser:
Super Cub’s lead Koguma has had the strongest staying power for me as one of the slice of life genre’s best female leads. Her backstory is simple: she’s a girl characterized by a life absent of friends, family, and very little in the way of joy. It’s the perfect set-up for dynamic growth, which is what happens to Koguma over the course of the series…