Japan has produced a plethora of baseball-themed sports anime series over the years, and for good reason. The sport has long been popular in the country.
Baseball (yakyu in traditional Japanese; beisuboru in modern Japanese) is thought to have first arrived during the Meiji period of westernisation. Following a sluggish start, the game quickly expanded with professional leagues. They soon had teams capable of defeating international opponents. Japanese players have become increasingly common in Major League Baseball.
Baseball is, of course, prevalent in anime (even in series that do not focus on the sport). Here are some of the more entertaining ones, ranging from classics to current must-see shows. The following are the best baseball anime available right now.
27. Powerful Pro Yakyuu: Powerful Koukou Hen
The plot revolves around a protagonist who attends Powerful High School in order to pursue his dream of becoming a baseball player. There, he reunites with a childhood friend named Subaru Hoshii, with whom he previously promised to play in the Summer Koshien high school championship game but who appears to have forgotten their promise.
Takumi Harada relocates to a mountain town in Okayama prefecture during spring break before starting middle school, due to his father’s job transfer. Takumi is a pitcher who has lost faith in his own abilities after the moves when his classmate Kou Nagakura appears in front of him. Kou has a strong desire to form a “battery” (a pitcher and catcher combination) with Takumi.
25. TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls
Yomi Takeda’s junior high pitching career ended in heartbreak despite her “miracle ball.” When she reunites with childhood friend Tamaki Yamazaki in high school, the only person who could catch her signature pitch, she rediscovers her love for the game. She’s eager to fulfil the promise they made as kids by stepping up to the plate once more.
24. Cinderella Nine
When Arihara Tsubasa arrives at Rigahama Municipal High School and discovers that there is no baseball club, she organises the Girls’ Baseball Club on her own. Girls who have never played baseball before, girls who used to play but quit, and girls who are constantly faced with great challenges are all drawn to the club. The Rigahama Girls’ Baseball Club races through the trials of youth, occasionally clashing and quarrelling but always supporting one another! And so begins the world’s hottest summer in recorded history…
23. Slow Step
Minatsu is a high school student who witnessed a hit-and-run and was then violently threatened by the perpetrators. To avoid any danger, she decided to disguise herself as “Maria,” a long-haired, bespectacled young woman. Shuu, her current boyfriend, appears to be attempting, but failing, to capture Minatsu’s attention. Then there’s her next-door neighbour, Kadomatsu, who gets a lot of Minatsu’s attention, but it’s not Minatsu he wants, it’s her alter-ego Maria! Minatsu, Kadomatsu, and Shuu form a haphazard love triangle full of joys and heartaches.
Kurokan tells the storey of a baseball team manager, Kuroki Ryuji, also known as Kurokan, and his unconventional methods and baseball strategies for teaching and motivating his baseball team to victory. He faces numerous challenges and conflicts, not only within his team, but also within the school and community.
21. Tribe Nine
The storey takes place in fictional 23 wards of Tokyo, where outlaw groups exist in each ward and fight each other using a duelling method based on baseball called “Xtream baseball.”
20. Yakyuukyou no Uta
The first female professional baseball player to use her magical pitch to strike out sluggers… The manager who goes to great lengths to change the Baseball Rules so that she can play professionally… The separated twin brothers who couldn’t have met if they weren’t both completely engrossed in baseball… This series depicts the joys and sorrows, the glory and the frustrations of those who adore baseball.
Minami Kawashima, a high school girl, becomes the baseball team manager at Tokyo’s Hodokubo High School. Minami inadvertently purchases Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, a classic productivity guide by Austrian-American management guru Peter Drucker, and uses it to rally her disillusioned team.
18. Shippu! Iron Leaguer
The Iron League is a place where teams of robots, each with their own “owner,” compete in various sports and tournaments. Mach Windy is a member of Dark Prince, a team that does not play by the rules and fights dirty in order to win. Unsatisfied with his teammates’ actions, he defectes against the wishes of Dark Prince’s nefarious owner and joins Silver Prince, the league’s weakest team. Mach Windy and Silver Prince will compete against Dark Prince in soccer and baseball, alongside loyal companions such as Magnum Ace and Bull Armor, and aim for the top!
