Posted on 19 February 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



At first sight, baseball series must all look the same. I too had that same prejudice about the genre before I started watching them. However, what I like about them is that they all have their own things that they’re good at: Touch has its character-development, One Outs has its mind games, Cross Game has its slice of life and Princess Nine has its bombastic and bold execution. Ookiku Furikabutte is the proverbial page-turner: I found myself marathoning through this series, just to see what would happen next.

I’ve often criticized baseball matches for dragging on for too long, but here it’s different: the first season of Ookiku Furikabutte only has two matches, one of which takes up a whopping eleven episodes. Miraculously though, the creators somehow managed to keep it engaging from beginning to end. Out of all the baseball series I’ve seen, this is the one that put the most emphasis on teamwork. It does not have a god-moded pitcher or batter who can single-handedly save games: every single pitch, every single throw or swing is important and could have a major impact on the match.

Because the pitcher inthis series isn’t able to take care of the entire defense by himself, we for once get to see every member of the team in the spotlight, and with his own chances to shine, even the team of the opponent is fleshed out in this way. The baseball matches here are full of tactics that often need to be re-adjusted for every different player, and the creators have really shown that they have a deep knowledge about their subject.

Despite this, I still have a few problems withthe main pitcher, though. It seems to me that the creators tried a bit too hard to make him step away from your average lead character-pitcher that they completely dived into the opposite side of the spectrum. Mihashi is such a loser and socially inept kid that he’s more like some sort of a plot device, rather than an actual character, and I feel that the creators overplayed his strange quirks a bit too much, and that’s a shame because he does get the most ttention in this series. This takes precious time away from the side-characters, that could have been used to develop them.

Overall, A-1 Pictures animated this series also very skillfully: all of the character-designs are distinct and not just carbon copies with just different hair slapped on top of them. Their animation knows when to be smooth and when to cut corners in order to give a good feel of the ongoing baseball match, with the only notable annoyance being the constant facial distortions of Mihashi that get old after a while.

Overall, while I’ve seen more interesting characters in baseball series, I have not seen baseball matches as detailed as outlined here. This is really a series for the baseball fans out there, because this series perfectly captures the essence of how gruelingly long and intense such a match can be. That second season is looking very promising now.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Very well written baseball: every pitch, hit, throw and catch counts.
Characters: 8/10 – Good characterization, but simple characters and an overly quirky lead character.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid.
Setting: 9/10 – Very knowledgeable about all sorts of baseball techniques and concepts.

22 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Double post? Glad you enjoyed the series, while it’s not the best it is very entertaining and charming. Has some nice realism too in terms of teamwork.

  2. psgels says:

    Heh, accidentally copied it twice. Fixed now. ^^;

  3. Shippoyasha says:

    I actually don’t think the protagonist is that eccentric. I’m a painful person myself and I can definitely relate to the guy, though the way he’s drawn when he’s having his freakouts makes it seem more dramatic than it seems.

    And yeah, the pitch-by-pitch stuff can be somewhat overbearing, but damn, the mangaka really knows her stuff in regard to the sports psychology.

    I mean, ultimately this entire show is about sports psychology. The psychology of the individual, the team, their past mistakes/triumphs, going against the fears of an overwhelming opponent, etc.

  4. Roldan says:

    It’s a good anime but i kinda don’t like the way play out the matches where a team with first-years can beat a team that has won tournaments but yeah, it’s still pretty awesome. Also i kinda like that Mihashi thing isn’t speed that most manga pitchers tend to have but instead control which is something very underrated in baseball mangas..

  5. Alec says:

    what ruined the anime FOR ME is when a certain fansub group which produces a better quality that the other one dropped the series. Ive waited for a few months,before I heard the news (i guess my INFO was outdated back then),,, neways, after a few months of not watching this anime, I kidnda lost track…. not just that, I also ended watching it in a sucky quality

  6. Pax says:

    To me this is the most realistic sports anime i have watched so far and i doubt a sports anime could me more realistic than this, also i don’t care about baseball at all, i could even say i find it boring, but this anime was really entertaining and fun, so i can’t wait to see the second season.

