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Baseball Anime That Fans Should Watch in Honor of Opening Day

Ain’t the beer cold! In honor of Opening Day in the United States, I decided to compile a short list of wonderful baseball anime that every fan of the sport should watch at some point this summer, including one that begins airing this April. So lace up those cleats and grab the rosin bag because it’s time to play ball!

Ace of the Diamond

Ace of the Diamond (Diamond no Ace) is the most popular baseball anime on the list and is animated by studios Production I.G and Madhouse. The series is a long binge, but it’s worth it. The charm of this series comes from the countless baseball references, slang, and its ability to properly teach the viewer many things about the game itself in a fun and engaging way as Haikyuu! does.

Above all that, Ace of the Diamond has some of the best character development in sports anime outright with a wonderful cast of characters and plenty of hype moments. Ace of the Diamond is the ideal baseball anime for all fans of the game and sports anime in general.

The first season titled Ace of the Diamond (2015) runs for a total of 75 episodes. The next season Ace of the Diamond: Second Season (2016) has a total of 51 episodes while the third season Ace of the Diamond: Act II (2016, animated by just Madhouse) has 52 episodes. There are also two OVA episodes as well. In total, the watch order would be Season 1, Season 1 OVA, Season 2, Season 2 OVA, and then Act II. All the current episodes are streaming on Crunchyroll.

The anime is based on the manga written and illustrated by Yuji Terajima which came to an end in 2022. Kodansha USA digitally publishes the manga in English and describes the series as :
Eijun Sawamura had his heart set on the middle-school national baseball championships. But his team is eliminated thanks to a wild pitch thrown by Eijun himself. He’s planning to go to high school with his teammates and try again next year when he’s scouted by the famous Seido High School Baseball team. When he goes for a campus visit, he finds himself on the receiving end of a baptism by fire! His experience forming a battery with up-and-coming catcher Miyuki rekindles his passion for baseball!!

Oblivion Battery

Next on this list is the upcoming baseball anime Oblivion Battery (Boukyaku Battery) animated by the widely popular studio MAPPA. The series begins airing on April 9, a date filled to the brim with baseball history such as the first game ever played at the iconic Fenway Park (1912), Ricky Henderson’s 800th career stolen base (1989), the Colorado Rockies getting their first win as a franchise and set a league attendance record (1993), and, my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles recording the first ever triple-play in major league history (1959).

Makoto Nakazono is making his TV anime series directing debut with Oblivion Battery. He previously worked as an episode director for other big projects animated by MAPPA such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man. The anime is based on the currently ongoing manga written and illustrated by Eko Mikawa and has a total of 17 volumes published.

The series will be airing on Crunchyroll and describes the anime as:
Iron-armed pitcher, Haruka Kiyomine, and the shrewd catcher, Kei Kaname, AKA the “Skilled General,” were considered to be an unrivaled, monstrous battery duo in the middle-school baseball world. They were both scouted by various powerhouse high schools across the nation, but somehow, they both ended up at Tokyo Municipal Kotesashi High School, which wasn’t known for baseball at all. On top of that, other star players who had lost to that duo in the past and completely strayed from baseball coincidentally also enrolled at that school, and… Their meeting sets everything into motion once again. Their high school baseball story begins now!

Princess Nine

There’s no crying in baseball! This glorious sport isn’t just for the boys. So if you’re looking for an oldie-but-goldie baseball anime from the golden year of 1998 that focuses on Japan’s first high-school all-female baseball team then look no further than Princess Nine. An inspiring story that starts with the daughter of a legendary Japanese pitcher who wants to take on all the other boys’ teams to get to the national high-school baseball champions. The team faces challenges that a typical all-boys team wouldn’t.

So if you’re a fan of the baseball movie A League of Their Own and anime with a wonderful cast of characters, then give Princess Nine a watch! The series is directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, who directed a handful of episodes for Ranma ½ and is directing the upcoming anime series Mysterious Disappearances (Kaii to Otome to Kamikakushi).

