Among the numerous sports anime, baseball is one of the most commonly depicted sports. The one-on-one battles that take place with each pitch in professional and high school baseball, as well as the strategies and growth of each player, are depicted from various angles.
Here, we have selected 10 recommended baseball anime. These are all popular works considered to be classics, so if you like sports or baseball, they are titles that you definitely want to watch at least once.
1. Big Windup!
Big Windup! by Asa Higuchi is a popular work that revolutionized baseball manga.
The protagonist is Ren Mihashi, a pitcher with a negative and self-deprecating personality. Unlike the common setup in baseball works, where the protagonist is optimistic and competitive, Mihashi is quite the opposite. The story follows his growth as a true ace alongside his battery mate, Takaya Abe, and his teammates, who are all freshmen on the weak baseball team.
The biggest appeal of this work is the careful depiction of the psychological battles that take place with each pitch! The process of the game is also described in detail, making the growth of the players after each game more believable. The strong sports-themed baseball anime sets itself apart from other works.
2. Cross Game
Cross Game is a fresh work that masterfully combines Adachi Mitsuru’s trademark themes of love and baseball, the same elements that made his previous baseball-themed hits such as Touch and H2 so successful.
The story centers around protagonist Kitamura Kou and his childhood friend, the four Tsukishima sisters. Kou joins the baseball club in high school, driven by the dream of his late childhood friend, Wakaba. A year later, Tsukishima Aoba, the fourth and most combative of the sisters, also joins the team as they set their sights on the ultimate goal of playing at the Koshien high school baseball tournament.
The story deftly captures the bitter-sweet moments of life, from the players being thrown off by changes in school policy, to the existence of a baseball scholarship student, and Aoba, who loves baseball and possesses incredible talent, but can’t play in official matches because she is a girl. The blend of these elements with the typical Koshien tournament storyline and poignant romantic moments, all woven together with Adachi’s masterful storytelling, make for a truly engaging and memorable work.
The manga MAJOR by Takuya Mitsuda was adapted into an anime. The story follows the baseball career of Gorou Honda, a boy whose father is a professional baseball player, from the time he became interested in baseball at the age of five.
In addition, MAJOR 2nd, which features Gorou’s son, Daigo Honda, as the main character, has also been adapted into an anime since 2018. This rare series allows viewers to enjoy the lives of both father and son through animation.
While many baseball anime focus on the growth of the protagonist within a single team, MAJOR is unique in that the protagonist switches teams several times. Each time he faces new problems and obstacles in his new environment, and it’s fascinating to see how Gorou overcomes them. It’s also reassuring to know this is a success story, making it all the more appealing!
Touch is a baseball-themed romantic comedy anime based on the manga of the same name by Mitsuru Adachi, which also features a famous theme song.
Twins Tatsuya, Kazuya Uesugi, and Minami Asakura have been childhood friends since they were young. The balance between the three of them, with Kazuya striving as the ace pitcher for the sake of Minami, Minami having feelings for Tatsuya, and Tatsuya holding back for the sake of his younger brother, suddenly crumbles one morning. Tatsuya decides to fulfill Minami’s dream of going to the Koushien baseball tournament in place of his brother.
Tatsuya, who is not a straightforward hot-blooded protagonist, and Minami, the beloved heroine who transcends generations, have irresistible character charm. The interactions with family, teammates, and rivals are lively, and while the themes may be heavy, the series can be enjoyed in a refreshing way. This anime is recommended for those who like protagonists with natural talent who do not show it off.
5. ONE OUTS
ONE OUTS is a unique baseball anime based on the manga by Shinobu Kaitani.
The protagonist is a pitcher named Toa Tokuchi, who boasts an undefeated record in gambling baseball. By chance, Tokuchi enters the world of professional baseball and uses his skills as a genius gambler to revolutionize a weak team.
As the author positions the work as an antithesis to baseball manga, many aspects differ from other baseball anime. The strategies depicted during the games include psychological warfare not only against the opposing team but also against the team’s investors, making it thrilling due to the large sums of money at stake.
It is recommended for those who want to watch something different from the typical baseball anime.
6. Ace of Diamond
Ace of Diamond by Yuji Terajima is a classic sports anime that follows high school baseball players aiming for the national championship at Koshien Stadium.
The protagonist, Eijun Sawamura, ended his last game in middle school with a wild pitch, but he received a sports scholarship to attend a prestigious high school. Sawamura, along with his rival pitcher Furuya Satoru and the team captain and catcher Miyuki Kazuya, strives to become the team’s ace pitcher.
Each player on the team, even those who don’t make the starting lineup, has their own unique personality. The show also portrays the inevitable generational changes that occur in a high school sports team, such as seniors graduating and new freshmen joining.
The fierce competition with attending a prestigious high school is portrayed realistically, and the audience cannot help but feel nervous during the jersey number announcements.
Dokaben, by pioneer baseball manga artist Shinji Mizushima, is a classic baseball anime that revolves around the protagonist, Taro Yamada, also known as Dokaben, and his unique teammates and rivals.
Due to certain circumstances, Dokaben, originally in the judo club, starts his baseball career in high school. As he trains with his teammates, his talent as a catcher becomes well-known.
Compared to the original manga, the judo club scenes in the story’s beginning are shorter, so viewers can rest assured that the anime becomes a baseball anime early on. Since the protagonist is a catcher rather than a pitcher, viewers can enjoy a different perspective on baseball anime, such as pitch selection and game strategy.
8. Cinderella Nine
Cinderella Nine tells the story of a high school girl named Tsubasa Arihara who loves baseball and creates a “girls’ hardball baseball club” in a school without a baseball team. The story follows their journey of building a team from scratch, recruiting members and finding a place to practice.
Although the plot is somewhat predictable, this baseball anime is refreshing and enjoyable to watch without being too sweaty or intense. Some characters are new to baseball, so the audience can also learn about the sport while watching.
Battery is an anime adaptation of Atsuko Asano’s novel. The work has also been adapted into a movie and a live-action drama.
Takumi Harada, a prodigious pitcher recognized by others for his talent, moves and starts middle school. There he meets Gou Nagakura, and they become a battery. Takumi’s exceptional ability causes a stir in the baseball club…
This work is not as exhilarating as typical sports anime, as human drama takes center stage. The story follows the struggles of sensitive boys who are tossed around by adult circumstances, jealousy toward talent, and other such things. It’s a work that allows you to enjoy their helplessness.
10. Giant of the Stars
Giant of the Stars is a representative work of sports anime and is famous for its scene of the “Major League Baseball Training Gyps”. It depicts the baseball life of the genius of hard work, Hyuma Hoshi.
Hyuma has received strict baseball education from his father, Ittetsu Hoshi, who was a player for the Giants, since he was a child. After entering the professional world, he walks powerfully through his baseball life with his special pitch, the “Major League Ball”.
The story is set against the background of the high economic growth period, with developments and spiritualism that are unthinkable in the Reiwa era. While enjoying this gap, it is recommended to empathize with the emotionally rich Hyuma, and experience the full range of emotions.
Anime that depicts players’ growth and development as human beings through blood, sweat, and effort, stories of striving to reform a team organization, and more… Various types of baseball anime showcase the passion and grit that goes beyond just winning and losing.
Baseball-themed anime will continue to be born in the future. Before watching them, why not watch the classic 10 titles introduced here?
Keep checking back on our site for more great anime recommendations!