Nippon Television Network Corporation (ended 1998)
Hayakawa Ryou is an aspiring young high school pitcher with a deceiving curve and a blazing fastball that knocks catchers over and shatters the bats of hitters who think they can catch up to it. Ryou is also a she. But as the montage of scenes from the OP of PRINCESS NINE shows, her sex has never been an obstacle to her growth and development as a baseball player. And as the title of this recent TV series implies, all of Ryou's eight teammates are also girls.
Himuro Keiko is the president of the multi-billion yen Himuro corporation, which sponsors a professional baseball team. She is also the president of Kisaragi Women's Senior High School, and dreams of winning the Koshien national high school baseball tournament. As the series opens, she has been scouting Ryou from afar, who has made something of a name for herself pitching for an amateur team. Ryou's father, Hidehiko, was a famous professional pitcher in his prime and helped his own team win the Koshien tournament before that. But, he died when Ryou was very young, and Ryou and her mother, Shino, eke out a living running an oden shop. Shino does not make enough money to be able to send Ryou to high school, but Himuro will soon step in and offer a full scholarship to her if she pitches on the Kisaragi baseball team, a team which Himuro will build around Ryou.
Himuro's only daughter is the beautiful Izumi, who is as much a tennis star as Ryou is a pitching talent. Like Ryou, Izumi's father also passed away when she was very young. Despite her success, Izumi often feels neglected by her mother; this feeling is heightened when Himuro tells reporters that she has some big announcements for the Kisaragi athletics programs, but does not even tell her own daughter what they are. Izumi has feelings for her long time childhood companion, Takasugi Hiroki, also the child of a rich family.
Hiroki is the new star slugger for the Kisaragi men's team, and he becomes interested in Ryou after she bests him with three pitches in a one-on-one pitcher versus batter match-up. He begins following Ryou around, sometimes advising her on her pitching, and gives her the endearment "Ganmo-chan" ("ganmo" meaning wish or desire), a nickname that first irritates Ryou. This newfound attention that Hiroki is giving to the somewhat plain and tomboyish Ryou naturally does not exactly sit well with Izumi. Later, Izumi will join the team for her own reasons, thus heightening her rivalry with Ryou. Meanwhile, adding to this relationship complexity is Ryou's own childhood companion, the shy and bookish Natsume Seishirou, who is afraid to express his feelings to her.
Himuro hires two other famous players: Yoshimoto Hikaru and the very quiet Azuma Yuki. She also hires Kido Shinsaku as the team's manager—Kido used to catch for Hidehiko. It will be up to these three core players and the manager to first scout players and then actually build a working team. And one of the first priorities is to find a catcher who can actually handle Ryou's pitching.moreless