Cinepub


Zombie Month: Battlefield Baseball by Jamie

Spoilers ahead. Also, I’m writing this at half four in the morning so don’t expect a masterpiece.

Oh Japan. Japan, Japan, Japan. You’ve previously driven me to the brink of madness with a little film called ‘Executive Koala’ and now it seems as though you seek to do it again. This time the film is called ‘Battlefield Baseball’ and it easily rivals that koala film in terms of batshit crazy if not surpassing it completely it’s also another film that leads me to wonder just who at Wikipedia is determining what is and isn’t a Zombie film. Anyway, on with the ‘plot’.

Kocho, the Seido High School principal and baseball coach is excited because his team finally has a chance of going all the way to Koshien Stadium in the big tournament thanks to their star player, the Gorilla. This excitement quickly becomes despair however when it is revealed that their first match is against Gedo High, a team that slaughters their opponents because it’s legal to do during a baseball match for some reason.

Then a new student appears, Jubeh, saving the teams worst player Four-Eyes from the leader of a gang of bullies Bancho who hates baseball. It turns out that Jubeh is a great baseball player but he refuses to play for some reason. His beating up of Bancho also results in the bully leader having a change of heart about baseball as well as a change of face (for some reason the change of heart makes him change actors because… I dunno. It just does) because Jubeh’s beating healed an old shoulder wound. He joins the team.

Then there’s a song about why Jubeh won’t play baseball. It’s because he once threw a pitch so hard that it killed his father. Still Four-Eyes begs Jubeh to play, explaining that his mother hates baseball and would punish him severely if she were to find out he was playing. Jubeh is touched by Four-Eyes pure love for the game and agrees to join the team.

On the day of the game, however, Jubeh is arrested for some reason. And so the Seido team go and play valiantly without him only to end up completely slaughtered. Jubeh finally gets out of jail and arrives in time to hear the Principal and Bancho lament the loss. He then finds a body he believes to be Four-Eyes before realising that he’s actually still alive over in the dugout. The body is actually a bomb which explodes, killing him.

Jubeh awakes in the afterlife and comes across his father who tells him to embrace his killer pitch, dubbed the tornado pitch. He then rises from the grave to discover that Bancho to is back, this time changing bodies entirely as he is reborn as a child. Bancho also came across Jubeh’s father and he gave him a catcher’s mitt, one that will hold up against the strength of the tornado pitch. They also discover that Four-Eyes’ mother has discovered that he plays baseball and is punishing him by keeping him locked in a cage.

Jubeh confronts the woman, defeating her in battle and she explains why she hates baseball so much. Her husband was killed by her eldest son’s powerful pitching skills and he became traumatised and ran away. The story leads Jubeh, Four-Eyes and mother to realise that they are all a family and mother, over-joyed at the return of her son, agrees to let Four-Eyes play ball.

And so a new Seido team goes to confront Gedo High, in vengeance for their fallen team mates and to try to make sure that Gedo can never hurt anyone ever again. The coach mocks the small size of the new team but suddenly a couple of the old players return, including Gorilla, resurrected by cyborg technology…. Yeah. The team is also joined by a cheerleader and Jubeh and Four-Eyes’ mother. The game begins.

And it’s quickly over. Soon the only people left concious are Jubeh and the Gedo High coach. They fight with bats until Jubeh is knocked to the ground and the coach gains the upper hand. He reveals a new weapon, a bat filled with poisons and healing herbs that keeps you alive for 100 years in constant pain and agony. The coach slams the bat down towards Jubeh but Four-Eyes jumps in the way, taking the shot instead. Jubeh is furious and manages to take the coach down. He’s about to strike the final blow when the Gedo players beg that he is merciful for they are orphans, taking in by the coach and he;s all the family they have. Jubeh agrees to spare his life

Suddenly one member of the Gedo team begins unloading guns into everyone, his own teammates and the coach included as well as the spectators. Jubeh manages to take the gunmen out by doing some weird move that rips the flesh from his bones. He then sheds a tear as he looks at the carnage around him, a tear that brings everyone back to life. The crowd cheer and the narrator, who had intermittently spoken throughout the film, explains that everyone lived happily ever after except for one man, his owner who died from alcoholism ten minutes earlier. Still he was happy because he was watching baseball. Also the dead man was the narrator’s owner and it turned out the narrator was a dog all along! Kooky.

I honestly don’t know what can be said about this film. I’m not entirely sure what the zombies are that make this a zombie film. Is it the Gedo High team? They all have skin like the zombies from the original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ but it’s never stated that they’re resurrected corpses. Or maybe the fact that pretty much everyone in this film is brought back from the dead at some point qualifies it as a Zombie film. I just don’t know. The point is that zombie film or not, this is that certain brand of weird that only the Japanese can do well.

The plot manages to make sense and make absolutely no sense all at the same time in some kind of way that seems to defy the laws of the universe by it’s sheer existence. Things happen completely randomly without much of an explanation apart from a slight mention in passing. The Deus Ex Machina seems to be operating at full steam, churning out miraculous event and coincidence at an almost constant pace throughout the running length of the entire film.

It’s the kind of film that’ just plain difficult to review. Sure it’s fun but it’s also kind of frustrating, I’d probably recommend you give it one watch and see how you feel about it. It’s not one I can judge for you. Still, my opinion is three pints out of five. Laterz.

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