17. Apache Yakyuugun
Gou Toujima becomes a high school baseball coach in a small village after refusing to join a professional baseball team. He teaches his students the value of teamwork through baseball.
Ikkyuu is a young boy studying to become a monk at Ankokuji Temple. Ikkyuu is known for being mischievous and a bit of a troublemaker, but he is also extremely smart, and he is constantly thinking of new ways to outwit his frustrated teachers while also helping others.
15. Shouri Toushu
Katsumi has been playing baseball for years while disguised as a boy, but one day she is recognised and scouted by an old family friend. Unfortunately, she is forced to play against the team coached by her own father. Katsumi’s abilities win over one sceptical mind after another after she befriends her team’s new catcher, Oikawa.
Niimi Katsuya and his best friend Karasawa Susumu, both star athletes in track and field and judo, notice a beautiful girl named Nakao Yuri at their new high school. When they discover she is the daughter of the baseball coach, they immediately volunteer to join the failing team in order to get closer to her. However, as they learn more about baseball, they begin to understand what it means to be one of the team’s nine players and dream of entering Koshien.
Hiro Kunimi enjoys baseball and was the youth team’s star pitcher until he injured his elbow. Hiro has decided to give up baseball, much to the chagrin of his friends, even going so far as to burn his glove and enrol in one of the few schools without a baseball club. Hiro then joins a soccer club and decides to immerse himself in the game. One day, the Soccer Club challenges the Baseball Fan Club – led by the clumsy Haruka – to a match in order to humiliate them.
Hiro decides to leave the Soccer Club halfway through the game, disgusted by their arrogance, and instead joins the Baseball Fan Club! Hiro’s desire to play baseball and his dream of reaching Koshien appear to be too strong to ignore after all.
Kazuya and Tatsuya, twins, and their neighbour Minami have been playing together since they were children and have formed an unbreakable bond. But as the twins approached puberty, they realised something: Minami is a girl, and three is a crowd.
As the trio tries to keep their relationship together, Kazuya’s promise to fulfil Minami’s dream by taking her to Koshien with his baseball pitching skills makes the slackerish Tatsuya question himself and his own goals. But Minami has another dream she wants to see come true, and as the twins continue to push themselves, with Minami in the middle, a life-changing tragedy leads one twin down a path he would’ve never considered before…
11. Taisho Baseball Girls
The year is 1925, and Japan remains a country with socially conservative views, particularly regarding women’s rights. Akiko Ogasawara, a young girl, decides to fight for equality in her own unique way by forming a girls’ baseball team!
She quickly enlists the help of her good friend Koume Suzukawa, and it’s now up to the two of them to assemble a team of like-minded and spirited young ladies. The girls will need to bond closely, learn well, and practise hard under the capable and enthusiastic tutelage of English teacher Miss Garland if they are to stand their ground against boys’ teams and show a misogynistic society exactly what they’re made of… while having some fun in the process.
Jin comes across to his classmates as a hot-headed class clown, from arriving late and sleeping the entire day to always reacting to any situation with reckless stupidity. He used to be the charismatic leader of a legendary biker gang, which has become an urban legend. However, after beginning a rivalry with the captain of the high school baseball team, he and two former members become their star players. But it doesn’t take long for his past to catch up with him…
9. Kyojin no Hoshi
The plot revolves around Hyuma Hoshi, a promising young baseball pitcher who aspires to be a top star in the professional Japanese league like his father, Ittetsu Hoshi. His father used to be a third baseman before being injured in World War II and forced to retire. The boy would join the ever-popular Giants team, and he quickly realised how difficult it was to manage the high expectations. From the arduous training to facing rival Mitsuru Hanagata on the Hanshin Tigers, he would have to summon his best pitching magic to rise to the occasion.
