Figuring out what you want out of life is something most never do, never mind figuring it out in high school.
What They Say:
Baby Steps centers on a honor student named Eiichiro Maruo who becomes frustrated with his life and decides to join the tennis club. Despite lacking experience and physical strength, he utilizes his studious nature to develop a strategic approach to playing tennis. Taking notes of his opponents’ habits and tendencies, he is able to predict their next move before they even react. He also meets Natsu Takasaki, a beautiful girl with a passion for tennis. With her help, he aims to become a professional tennis player.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Eiichiro did really well in the tournament considering how long he’s been playing and they handled it well by not having him be a prodigy that won the whole thing. He has talent, he has the research side and the ability to adapt and understand his opponents and the interest to really take it far. So he’s now starting, in his own exploratory and circular way, to figure out how far he wants to take it. When he tells his parents that he’s hypothetically interested in going pro, you can see the easy parent smack down that happens from his mother. It’s not direct or outright, but it’s a way of saying that it’s not something he can do with a smile and a light laugh. His father is quieter though and you get that sense that he wants to find out more about it and possibly encourage him.
Eiichiro does do what he does best with all of this though and that’s research, though he has to go to Kageyama’s to do it since the computer at his house is in the living room and he doesn’t want his parents to know. There’s some decent dialogue between the two over it as he goes through it and seeing him do what he usually does in exploring things with as much information as he can before really figuring it out is a solid part of his character. What helps him in his exploration of all of this is also spending time with all his new friends at the tennis club where he finds himself being inspired and also feeling like he’s starting to catch up to Takuma based on what he’s accomplished so far. He knows he’s not at his level, but he knows he’s making progress compared to when he started out and that makes a big different for him. He also gets a really amusing moment as time goes on and he goes to view the next big competition with Natsu and she’s wearing a dress, a moment that just sends his little heart a flutter. But what he really gets taken in by is watching Soji playing tennis, someone that Natsu knows and fills him in about.
Eiichiro’s mind in all of this plays out beautifully, especially when he essentially makes a presentation to his parents about how he wants to go pro and all that’s involved. It fits his style completely and definitely gives them both a lot to think about because he does it in such a solid way. But there’s definitely pushback on it as well, particularly in career stability, but even there we see Eiichiro showing a path he can take, one that will keep him close to tennis. Which has, truly, become his passion, and that’s something that they likely really haven’t seen out of him before. With a plan to spend the next year focusing on tennis to see whether he can make it or not, it’s a bold plan but one that you’re meant to take risks on at that age. And seeing his father rally behind him well makes a huge impact and you see things in Eiichiro’s face that likely neither parent has seen before – or the viewer for that matter.
The show focuses heavily on seeing what Eiichiro is going through in terms of wanting to decide his future. His interest in tennis came in a kind of simple way at the beginning of the show, but he’s found something that he’s passionate about – though his passion shows in a different way than most realize – and he’s intent on taking it as far as he can because he truly does love all that’s involved with it. We see him making further progress down a path that looks beyond his high school life and requires a commitment that most high school kids never make. It’s fun watching his family time and his time with Natsu, and especially at the end when Soji ends up at the facility and Eiichiro gets to play against him a bit, his first time playing a pro and really understanding what will be involved. Another really fun and great episode.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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