Sometime in the future, the youth of New Tokyo (who are 95% male apparently) are running amok, forming up into gangs known as tribes. At a loss as to how to calm them down or police the streets, the government passes the XB Law, which requires that all conflicts be resolved through a brutal match of Extreme Baseball. The sport vaguely resembles normal baseball, albeit played in the street with glowing, teched-up manhole covers for bases, and 16 -wheelers kitted out with mobile benches. Oh and the ‘extreme’ part of the game? Pretty much anything goes. Bats that are flaming light sabres, pitchers with railguns up their sleeves, shoes that enable you to bounce up high rises, spikes, artificial muscles, and gloves that seemingly can’t drop the ball. The only rule? You can only beat people up when you have hold of the ball—or they do. It’s the Wild Wild East and team sports just got really serious. It’s dangerous to roam about if you aren’t part of a team, er, tribe. The Diminutive MC, later nicknamed Boring, finds this out pretty quickly when his friend uses him as distraction to cover his own escape from some skinhead bullies. Fortunately, just as Boring is about to get pummeled, a sea monster intervenes. It’s the tuna fisherman soon to be known as Tuna, fresh from the ocean and dripping in seaweed. Having established himself as the Best Tuna Fisherman, he’s now got his eye on Best Extreme Baseball Dude too, and is in Minato City looking to square off against superstar slugger Coffee Barfer. Who barfs after drinking too much “coffee” (because these youths are underage and so of course aren’t up all night drinking sake, uh uh). Tuna and Boring get a little beaten up before Coffee Barfer intercedes by collapsing a water tower on the bullies with a well-placed whack to a pop can. He’s got skillz. And that flaming bat I mentioned earlier. Anyhow, a fast friendship is born and before you know it, they’re bonding over a game of XB when a rival team made up of old dudes in suits and way too much tech challenges them. Will the two newbies pull their weight in their first ever XB game? And will the top of Minato Tower survive the match??
This is leaps and bounds better than what I expected! Mind you, my expectations were basically abysmal and though this was pretty much average in every sense, at least it wasn’t awful. Had I been tired, maybe I wouldn’t have finished it, but for lunchtime viewing, well, it kinda hit the spot! The art is fine—nothing to write home about there, either negatively or positively. The music is ok too, with an appropriately driving bass line. Some budget was saved by making half the team identical quadruplets who basically say the same thing with every line, cutting down on the workload for the VA and animators alike. The cat has a star in the fur on its back, which is a random detail that seems worth mentioning for whatever reason. But most surprising, is the creativity of the game itself. It’s actually kind of cool! As preposterous as it is that the state would legislate an extreme sport into becoming the mechanism of law enforcement and the judiciary in the land, if you can get past that, XB seems pretty fun. And unlike the other sports anime this season, Futsal Boys!!!, the gameplay is actually pretty dynamic and eye-catching. Decidedly above average. It also struck me a few minutes in that this is essentially “cute boys doing cute (ahem, manly/boyish) things”. Why isn’t that a sub-genre yet? Maybe this is the beginning of something. Will I watch on to find out? To be honest, probably not, but I’m sure that I will remember this episode fondly if ever I think of it again.
Tribe Nine can be streamed on Funimation.