Based ball... made interesting!
So One Outs is something I would have never thought would show up on my radar... a BASEBALL anime. As a European, I don't know a baseball glove from a Lacrosse... crosse (and seriously these two sports seemed (note the ed) to be equally stupid to me), so naturally I wouldn't have sought out a baseball anime on my own volition. I randomly found OO by looking at Masato Hagiwara's Wikipedia article to see what characters other than Akagi and Kaiji (in the respective namesake series) he voiced. The article mentioned the included gambling element - and I was game!
So, both the good and the bad thing about One Outs is that it's like Akagi. A lot.
|Well, no shit, Sherlock!!!|
The protagonist, Toa Tokuchi, is basically the baseball-playing version of Akagi, only with an even less fleshed out personality. After the brief introductory baseball-based gambling game "One outs", Tokuchi is convinced to go pro and join the Japanese baseball league as a pitcher. He enters a gamble with the corrupt owner, with both of them solely interested in ripping the other one off as hard as they can (financially).
So, after the second episode, this is all we get to see. One game of baseball after the other, with literally no time spent on Tokuchi's personal life or any other aspect of him. Why does this series still work?
This series still works because it manages to make the sport of baseball look exciting. Tokuchi wins games single-handedly not only with his pitching ability, but also by manipulating and taunting his opponents and devising complex strategies on the spot, facing off with opponents who themselves have special skills (e.g. a black American guy who can run really fast), etc. All of this is used exactly like in Akagi, namely to create interest in how the protagonist is going to overcome the next dire situation and what trick he's gonna pull out of his sleeve (or in this case, glove) next. All this is very interesting to watch and some hilarious moments ensue.
|e.g. we get an episode where it starts raining. Which is apparently bad for playing baseball. (I wouldn't know.) Hilarious!|
This aspect is handled very well and made me watch the bigger part of the solely existing 25-part (25? why not 26!?) Season 1 in one sitting. Unfortunately the aforementioned covers only roughly half of the volumes of the manga, which is why I don't even know how the gamble is ultimately resolved. I would estimate the guess that the anime was abruptely cancelled, since in the case of knowing the series would remain incomplete beforehand, there often is an alternative ending made (e.g. in Elfen Lied).
I still think the series could've been improved by broadening the focus a little more than... exactly on one element.
So, the rhinoceros fucking the elephant in the room - the Akagi connection. Toa Tokuchi is basically a less evil version of Akagi. He's the same natural genius and lucky guy, he shows no interest in any other matter than his field of gambling, he is a chain-smoker (while being an athlete nevermind!), and, most importantly, he is voiced by Masato Hagiwara, who sure seems typecast on this role. Hell, at one point there is a mentioning of the "crossing the narrow bridge"-thingy, and that was a gamble in Kaiji! Twice! So don't give me the "you're imagining things dude" bullshit this time... it's a ripoff - but in this case that simply is not a problem at all. When you rip off things, always rip off GOOD things (baffling how many authors neglect this simple principle)!
|Fallen into the abyss? Or descended into the darkness...|
So did this series make me understand the ins and outs (PUN) of baseball? Theoretically, almost. Practically, no. Not at all. I tried watching some footage, but I have massive problems with being able to tell a ball and strike apart (and how would people in the stadium ever be able to see this with the naked eye?!?), and as soon as people start running around after a ball was hit by the batter, I'm at a complete loss. Still, I definitely respect baseball more after watching One outs than the other 2 big American-only (for a reason) sports, Handegg and Hoopball. Cause after all, the Japanese adapted it, and that alone is reason enough. Plus, watching this series actually made me rewatch Akagi for the 4th time or so! (Damn, that is a well made series!)
Recommended for people who liked Akagi or Kaiji, and people who like baseball. Not recommended to anybody else for the sole reason it's painfully incomplete - and your disappointment when you realise that fact is guaranteed!
PS: A review of something that DOESN'T suck is not very funny for me OR you. Oh well, they can't all be stinkers...
hidden texts for picture inspect command (since blogger is retarded right now):
1 - I don't think Sherlock Holmes himself was evil though. Probably just OCD-afflicted (and lawful good or neutral).
2 - Another thing I don't understand about baseball: why are there like 300 matches per season?! Every match is multiple hours long and doesn't even have a fixed end! You would have to be a professional VIEWER to not miss anything!
3 - Never forget that the abyss gazes back at you... and that I love to mention that since that quote is featured in Baldur's Gate 1.