Taishou Yakyuu Musume didn’t have a large audience, but it certainly had some die-hard fans. The Taishou setting is not just for show–it provides an environment where Akiko and her friends are compelled to prove themselves to everyone.
But aside from the baseball, there is a cute little romance subplot that involves Koume and her fiancee, Saburo. I say cute, because they progress at baby steps, and the affection they show for each other is nothing short of charming. I’m not familiar with how the Japanese behaved in the Taishou era, but the anime does a good effort by actually showing things–the anarchic pronouns, the emphasis on protocol, and the overall shyness of youngsters toward the opposite sex (the lack of co-ed schools certainly helps at this front). I got the idea.
After a misunderstanding about a photo, Saburo finally learns about Koume’s side of the story. Saburo decides to keep support Koume in silent, and the two try to start holding hands–but it’s too embarrassing! So they use a handkerchief. I wonder if people really did this back then, but isn’t it sweet? And too-pure-pure!
There’s also the bet they make along the way. If Koume wins, Saburo will start calling her by her first name, as a proper betrothed should. If that doesn’t make you root for Koume to win, nothing will.
This was a refreshing scenario for me. Acts of love need not be grand or dramatic, and in 1920s Japan where etiquette is everything, such a gesture speaks profound volumes.
PS: Make sure you watch through the very end of the last episode, too!