  7. Machi says:

    Mihashi’s quirks really is a love-hate relationship so its hard to really rate that, some adore it while others don’t. However, what is remarkable is how even with that you can still like the anime precisely because the games draw you in well.

    Surprised you didn’t comment on the music, which I think was used well by the series. Not only the music but you may want to consider how the characters are actually portrayed, the series really captures how some dorky baseball 14-17 year old kids act. You really could imagine these characters in real life, its not like other animes wherein well… I don’t need to comment on that. But thats what the show impressed me about with its characters how genuinely teenage they are, the small details help (oh and of course the authors great research into her subject matter).

    The second season, well its the same goodness however your comment on developing side characters is the double edged sword of the latter chapters. Precisely because you get that, whether for better or for worse (some find it for worse since we want more Mihashi and Abe). The research of the show is spectacular, the author really went out of her way to research if you read the manga notes.

  8. Kanao says:

    I’m glad you finally got around to trying it. It’s one of my favourites.

    I somehow didn’t know about the sequel so thanks for mentioning it. I didn’t think they’d even consider it since it looks like the anime diverged (significantly) from the manga at the end.

    I just noticed you have a MAL account so some other shows in your Plan to Watch list I’d highly recommend are: Honey and Clover, Gankutsuou, Planetes and Koi Kaze. All very easy to watch/marathon. Monster, Nana and Hajime no Ippo are all great as well, though fairly lengthy.

  9. Matt says:

    I love this anime, and manga… I am a sports fan, but the characters and the reality of the matches really make this series go.. I love the main character, his aprehention and then his stuborness not to give up the mound is great… I hope they continue this one through the length of the manga..

  10. omo says:

    The quirky pitcher is a part of the setting. Pitchers are like rock stars, to use an analogy. The “ironman” pitcher protagonist depiction is attractive but they are as unrealistic as their god mode fastballs.

    It’s probably unfortunate that Mihashi is the lead character, but it’s hard to have it any other way. Maybe Abe could have been?

  11. uraH says:

    Just finished this for the second time before the second season airs and I agree a lot with your review. I watched it in one sitting, thing that’s pretty difficult for 26 episode series and I loved every single episode.

    I do disagree on Mihashi. At the end you can see how much he wants to change and wants to be honest, maybe it’s not that much, but it is a change that made him a lot more human. My favorite character was Abe though.

    Of course, the best part of it is how realistic it is, I was nervous about every single ball in the game lol.

    Great review as always.

  12. p-kun says:

    I think your problem with “simple characters” should be solved in season 2. Oofuri’s char development moves at a snail (realistic) pace. By the time season 1 ends, we haven’t seen the best part of char development yet.

    If season 2 follows the manga closely, it should be choke full of char development, this time with the opposite feel of season 1, with Abe crashing to his lows while Mihashi manning up.

    But, YAAAY for season 2 XD, I didn’t know until today. Argh, spring cannot come soon enough.

  13. AKI says:

    Glad you liked it! I’ve been anticipating that second for the longest time. **Fanboy Scream**

  14. Earl says:

    how does Major fare with all those other baseball animes you mentioned? I wanted to watch one baseball anime and I started with Major since I’ve heard it’s been a classic

  15. psgels says:

    Earl: I’m not exactly a Major fan. I tried the first season, but it was too forced, the lead character was too god-moded and it didn’t really have anything to make up for it, unlike series as Touch, Cross Game, One Outs or Princess Nine.

  16. Earl says:

    I guess i’m not too concerned with the lead being too strong (you should prob stay away from season 2 he’s even more ridiculous there lol)

    I’ve watched one outs and it’s an interesting show. Which one do you prefer? Cross Game or this anime you’ve reviewed?

  17. RC says:

    According to Wikipedia, the mangaka has a degree in sports psychology, and it shows.

    I know what you mean about it being a page-turner: I don’t even like baseball, but I marathoned this over just a few days.

    Kanao: I don’t recall the anime differing from the manga at all.

