Baseball-anime
Screenshot via YouTube

The 15 best baseball anime of all time

Baseball knows no bounds in anime.

Baseball is big in America, but it’s not the only place where hardball is a hit.

Recommended Videos

Though it never took off in places around Europe, baseball has made a huge impact on countries such as Japan, and that pipeline has come into Major League Baseball as well. So, it makes sense that the wide world of anime sports a whole slew of baseball-centric adventures. Some, just like U.S.-based baseball movies, are focused on the actual game and the nitty-gritty intricacies. Several others, though, focus on the characters in and around the game and the familiar sports tropes of overcoming adversity, winning as an underdog, and even serving as a vessel to tell tales about society. Some last several seasons and go deep into a ton of storylines as well.

We waded through the tall grass to find the 15 best baseball anime of all time so you don’t have to go the full nine innings to see what’s worth taking a swing at, and what’s better left behind. Ready? Press play and play ball!

15. H2

Based on one of the best-selling manga in circulation, H2 centers around Hiro, who has given up on baseball due to an arm injury. Reluctant to swear off sports in general, Hiro joins his school’s soccer team, but when forced to compete against the unofficial baseball club, things take a left turn. As the baseball team prepares to face defeat, Hiro ignores his injury to switch sides — a chance that soon becomes permanent. If you enjoy lengthy games, reflections on the sport, and a dash of romance, this may be the anime for you.

14. TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls

TAMAYOMI follows Yomi Takeda and Tamaki Yamazaki, two childhood friends and baseball lovers who have taken different paths in life. While Tamaki succeeded in following her passion, Yomi swore off the sport, only to be brought right back into it after reuniting with her friend and being reminded of a long-forgotten promise. Deciding to revive their high school’s baseball team with the help of the twins Yoshino and Ibuki Kawaguchi, the girls help one another overcome hardships and evolve in the sport, with the goal of making it in the National Baseball Tournament, and of course, keeping the team from disbanding again.

13. Battle Ball

Let’s punch up our list with something completely different from the rest of it — baseball in space. Let’s just say that a team of misfits has to take on alien teams as representatives of Earth — and they’re playing for more than just the pride of Earth — the hero of the story, Ikki Sawamura, finds out he has some alien blood in him, which gives him special abilities and the touch that the Blue Planet’s team needs.

12. Moshidora

Based on a light novel of the same name, Moshidora offers a different perspective in the sports anime genre, with the main character being the team’s manager, instead of a player. When Minami Kawashima is tasked with replacing the Hodokubo High School Baseball team’s previous manager, she knows very little about what she’s doing, being forced to learn as she goes. This leads to her picking up a business management book and applying those concepts and strategies to running a sports team. Unorthodox as it may be, Minami is determined to whip her team into shape and win gold at the Nationals.

11. Taisho Baseball Girls

This anime explores the challenges faced by women in male-dominated sports, especially in 1925 Japan, a time period in which baseball was only played by men. After being told by a player that the sport was not for them, teenagers Koume and Akiko decide to start their own team, breaking cultural norms and proving through hard work and determination that anything is possible. Despite Taisho Baseball Girls having more of a slice-of-life approach to the sport, it never loses its focus, making it an enjoyable watch for baseball fans.

10. Touch

For those who like romance to go with their sports anime, Touch is a must-watch. This 1985 coming-of-age series focuses on vastly different twin brothers, Kazuya, who excels at everything through hard work, and Tatsuya, a naturally talented yet lazy boy, content with letting his brother take the spotlight. However, that all starts to change when Tatsuya realizes his own unwillingness to give up Minami, their childhood friend, to his brother, deciding to fight for her heart instead. This pits the twins against each other, as Tatsuya takes over his brother’s place as the ace pitcher in their school’s team.

9. Miracle Giants

We’re gonna go to a movie that not many may have heard of these days, but if you were a baseball fan in the 1990s, you know the title well — Rookie of the Year. A kid gets a special ability to pitch among men in that movie because of an injury, granting him special powers while hailing from a legend in his family, his mom. In Miracle Giants, Domo Shinjo is a kid as well — a 10-year-old ballplayer — and while he doesn’t have a tragic injury that gives him special powers, he inherits it via his family line, as his father was a notorious player for the Yomiuri Giants. Domo gets his own contract with the Giants, and because of his magical pitching, he’s able to play against grown men — and win.

8. Princess Nine

Following the story of nine baseball players, this isn’t what it seems on the surface. This series follows nine girls who form their club to compete with and eventually defeat the boys’ clubs. The team is led by the daughter of a former pro baseball player, Ryo Hayakawa, so there’s some baseball flowing in her blood to help lead the team forward — and every great team needs an ace pitcher.

She deals with some hardships, especially in learning some salacious rumors about her father and his time in the pro leagues, and on top of this, there are some real near-tragic moments happening in almost every episode as the series goes on. But, the public rallies behind her and the rest of the team, and it’s some classic ‘90s anime to the core.

7. One Outs

A different take on the sports or baseball story, this follows a gambler and reckless character named Toua Tokuchi. The team at the heart of the story — the Saitama Lycaons — desperately wants to win a championship, so they go out recruiting the best of the best, which is how they come across Toua.

