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A great baseball anime with a mesmerising protagonist (Goro) who is an incredible pitcher with a great personality.
Please note,the anime has 154 episodes ( 6 seasons) and 3 OVA. Two different studios completed the series.
Unfortunately, this baseball anime is severely underrated in the anime realm and lacks viewer-ship. Casual anime viewers probably stick to mainstream Shonen anime such as Naruto, One Piece, Bleach etc and recognise critically acclaimed anime such as Death Note and the recent Attack on Titan but are unlikely to have ventured into the seemingly less popular sports category. Within the anime sports genre, Kuroko no Basket (a basketball anime) has been receiving a lot of attention recently- it seems to have popularised the sports genre and proselytised anime viewers into seeking out other sports anime, most which are older and overshadowed by current anime.
As a whole, all the seasons in this anime are above average. Some, in particular Season 2 and 3 were excellent. I was completely sold in season two (Dream Island arc) and mesmerised by the growth of the protagonist Goro. Goro is a Pollyanna and his passion for baseball is unrivalled amongst his peers. Even in moments of despair, his attitude and resolution to win becomes contagious, to the point of providing vicarious optimism and hope to his team mates. The way he manages to conquer the heart of the pessimist is admirable and it does not leave a cheesy impression.
This anime showcases some of the technicalities of baseball and boasts interesting psychological plays. The psychological showdown between batter vs pitcher and catcher at some points becomes really captivating and makes you sit at the edge of your seat. Above all, this anime conveys an ulterior message that one should not give up on their dreams despite setbacks and if you are passionate about something you should go for it - as long as there is hope and the possibility for a comeback a team should remain indomitable. The opening tracks are good and the animation quality has improved over the seasons as one would expect. What I like about this sports anime is that it is realistic. Unlike say Kurko no Basket, the physical laws are not breached and sporting feats are not stylised. This anime is mature in this sense and feels realistic. There are many great characters that you encounter in this anime.
Overall, I highly recommend this anime. I would have given this anime an 8 were it not for some of the relatively weaker seasons.
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