Recently I started to have a TV in my life again, not that I was one of those people that go like, "Oh, I don't watch television," because those people suck. I was just more like it depended on streaming mostly, so I missed commercials and all that stuff. Now that I have a normal TV TV in my life again, big emotional commitment there, I started watching television, of course being me, a terrible millennial who only watches the things he was familiar with and has nostalgia for things that were three years old, I was watching a lot of Adult Swim.
They were advertising this show, and here was my legitimate thought. "Oh gosh, these commercials are so irritating. They're so loud. There's no way I could ever, ever like this show." Of course, I was wrong. I ended up quite liking the show quite a bit, and the commercials, they were good commercials in the sense that they accurately represented what the show was like. It was just they tended to be loud and the same thing over and over again. They kind of undersold the show.
Ballmastrz: 9009, far in the future after the Rad Wars nearly disseminated all of humankind, it has been rebuilt by the mysterious being known as Crayzar, and he's created a game that's a lot like rollerball but doesn't have motorcycles in it, mostly. Our main character, Gaz Digzy, one of the greatest players of the game, has fallen on hard times and has been removed, busted down to the lamest of the lamest teams, The Leptons.
What I didn't know going into this was I didn't really know anything about this show. A little later, I learned that it was created by Christy Karacas, I always liked Superjail as a show. I always found it a little scary actually for a while, but I liked it. This is a different tenor for this group of people, because although it's super violent and gross, the violence doesn't hurt people. It definitely does hurt people, but nobody dies from it. Not that I dislike Superjail. In fact, I quite liked Superjail, but it's nice that we don't have an Adult Swim show that has this metastatic death love, but then again, a lot of great Adult Swim shows have that and I always find that really funny, so who am I to talk?
Gaz Digzy falls down and is forced to get with a loser team. The game has rules. It's essentially a really violent version of roller derbies. The thing I really didn't know about this was that it's described by a lot of people as an anime parody, or specifically a sports anime parody. That's the thing I was kind of interested in talking about. It's sort of a parody. It's actually not really a parody. It's kind of a parody in the same way Rick and Morty is a parody of Back to the Future and or Dr. Who in that it's essentially in the same genre, but it has more comedic elements.
This is a development that I've been seeing a lot in comedies just in general, I like to use the example of The Social Network as an example of what exactly I'm talking about when I bring this up, but a lot of movies are like this now. The Social Network is a good example because the thing they don't talk about, The Social Network is actually a really funny movie. The shock of all shocks is that it's an Aaron Sorkin script. You think it's pretty witty. This is the thing people would never describe it or say it is, because a movie that was universally well-reviewed and was in many ways positively compared to Citizen Kane, and coming from one of the all-time great directors, David Fincher, but nobody would ever say out loud, "Is this maybe a dramedy, a comedy, and not a drama?" Or a dramedy, which is a word I don't like, just because that in my mind is like, "I wear hats and I'm quirky and you depressed male, I'm going to fix you and make your life great and you're not going to have to do anything about it," ahh Sundance stuff.
Getting back to this. This show is definitively a comedy, but it's not really making fun of sports anime or the anime sort of things. There's jokes at anime's expense, like there's an episode dedicated. The other main character besides Gaz Digzy is Ace, the kid, standard anime protagonist, who I actually like because he's not a very sad person, which is a rarity for these types of shows. He's pretty much the second main character. He's obsessed with a princess-capturing game that's like a horrific combination of Pokemon, and 50 Shades of Grey, almost, which is a real mod I heard about for a Pokemon game, but neither here nor there. There's definitely some jokes at the expense of dating sims and how weirdly creepy they are, because they're weirdly kind of creepy.
There's been a trend in comedies. You see this in stuff like Final Space, too, where the comedic characters, suddenly comedians, mostly in television, this is pretty much happening only in television, started taking storytelling seriously as a thing and character development seriously. I'm not saying this is a beautifully multifaceted gem. It's a fun story and the characters are likable I think, and the animation is fantastic. I'll get into that later. There is clear attention and dedication paid to the story structure of this and getting it right and actually the world is clearly thought out. They seriously cared about all the aspects of what a real show in this genre would care about. They did all the things that a real show in this genre would care about, and they did all the goofy, crazy stuff that we all love.
I don't know where that's taking it, and this is really only happening in TV, whereas comedy in film, that's another article. It's compounded by that the animation is really freaking cool and great. If I told you this was done by the creators of Superjail, you'd probably not be shocked by that, but it flows really nice and all the powers, and it has an agility to it, which is good because this is a story about a super violent roller derby, and you need that agility to make it work. Of course, this team always seems to relish in creating bizarre and violent things, and certain violent things are pretty fun.
Talking about bizarre and violent things, let's get into the characters a little bit and the performances. There's Gaz Digzy that I talked a lot about, who is one of the great classic sports storylines, the fallen superstar. I didn't realize it until later that it was Natasha Lyonne who's voicing her, and that's utterly a perfect pick for her, and it totally clicked in my mind. I still have yet to see Orange is the New Black, but anything else I've seen her in, she's really great.
I like Jessica DiCicco as Ace Ambling. That practice of casting women as young boys I think has pretty much fallen to the wayside, but in getting the anime influences right, I felt like that was an interesting thing to pull. It even sounds like that. I like how they include voice actors in this to make it sound like an actual theme cast. As opposed to a lot of animation fans, I guess I don't have a huge problem, I don't really have a problem with celebrities in voice acting roles, but it's always nice to hear people who do that in more unusual projects. Again, not decrying any of the projects they're already in. I'm just saying it's interesting to hear.
Dana Snyder, who I'm always a big fan of, plays the sweet, sensitive, caring individual. No, of course, Dana Snyder plays the jerk, but why would you cast Dana Snyder as anybody else but the jerk? He plays Baby Ball, and that's the whole thing with they're sentient balls and it's a lot to get into.
Like many a animez, there's a lot of backstory to this, and that's another thing. The backstory is pretty much sincere in a lot of ways. There's humorous jokes surrounding how they show it. There's one I particularly like where it says, "Before," and it's just normal, and then, "Later," where it's everybody's dead.
There's Flip Champion. All the names are great, where it's Erica Bauza, who I've just heard about, and he's pretty funny. I've liked all the things he's done so far. He's a pretty funny dude.
Jessica DiCiccio also plays another character in it, and she's playing that, and Dave Willis plays Leto Otel, who is a depressed, sad hippie little man. That's good. There's a few other characters, but that was just a few of the characters, and Christy Karacas himself plays Crayzar, and he has a weird and creepy voice that fits a weird and creepy dude. I always try and single out the voice actors who I think are doing pretty good.
I don't know what else to say about this. I like the show. It's good, good, good. I think I repeat myself on a lot of these. I know I'm not the greatest critic, but you know, whatever. It's fun and it justifies to myself watching stuff. Ballmastrz: 9009 on Adult Swim. Yes, give it a shot. It'll be a good TV show. You'll like it, or if you don't like it, well, you have other things you like, probably. That's very good for you. I hope you love many things you enjoy, because it's good to enjoy things. It's also good not to enjoy things. I enjoy these things. I gave you reasons why I enjoy these things. If you don't like it and you feel personally offended by it that I liked it, well, I'm sorry. I can't fix it for you, but I love you.