The story of an honour student who joined the tennis club – that will be one line I would use to describe the first episode of Baby Steps. The honour student and main character, Maruo Eiichirou, voiced by Murata Taishi, is a perfectionist who studies for the sake of studying (as seen by his notes, which are extremely detailed and neat). Till one day he meets Takasaki Natsu, voiced by Kotobuki Minako, who introduces him to the world of tennis, and tells him her dream of being a professional tennis player.
To add on about Eiichirou being a perfectionist, look at the picture on the left. He eats his food in a perfect ratio of 1:1 (which in my opinion is really weird). But this obsessiveness helps when it comes to his note taking. We all have dreams, but Eiichirou has not thought of his. He studies for the sake of studying, and is a little perplexed when he hears that Natsu wants to play tennis for a living. I guess that’s what happens when you study 24/7. But this is just the beginning of how his story of being a tennis player unfolds.
Apart from all this seriousness, Baby Steps is quite a hilarious show as well. Apart from being a tennis player, Natsu is considered the most popular girl is first grade. All the boys ogle over her, including Eiichirou’s best friend, Kageyama Kojirou (voice by Tershima Takuma). The part when Natsu was talking to Eiichirou and all the boys (who are a bunch of busybodies) instantaneously got jealous. Also the part when Natsu borrowed Eiichirou’s notes and got them dirty? I perfectly understood his pain. HOW COULD YOU DIRTY SOMEONE’S NOTES WHICH TOOK THEM SO MUCH EFFORT TO WRITE?!
Although it has its funny moments, but there are times when I feel there is an underlying connection to Prince of Tennis. Yes it is different, where the main character does not know how to play tennis at all (unlike Echizen Ryoma), but Yuuki (the little kid who found Eiichirou at the tennis club) is like a blend of Echizen and Kikumaru. And Eiichirou gives me a huge Inui vibe because of his perfect note taking, especially in the middle of the game.
It was an interesting debut episode. I do hope the series would be as good as the first episode (but moving at a faster pace). Definitely something I would recommend you to watch if you are a sports junky! (: