Toua Tokuchi is an athlete and a gambler. He makes his money with a serious fastball and a simplified game of baseball called One Outs. However, one day he is approached by a veteran slugger and asked to join his long unsuccessful team, but the owner of the team doesn’t want him to threaten the money that he makes by losing. Toua, being the gambler that he is, eventually settles that for each out he pitches, he gets 5 million yen, but for each hit, he loses 50 million.
Baseball has never been so intense. In fact, no sports anime has ever been so intense. Are you chasing that intensity? Then try these anime recommendations.
For Fans of Genius Minds
Light Yagami is a high school prodigy and genius. However, he has an ever-increasing boredom and disdain for the rotten violent world. One day, he happens upon a notebook, called a Death Note, which states that if you write a name in it, the person will die. To his surprise, the notebook’s claims turn out to be true. This Death Note, the property of the Shinigami gods of death, gives Light the power to change this world and he decides to become its new God by executing all criminals.
If Light abandoned his plan to ascend to godhood through killing all the criminals with his magical notebook, and then took up playing baseball, it would probably end up the same way as One Outs. Both main characters are devious geniuses who use their minds more than any other skills to achieve their goals, different though those goals may be.
Prince of Tennis
The world of tennis in Japan is harshly competitive, and Seishin Gakuen Junior High School hosts some of the most promising young stars. However, there tennis team is even further bolstered when a young prodigy named Ryouma arrives, looking to crawl out from the shadow of his legendary father.
Like One Outs, Prince of Tennis isn’t so much about playing tennis all the time as it is thinking about tennis. Much of both shows are about thinking strategy and how to handle different situations that arise in the game. However, Ryouma isn’t quite as clever as Toua is and significantly less devious, but both have strong competitive spirits.
The Holy Empire of Britannia has established itself as the dominant military nation, starting after their conquest of Japan, now named Area 11. Under Britannia’s tyranny, a number of resistance groups rose up to fight for their freedom. Enter Lelouch Lamperouge, the exiled prince of Britannia who has been sent to live in Japan. One day, after finding himself caught in the crossfire in a battle between Britannia and insurgents, Lelouch is able to escape with his life after meeting C.C., a mysterious girl who grants him the power of absolute obedience.
Like in Death Note, if Lelouch decided he was just cool with being an exiled prince in his father’s messed up empire and joined a baseball team, there’s a chance it would end up like One Outs. The similarities in these series are from their main characters that possess a significantly higher intelligence than those around them, which leads to more daring circumstances.
For Fans of Gambling
Kaiji Itou is a thug in the truest sense. With his days spent drinking and stealing hubcaps, his world is turned upside down when a co-worker tricks him into taking on a huge debt. In order to pay it off, Kaiji takes up a shady offer to participate in illegal gambling on a cruise ship that is filled with even worse scumbags than him.
Although Kaiji isn’t about sports and focuses on gambling with simpler games of chance, both series are about gambling with huge sums of money. Strangely enough, while Kaiji doesn’t exactly seem the most intelligent person, both series are about the main characters using their wits to outsmart opponents. While both are gambling shows, neither is solely about luck.
No Game No Life
In the real world, siblings Shiro and Sora are NEET shut-ins. However, in the virtual world, they are the legendary gaming duo. One day, after a strange email, they find their reality taken away as they are transported to the realm of Tet, God of Games. Here, Shiro and Sora must play games to defeat the sixteen races of this world as well as Tet in order to become the new gods.
Both shows are about rather straight-forward games that we think we have a first grasp on. However, both anime series have the main characters playing in such a way that it makes the games seem wholly unique and higher stakes than they normally would be. Essentially these shows aren’t about gambling or simply playing games, but manipulating your opponents.
Hyakkaou Private Academy is an institution for the elite of society with a very special curriculum. These students are the children of the wealthiest people in the world, but they won’t need athletic prowess or book smarts for a successful life, they will need to know the art of the deal and how to read people. So instead of traditional classes, this school features a curriculum of rigorous gambling where the winners live like kings and the losers suffer. However, they haven’t seen anything yet until they meet new student Yumeko Jabami.
School should be school and baseball should be baseball. Both of these series make it a point to make both of these things about gambling rather than what they should be about. Enter two daring and devious main characters that are touched by Lady Luck and blessed with superior minds that make these high stakes system’s their bitches in various ways.
For Fans of Professional-Level Sports
Struggling to stave of relegation and hemorrhaging fans, the East Tokyo United soccer team is looking at the end of its life cycle. However, in order to improve, they hired a new and slightly eccentric coach. Considered one of the soccer greats when he was younger, can new coach Tatsumi Takeshi turn this team around?
Although about two different sports, with One Outs having more of a gambling element to it, both of these shows are made out to be just as high stakes. However, Giant Killing isn’t so much about losing a crap ton of money rather than simply having the team disbanded. Both follow older players and, unlike many other sports anime, step away from the whole high school, spirit of youth theme.
Major tells the story of Gorou Honda, a boy that has always been obsessed with baseball. At first it started as admiration for his father, a professional pitcher. However, even after an injury forces his father off the team, Gorou aims for the sky. Follow him as he climbs up to professional greatness!
Obviously both series are about baseball, but unlike other sports baseball series, they are both about professional level baseball. Technically, Major takes a few seasons to get to professional level play, it does eventually get there. Both series are intense when it comes to play, but you should know that Major has quite a bit more baseball and life drama than One Outs, which still has drama, but of a different nature.
Hajime no Ippo
Makunouchi Ippo has been bullied his entire life, but dreams of changing himself. One day, he is saved by Takamura Mamoru, who happens to be a boxer. After Ippo faints from his injuries, Mamoru takes him to his gym where Ippo asks to be trained in the sport of boxing.
While boxing and baseball couldn’t be more different, both of these shows are about people competing at a professional level. This means it is not just for glory, but it is for the money they need to survive. Of course, Hajime no Ippo isn’t just about the money and it involves significantly more growth and struggle when compared to One Outs.
Do you have any other anime recommendations like One Outs? Let the world know in the comments section below.