Crunchyroll is currently streaming all 26 episodes of the anime and describes the series as:
In the male-dominated sport of baseball, one group of high school girls is about to turn the world upside down! Ryo Hayakawa, daughter of a legendary pitcher, has been chosen to lead the “Princesses,” Japan’s first-ever girl’s baseball team. They don’t want to play in a separate league – they’re taking on the boys at their own game. And their goal? None other than Koshien, the national high school baseball championship! But for all the challenges they face on the field, the hardest battles are the ones fought behind the scenes.

One Outs

Baseball anime

Yet another gem of a baseball anime by studio Madhouse, One Outs is different from the others on here. More catered to a mature audience, this series dives into a different perspective on the sport as it follows the main characters, Toua Tokuchi, who cares more about the money that can be made from baseball than the game itself, and Hiromichi Kojima, a legendary baseball player willing to bring in whoever to his team to win.

With a lot of mature themes and character developments, this would be a perfect baseball anime for someone who doesn’t necessarily care much for baseball, but would still love a good sports anime involving adults, gambling, and psychological aspects. It also caters to baseball fans as it presents the business side of it all as well you won’t see in the others on this list. So if you’re a fan of a series like Kaiji, but want a baseball twist, then One Outs could be perfect for you.

The anime is based on the manga written and illustrated by Shinobu Kaitani, whom the legendary manga author Eiichiro Oda (One Piece) even worked as an assistant under. Unfortunately, the 25-episode anime isn’t streamed on any legal streaming services outside of Netflix Japan.

Goodreads describes the story as:
Kojima Hiromichi is the ace batter of the Lycaons – a notoriously weak baseball team that is often ranked at the bottom of the league. Determined to lead the team to victory prior to his retirement, Kojima takes a trip to a training camp in Okinawa, hoping to discover what factors the Lycaons lack. Here, he happens upon a game dubbed “One Outs” – a gambling derivative of baseball – and is soundly defeated by a blond pitcher named Tokuchi Toua, who is claimed to have never allowed a hit in any of the 499 games he has played. Kojima realizes that he has found the ‘missing factor’ and makes a wager with Tokuchi. Little does anyone know that the outcome of this gamble will dictate the fates of the Lycaons and all those connected to the team.

Big Windup!

Big Windup! DVD trailer

Are you a fan of stories where the talentless main character is outcasted from an old setting and then overcomes new obstacles with new people in a positive setting to become part of something great? Then Big Windup! could be the perfect baseball anime for you to watch. With a great supporting cast, solid production from the famous studio A-1 Pictures, and a relatively easy binge, this seinen anime series comes in as another solid recommendation for the general sports anime fan.

This series arguably has some of the best voice-acting cast members along with Ace of the Diamond. Take a look below at a handful of them:

  • Ren Mihashi: Tsubasa Yonaga (Nagisa Hazuki – Free!)
  • Takaye Abe: Yuuichi Nakamaru (Gojo – Jujutsu Kaisen)
  • Yuuichirou Tajima: Hiro Shimono (Zenitsu – Demon Slayer)
  • Azusa Hanai: Kishou Taniyama (Chuuya – Bungo Stray Dogs)
  • Kousuke Izumi: Jun Fukuyama (LeLouch – Code Geass)
  • Junta Takase: Noriaki Sugiyama (Sasuke – Naruto)

Big Windup! only has two seasons, 38 episodes in total. Unfortunately, only the first season is available to watch on Crunchyroll. The series is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima, who is famously known for directing big-time series such as Another, Prison School, Shirobako, Girls and Panzer, and Blood-C. The anime is based on the multiple award-winning manga written and illustrated by Asa Higuchi. There are currently 36 volumes published.

Anime Corner synopsis:
Ren Mihashi was the ace for his old middle school baseball team. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t good and neither were Mihashi’s pitching skills. As he makes the transition to high school ball, Mihashi is filled with self-doubt and doesn’t believe that he will ever be able to play baseball again. However, the current catcher for the school baseball team, Takaye Abe, encourages Mihashi to join the team after realizing there’s something special in him. In a new, positive environment, Mihashi learns to gain a new level of confidence as he becomes the player that Abe thinks he can be, leading the team to new heights.

©Yuji Terashima/Kodansha/“Ace of Diamond” Production Committee/TV Tokyo

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