Slow Step

volume 1 sleeve volume 2 sleeve volume 3 sleeve

Official Blurb:

"A major first for Britich anime fandom: the UK's first anime soap opera. Follow the adventures of schoolgirl Minatsu as she looks for a man and tries to stayon top at school. She's got the school bully to worry about, two potential suitors, a pervert for a PE teacher, and a gang of criminals in hot pursuit. Look on it as FarEASTENDERS, sit back and enjoy."

"SLOW STEP is the anime version of Mitsuru Adachi's successful manga, condensed into five episodes, and now on UK release from Western Connection spread across three videos."

Director:        Kunihiko Yuama
Screenplay:      Toshimichi Saeki
Original work:   Mitsuru Adachi
Copyright:       M. Adachi/Toho/Youmex/OB Planning

VHS version:
Language:        Japanese with English subtitles
Label:           Western Connection

Volume no.:      1             2               3
Running time:    90 mins       90 mins         45 mins
Certificate:     12            12              12
Catalogue no:    WEST 033      WEST 036        WEST 040
Price:           £12.99        £12.99          £8.99
Release Date:    Mar 1995      24th Apr 1995   30th May 1995



My nephew likes this tale of everyday Japanese life, softball and school romance as much as I do. "Slowstep was brilliant This was a lot better than I expected it to be, the characters all related to each other well and the plot made sense."

Schoolgirl Minatsu plays softball for the school team. She has two admirers as well as the lecherous and scruffy sports coach, and when she adopts a disguise to shake off some Yakuza gangsters (as one does) she fools the boys into thinking she is two different girls. A sullen gang girl is also setting her cap at the Coach. Fascinating stuff. [Geoff Cowie]

Fans of Kimagure Orange Road will feel right at home with this tape. Like KOR, this is a teenage romantic comedy, with the characters sporting prowess substituted for psychic powers. Central to the plot is the triangular relationship between a high school softball ace and the boxing champions of her's and a rival school. As romantic comedies go, this is good, but not outstanding. In a market of one, however, it's a must buy. [Jonathan Weeks]

Volume 1:

A delightful piece of anime and a first for the UK, being in the high school romance genre with not a scrap of SF or fantasy in it. (sorry). Instead, it is deeply rooted in everyday Japanese life and features comedy, drama, romance and sport, as well as an interesting cast of characters: schoolgirl Minatsu, who plays in the highschool softball team, her sports-mad parents, her two schoolboy admirers, the low-minded softball coach who, to the fascination of the girls, turns out to be a single father, and the tough gang girl who falls for the coach. Minatsu disguises herself to evade some thugs and soon is dating both boys as herself and as "Maria". The character designs are very stylised, but the story is absorbing, and I'll be watching the remaining tapes even if I have to go out and buy them with my own money! [Geoff Cowie]

Volume 3:

Being a person who rates Touch (the most famous manga of Adachi Mitsuru) as the best manga/anime ever, I felt very much at home with Slow Step III because they share a lot of similarities but Adachi has used many original ideas to seperate Slow Step from his other works. For instance, the central characters in Touch and Slow Step are both pitchers but their genders are different and their sports are different as well (Touch is a baseball manga).

The story is set in a modern day Japanese high school where Minatsu (the central character) is the ace pitcher in the girls' softball team. Her team has never won a match in the inter-high school competition. But When Yamazakura takes over as their coach, the girls somehow manage to get into the final. However, Yamazakura lost his coaching position to Somei and Slow Step III takes off from there.

Slow Step III concentrates more or less on who will get Minatsu's affection. Minatsu's neighbour Akiba and the popular boxer Kadomatsu are the front-runners though the pervert ex-softball team coach Yamazakura might surprise a few people yet.

But how can a pervert stand a chance? This video spends a lot of time on him and viewers have the opportunity to understand the plus side of this character (which Minatsu also see). The new coach Somei adds a lot of fun to the anime by being allergic to females. It's not hard to imagine his difficulty in training the girls.

This OVA is not flawless though, its ending is a bit on the weak side. This is probably due to the length of the OVA series and the fact that the manga series was still running when the OVA was released in Japan. As a result, the OVA makers couldn't conclude the Slow Step in a more satisfactory fashion.

The script is generally well written but I have the impression that WC didn't watch the OVA again after the subtitling because there are quite a few subtitling mistakes made (e.g. the text often disappears too quickly). Nevertheless, I have to admire WC for subtitling the opening and ending songs as well.

With relationships and character interaction being its major attraction, hard-cored action fans might find Slow Step III boring but for the more diversified anime fans Slow Step III would be a worthy buy. And if the series becomes a success, you never know what will follow it. [Terry Bogard]