In this moving sequel to the 1985 baseball manga Touch, a new generation takes the field. Touma and Suichirou, stepbrothers, are ace players on Meisei High School’s baseball team, and thanks to them, the team may have a chance to return to nationals. But, as the stepbrothers follow in their fathers’ footsteps, a tragic legacy emerges.
7. Princess Nine
Ryo has always loved baseball and has a lightning-quick pitch to prove it. She is better than any man she knows, but she has never had the opportunity to put her abilities to the test; after all, baseball is a “man’s game”… until now! Kisuragi High’s chairman, Keiko Himura, has a goal: to create a team that demonstrates that women can play just as well as men, if not better, and she has chosen Ryo to be the new team’s captain! Can the girls lead the team to the ultimate victory, to win at the famous stadium Koshien, with 8 more teammates to find?
6. Major 2nd
Shigeno Daigo is a first-grader whose father, Goro, is a professional baseball player. Daigo began playing baseball with the Mifune Dolphins, a youth team, after being inspired by his father, a former Major League player. He was unable to live up to the expectations that come with being the son of a professional, and he left baseball after less than a year. Daigo’s school then welcomes a transfer student, Sato Hikaru, whose father is Sato Toshiya, a former Major League player and Goro’s close friend, in the spring of his sixth-grade year. The fates of these two young men are about to change!
5. Big Windup!
Ren Mihashi is a shy pitcher with issues; he lacks self-esteem and confidence as a result of the relentless bullying of his former teammates, and he is hesitant to play baseball again. Ren, on the other hand, finds himself picking up the mitt again at his new school, Nishiura Prefectural High. Ren will regain his confidence and show the game of baseball who’s boss once more with the help of alumni-turned-coach Maria Momoe, tough but supportive Takaya Abe, and the rest of his teammates!
4. Cross Game
Koh lived a quiet and peaceful life when he was eleven years old, delivering sporting goods for his family’s store and frequently batting at the Tsukishima Batting Center. Despite having no interest in baseball, Koh began playing after a series of events, much to the delight of his best friend, the lovely Wakaba Tsukishima.
However, Koh’s life soon took a tragic turn, forever altering him. Years later, Koh enrols at Seishuu Academy and is quickly drawn back into the world of baseball. Koh will once again pick up the pitcher’s mitt and see if he has what it takes to be a champion alongside Wakaba’s talented sister, Aoba; old friend and fighter Nakanishi; and plenty of new teammates and companions.
3. One Outs
Kojima is regarded as a baseball legend. As the Lycaons’ superstar cleanup hitter, he won numerous awards, including rookie of the year seven times; however, there is one title he has never held: champion. Kojima opens a training camp in Okinawa in an attempt to find that special something he feels he is missing on the inside.
There, a series of events leads to Kojima being introduced to a high stakes game dominated by the talented Toua Tokuchi, and he loses a fortune as a result. However, Kojima eventually defeats Toua and, as per their agreement, enlists him to join the now-lowly-ranked Lycaons – but Toua demands a high price: instead of a salary, he will receive five million yen for each out and lose fifty million yen for each point lost. Toua, with his bad attitude and prodigious skills, will help the Lycaons become winners once more.
2. Ace of the Diamond
I’d like to pitch again to that mitt… Eijun Sawamura, 15, changed his life after meeting catcher Kazuya Miyuki. He bid farewell to his friends and knocked on the door of Seidou, a prestigious baseball school, with the intention of testing his own strength. There, he met a lot of proud baseball players who were betting everything on the game! A classic storey that feels new and exciting.
Goro Honda is a young boy who is enamoured with baseball. As a child, he witnesses his father, a professional baseball player, being removed from the Blue Oceans’ main team due to a shoulder injury that prevents him from pitching again. However, because his son looks up to him more than anyone else in baseball, Goro’s father decides he can’t quit just yet (because pitching isn’t the only way to play baseball!). Goro, inspired by his father’s example, resolves to never give up, eventually making his way into the Japanese Little League as a force to be reckoned with!
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