  18. Alec says:

    I didnt quite understand the anime at first, but i already knew that this Anime is definitely good, and unique coz its doesnt rely with pichers like Goro(major),Hiro,Koh,Tatsuya( adachi’s baseball pitchers) and etc

    (the reason is most likely, Saizen fansubs dropping it without my knowledge and so i waited for months, without me even knowing it…neways in 3-4 months, I continued watching it, but I got out of touch from the anime)

    now im watching it again, so that I can fully understand this anime and the GAME too aswell… I’ve watched alot of baseball anime without even knowing the sport properly ( i thought i knew everything, but i wasnt)

    im currently rewatching the anime, and im at ep 6 right now. There will be no 3-4 months of break coz Il be marathoning it and (no subbers will drop it anymore coz its done xD)

    now, im even researching the terms, and stuff. now,i can say i fully understand baseball.
    and the only baseball anime that made me do that is Ookiku Furikabutte. Major S1-S5 didnt, Touch didnt, even H2 and Cross Game didnt, or One Outs….oh and I even forgot to mention Taishou Yakyu Musume lol xD

  19. Machi says:

    Thing about Mihashi as this quirky low-self confidence pitcher is that he’s actually the least conventional ace in an anime. Consider Koh for instance, or yes Goro from Major, both certainly have confidence in themselves and inspire members to try their best precisely because these two hold down the fort with their strength.

    They inspire others through their strength and become a pillar, making them an ideal ace precisely because they hold the team together. Mihashi on the other hand also has their talent and strength in pitching but he certainly lacks confidence big time.

    Yet, the thing is Mihashi still manages to inspire his team mates not because they end up admiring his strength but rather that he doesn’t particularly stand out from the rest. That he’s the same young teenager as his team mates but with very low self-confidence, but despite his low self-confidence he still manages to get on the mound. And in a sense he inspires because “if this guy who is not much different from me and has a pretty fatal flaw of such bad confidence could play and hold off the enemy well so can I!” or another would be that “This guy isn’t so strong or confident but he’s working hard and so I’d like to help him.”

    Mihashi then is the total polar opposite of other aces you’ve seen in sports anime. The fact that Mihashi is so down to earth and has his flaws so played out and exagerrated remind us that he’s no ace that lives at a totally different world from the rest, that he’s just a kid who works hard because he loves pitching so much.

    In a team thats pretty much new they don’t end up depending on him as an ace, they trust him but never end up depending on his performance solely to save their asses, that they end up forgetting that they also play a role.

  20. Oofuri lover says:

    incredible, incredible show.

    Warning: spoiler ahead about Ookiku Furikabutte and Major!

    i wasn’t into baseball at all(havent heard of ANY baseball school teams in my country), and wanted to try at least 1 baseball anime. Since so many people recommended it, saying its epic baseball etc, i watched Major S1 & part of S2. Result? i can’t remember where i watch until, because i was falling asleep. tried my best to finish watching all seasons, but jus couldn’t bear to waste anymore time on it. To be honest, Major is a pretty decent anime, maybe it might be that i watched too many animes, or maybe because i went into it purely for the baseball, it ended up being very boring for me when more than half of the time they’re portraying emotional drama background of the characters. i don’t mind God-like protagonists(hey i LOVE dragonball and its super saiyans, and they are like the epitome of God-Like), but it would help if the side characters aren’t jus following Goro around, waiting for him to save the day. If i want a emotional drama, there are tons out there better than Major, so no thanks. i can see how it got popular in japan, since many people who don’t do baseball will probably relate to Major simply because it is an anime that talks little about baseball compared to the leverage given to the characters’ background info(for god’s sake, we see Goro growing up from a little kid witnessing his parents’ deaths and being adopted & wow what a coincidence that my lifelong rival & future teammate happen to live in the same district as me. a tad touching, yes, but so obviously played out to make our hearts go out to that pitiful little kid. Nah, Capeta really did a better job on that one for me.)

    that said, if this is what i am going to get -> Major totally turned me off baseball animes for awhile.

