We wrap our balls!
One of the things that have been impressing me the most about Adult Swim’s, let’s call it, a year, in ordering pilots and series is that the network is trying to differentiate its lineup a bit more from straight animated comedy. Perfect example, the other night’s new pilots like The Shivering Truth or Trap Universe, Adult Swim is looking at different extremes in comedy to cater to an audience that may or may not be getting similar experiences to say Aqua Teen on other networks and streaming services. As a result, the network is ever-so-gently turning the Adult Swim knob in a different direction.
Sports are an underserved animated genre in American television. Our Japanese friends release sports shows all the time, but here in America, almost never. But it makes sense to me that Adult Swim would post a sports-infused animated series for the network because, “Hey, let’s try something a little different!” Christy Karacas is a perfect host for making something different for Adult Swim. Known for stretching the limits of television violence with his prior effort, the four-season long Superjail, Ballmastrz: 9009 takes some of the DNA from that franchise and injects it into a My Hero Academia formula to create a Japanese-American fusion that’s as delicious as anything you’ve seen.
For those that don’t know, Ballmastrz: 9009 finds one-time Michael Jordan-esque Gaz Digzy (voiced by Natasha Lyonne) on the outskirts of her career when she’s forced to join the local loser team, The Leptons. Despite being in last place and having never won a game, The Leptons feature a suite of personalities that together actually become quite formidable given the right leadership. Admittedly, Gaz isn’t one for this role given her past and even current situation, but as time goes on she helps the team discover it’s true self to the point of eventually becoming victorious. It’s Gaz that convinces Ace and Baby Ball to nurture their combined talents for a lethal combo, it’s Gaz that eventually helps get Dee Dee and Leto back on the same page for the sake of the team. while none of the episodes as a whole really say, “Gaz is the main character here”, it’s quite evident by the end of the series and looking back on the show’s first season as a whole, that is definitely the case.
Jessica DiCicco continues her streak in playing multiple roles and doing so on such a high level as both Ace and Dee Dee, but the most exciting character in the show is by far and away the break-neck pace of the action sequences. Make no mistake it’s Christy Karacas’ eyes, but if the crew for this series was a band then Mike Carlo would be the kid doing all of the guitar solos by way of animated action sequences that are as good as anything from the land of the rising sun. The technical brilliance featured in the show is probably some of the dirtiest forms of finesse that Titmouse has pulled off in quite some time. Even if the overall premise of the series devolves a bit into mediocrity at times, the animated prowess is so good you might not actually care.