It seems that Toua has a supernatural ability when it comes to pitching, as he doesn’t possess the best fastball but somehow his guile and instincts allow him to rack up a record-winning streak of 499 wins in the street game version of baseball in this anime, known as One Outs. It’s definitely something to indulge in if you’re looking for a different take on just about everything related to baseball and anime.

6. Mix: Meisei Story

It’s been said that baseball is a family game. From generations rearing the next to play the sport, to taking the whole family to the ballpark to soak up the sport, family is at its heart. That’s the story here — two stepbrothers with immense talent team up to strive for their dream together while elevating their high school team to restore its glory days.

5. Cross Game

A great sports story revolves around more than one character (as do many rom-coms!), with diverging personalities, philosophies, and even approaches to their craft as a microcosm for how they go about their day-to-day life. Cross Game expertly balances two main characters who embody a lot of what we see in athletes in the world, both professional and amateur.

There is the extremely-blessed-with-talent player who takes things for granted, doesn’t have the highest work ethic, and gets by on talent alone a lot of the time. On the other extreme is the scrappy, gutsy, determined player with the heart of a champion who outworks everyone else to stay in the game, but lacks the natural gifts and talents bestowed upon more athletic players.

Enter Aoba Tsukishima and Kou Kitamura playing these roles, and of course, there is a sibling-slash-love interest that binds the two of them despite their differences. Aoba is the underdog, working and proving himself over and over, while Kou has all the skills to be one of the greatest, but doesn’t have the diligence to hone his craft. And of course, Aoba’s sister, Wakaba, is linked to Kou, which in the end, brings the budding duo together.

4. Big Windup!

If you’ve seen The Sandlot, or Major League, or — okay, we won’t make a list — but basically, there is always a bully (or a whole team of them) in sports movies, because the protagonist needs something and someone to overcome. Plus, along the way, we as an audience need to know that doing things the wrong way doesn’t pay, whereas being respectful and diligent will win out in the end.

That’s the case here in this series that features a team of bullies who can’t win, but decide to pin their troubles on one kid — Ren Mihashi. Mihashi is resigned to suffering their bullying until he does the unthinkable for a sports movie — quit. He even leaves his current school to get away from it all and enrolls in another school with no real inclination to get on the diamond again. Of course, the sport pulls him back in as the squad at the new school invites him to join the team and he accepts.

3. Ace of Diamond

The best anime have a wonderful sense of humor, and if you’re a baseball fan, then this no doubt will fulfill everything you’re looking for. We have a young protagonist who we follow through trials and tribulations of defeat, feeling unworthy, being overwhelmed, and yet fighting against the odds to pursue his dreams (and — being anime — vengeance). The stories follow more than the main character, Eijun Sawamura, though, which gives the audience a chance to root for more than one person — or root against them, as the case may be.

2. Battery

For those not deep into baseball nomenclature, no, “battery” does not refer to the energy-giving device that powers so many of our electronics. It’s actually the term used for the tight-knit relationship (and even kinship, some might say) between a pitcher and his catcher. This is a great metaphorical tale for life, with two Japanese kids working and learning together on the mound and behind the plate. The pitcher, Takumi Harada, is heavily recruited and widely known as a prodigy. The catcher, Gou Nagakura, comes into the story a little later, but is the force that brings out the best in Takumi, and vice versa, naturally. Takumi isn’t able to break free of his small-town family life and is stuck pitching on a squad where no teammate can match his skill level, especially anyone trying to catch his unique pitches. That’s when Gou comes to save the day — and the team, as the two become great battery mates while learning even more about life along the way.

1. Major

Consider this one the New York Yankees of anime. Through six seasons, and some spin-off movies, too, Major really goes deep in thoroughly exploring not just the career but the entire life of a pro ballplayer. Starting from when he’s in kindergarten, Major follows its lead, Gorou Honda, on his journey from little tyke all the way through to making the majors (the Japanese pro league, that is).

It’s a family story built around generations to boot, which brings the nature of baseball back to its core — uniting families and cheering for underdogs to overcome the odds against them, internally and externally.

Gorou’s father — Shigeharu —plays a pivotal role in it all with his own intertwined storyline as a once-legendary pro baseball player who loses his grip on his pitching skills because of an injury. Does he just give up, though? No way. Thanks to a bit of humor that becomes serious, Shigeharu decides to become a hitter since he can no longer pitch.  


We Got This Covered is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Author
Image of Habeab Kurdi
Habeab Kurdi
You could say Habeab is bit like Roy Kent — here, there, every-f’ing-where. Immersed in journalism for 20 years now, he writes about life — from sports to profiles, beer to food, film, coffee, music, and more. Hailing from Austin, Texas, he now resides in the gorgeous seaside city of Gdynia, Poland. Not one to take things too seriously, other than his craft, BB has worked in brewing and serving beer, roasting and pouring coffee, and in Austin’s finest gin distillery among myriad other things. A graduate of the University of Texas, he once worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and Austin American-Statesman when newspapers were still a thing, then dabbled in social media and marketing. If there is water, he will swim there — from the freezing seas of Copenhagen and Gdynia, to the warm waters in Texas and Thailand.
Author
Image of Rafaela Coimbra
Rafaela Coimbra
Rafaela is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. Writing professionally since 2022, she loves sharing her knowledge and opinions about all things anime, manga, TV shows, and movies. When she’s not working, though, you can easily find Rafaela with a fantasy book in hand, or consuming some other form of entertainment — you know, lest a thought occur.