    And then, WHAM came Ookiku Furikabutte(Oofuri for short). WHAM it suddenly came into my heart, and BOM its there to stay in my heart. 1st episode & it starts talking about baseball; & it manages to stay on-topic AND definitely still interesting while having all episodes revolving around baseball, how awesome is that??

    i finally gave in to watching it after many people recommended it to me; heck one friend is even on the Oofuri manga fansubbing team. Gosh, am i glad i watched it when the entire Season one has been completed for me to conveniently marathon over in a few days!

    As many others have mentioned; the great point of this anime is TEAMWORK and REALISM, a thing often found sorely lacking in animes(after watching 100+ of one piece episodes in a row, i was starting to worry im going loony like luffy).

    i agree with almost everything in your review, such as the 11 episodes poured into a single baseball match and it actually works. the match doesn’t feel overstretched; instead the 11 episodes devoted to it further emphasized to me how strenuous or intense a baseball match can be. There’s so many pluses in Oofuri, its hard not to write on and on, which would bore people especially since my post is already so long.

    So im gona focus on Ren-Ren. i can see how you dislike Ren-Ren & think the creators are over stretching it, can totally understand why people might loathe Mihashi. And yes, it would probably feel abit more natural if Mihashi can manage at least 3 to 5 WHOLE COHERENT sentences in one conversation without being prompted after he gained alittle confidence from being accepted as ace. (i would say that is one of the highlights im still waiting for in Oofuri)

    However, partly from my own personal experience and observances, there are really such awkward kids like Mihashi around. for 2 years, due to some circumstances i was really hated by some of my classmates(i was luckier than mihashi in that there were also people who stood up for me and the period i was hated for wasn’t during my crucial developing teenage years… but come to think of it, mihashi had kanou as well), so i can totally relate to mihashi in that aspect(though i must say, his lack of confidence is incredible); and well other aspects, our personalities completely differs, still i can understand cos there are such one or two people around me. It takes time and patience for someone to walk out of the darkness of being hated and completely brainwashed by almost everyone how completely worthless one is, which usually only people who have experienced it for themselves can understand. So, Mihashi is quite a realistic character to me, in that i can totally imagine such a guy exists. Also, loud speaking voices scares some people(not me; im actually the one who scares people like Mihashi sometimes when i forget myself & laughed loudly when excited. i can totally understand you, Abe!!!). Still, i look forward to him stringing together 5 continous coherent sentences without being prompted; it can be a rather jarring viewing experience to watch mihashi stumble his way throughout 25 episodes. At least he is improving, so after plus and minus, Mihashi is really a neutral point to me. It is jus abit painful at times that Oofuri is so real; it makes me recall some of my own past. Like mihashi’s secret longing to go back to the team that had hated him for so long, like hanai’s comments on how glad he met mihashi in high school rather than middle college or he would have ended up on the bullying side, like how Abe gets extremely frustrated with Mihashi & trying his best to remain patient, like how abe feels mihashi n him are jus different on a basic level, like hanai’s jealousy and self-consciousness over tajima’s inhuman skills and he concluded it is a good thing to feel that way so as to capitalize on those feelings to improve on his own skills, like how tajima can be so carefree and understanding of what mihashi’s quirks meant without mihashi having to say anything(THIS is so funny; tajima u’re my

  21. inkka says:

    I got lost form usually anime that on air now for many days bacause I was being marathon this although I have to stuck with many summer’s work in the same time(Ah…school). But this show win !! At last.. I watch it to end.

    It’s the first anime in this year that I success to marathon. That can guarantee that this show has something special that can captured my heart.

    The first.I finally understand everything in baseball because of this series! Before when I see the anime that involve baseball or the anime that has some of baseball eps. Only thing that I can think is ..It will be boring for sure.
    Although I watched Cross game.It didn’t help at all. OK the slice of life’s part of that series is very good.But when it going to baseball match. I suddenly become boring at it.(I want to confess that I stop watch cross game around ep 30+ and can’t make it to completed T_T Hey..It has 51 eps.It’s too much for me.)
    Ok I didn’t give up.I tried to understand it by search and learn from internet.But at last. It can’t help.

