KANO is the baseball team at Kagi Agriculture and Forestry Public School in 1931 Taiwan. Having never scored in a game, the team is taken up by new coach Hyôtarô Kondô (Masatoshi Nagase), who makes it his immediate goal to lead the team to the Koshien high school baseball championship in Japan. With a multiethnic team consisting of native Taiwanese, Hun, and Japanese players, KANO undergoes a strict training regimen under coach Kondô, with the team learning to work together and never give up.
KANO is an inspirational sports film about this misfit baseball team, who go from losers to contenders over the course of a year. The film takes place in an era when Taiwan was occupied by Japan and there are many times within when the mixed Taiwanese, Hun, and Japanese ethnicities of the players are brought up, though coach Kondô quickly responds by stating “What does race have to do with baseball?” At a running time of just over three hours, KANO is in no rush to progress the plot. In fact, much of the first hour of the film features more melodrama than baseball, as well as a lengthy scene, where coach Kondô repeats the mantra “one, two, three, attack.”
As KANO gets better through their intense training and start racking up wins, KANO gets much more enthralling to watch. In fact, the film’s final game, which includes drama involving the team’s star pitcher Meishô 'Akira' Go (Tsao Yu-ning), is particularly gripping to watch. The film also features an interesting metaphor involving papaya trees and how the players do better under the pressure of crisis. Altogether, KANO turned out to be a quite well done inspirational sports story, with some important messages about never giving up, no matter how tough the odds.9 | REALLY LIKED IT