    But this series change my mind forever. When I watch this series. I’m very exciting. Hey Exciting from baseball? It isn’t the thing that look a bit impossible? But It can happened in this series. Although It’s so long like…11 eps.But It can delivered !! I didn’t boring at all. Opposite. I’m very excited and happy to watch it. and with its detailed in every match…I’m become more interesting in baseball now.and begin to think that…This is the true power,true fun form baseball. isn’t it?

    About main pitcher. Mihashi-kun.(moe moe ~) although you complain about it. But if he didn’t have the personality or skill like this. You couldn’t see teamwork.The thing that’s one of the promising thing in this series for sure.

    You see. Usually the baseball anime that mainly focus on main picther or main batter. and what is the result? You will totally forgot about other player. more worse result is. You can’t concern about their win too much. because you didn’t know about the others enough. and the worst result is This can stand at the thing that called baseball anime? because even you can’t make yourself fun in baseball match…Sometime I see baseball anime often called at slice of life/drama anime instead.

    Haha+ this’s very opposite form this series. that in the last ep. You can remembered all of players in the team and some of their personality and their bachground.(And sometimes you can remembered the other team player too. wow..).They’re very charming.

    And at least they didn’t abandoned character development side.they intend to make character development at Mihashi. to make him to be more likeable lead. and it’s very success for me.You will see that from the first to last ep. He is more grow up.

    The last.This really awaken my BL fangirls side!! It’s like..disappeared half of year before. But it come back because of this series. AbeXmihashi Banzai !! they’re really lovely couple.I love them.

    “Watching season 2 now.” That is all that I want to say.

  22. jester says:

    I loved this anime, its really well done in terms of the characters and setting and animation. Yes Mihashi can get on my neverves a lot the time, but the other characters make up for that annoyance. I absolutely love tajima he is simply so hilarious. It really does well talking about sports psychology and takes advantage of every teams weakness. For example, the only reason that Nishiura beat Tosei was because Tosei underestimated Nishiura-> this gave them a bad start on top of that, they also underestimated Nishiuras batters and that gave away points. So it makes sense how a freshman newbie team was able to beat the stronger team. In addition didn’t Nishiura do research on all the batters and use that against them? So that helped them to win too. Also in the second season, Nishiura’s winning streak gets put down by their own weakness: the overdependent pitcher who only relys on the catcher’s signals. Their opponent then, Bijou takes advantage of that thoroughly and beats NIshiura with a whopping 11-6 score..

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 07:56 PM)
    That reminds me Aidan, the tokyo ghoul chapters now and then tend to jump around in terms of what gets scanned first.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:58 PM)
    Why is it that novel translations have an annoying habit of translating the chapters out of order? Like they can’t go 1,2,3,4,5…no it’s more like 7,3,5,9,2…
  • Wicked
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 05:14 AM)
    @Vincent well there is a leak test footage done in CG. Ryan Reynolds was actually the voice of the dialogue. It looks like they got what Deadpool is about.
  • Vincent
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:51 AM)
    I hear they’re going to have a Dead Pool film. Please. Don’t. F**k. It. Up.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:47 AM)
    I just bought Hatsune Miku V3 English. Now I can call myself a true Miku fanboy.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:45 AM)
    @Vincent: Try Cable and deadpool and much of Daniel Ways deadpool run.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:33 AM)
    Can’t say I’m too keen on the character designs for the parasyte adaptation, I know the art in the manga isn’t great though but it rubs me the wrong way. They are having Aya Hirano voice the hand parasyte also. I think this might end up being pretty censored also…
  • Vincent
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:20 AM)
    I’m not talking about the Marvel Zombies series either. That series was too campy for me.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:17 AM)
    @Mikey, Meh. Episode 80 wasn’t all that shocking. I seen it coming and while it was pretty brutal it’s just a notch below eating children alive.
  • Vincent
    (Wednesday, Jul 30. 2014 02:16 AM)
    I picked up Night Of the Living Deadpool, and man, what a fun read. Deapool in a Walking Dead-esque world is great. His dark humor is meant to mate with the zombie apocalypse.

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