Major (manga)

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Major
Major(manga) vol1 Cover.jpg
Cover of the first manga volume
メジャー
(Mejā)
Genre Sports, Drama
Manga
Written by Takuya Mitsuda
Published by Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday
Original run 19942010
Volumes 78 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Ken'ichi Kasai
Toshinori Fukushima
Studio Studio Hibari (ep. 1-78)
SynergySP (ep. 79-154)
Network NHK-E
Original run 13 November 200425 September 2010
Episodes 154 and 3 OVA
Anime film
Major: Yūjō no Winning Shot
Directed by Takao Kato
Studio Xebec
Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions
Released December 13, 2008
Runtime 120 minutes
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Major is a sports manga series by Takuya Mitsuda. It has been serialized in Shōnen Sunday and has been collected in 78 tankōbon volumes. In 1996, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen.[1]

The manga series concluded in the 32nd issue of Shōnen Sunday for 2010, while the 78th and final volume of the manga series was released in the middle of December 2010 together with a special original video animation (OVA).[2]

The series has been adapted as an anime series produced by NHK and Studio Hibari titled Major (メジャー Mejā?) (using katakana instead of the manga's English characters). The first episode was broadcast on November 13, 2004 and has completed six seasons.[3] The final episode originally aired on September 25, 2010. An animated film telling the story between the first and second seasons of the anime was released on December 13, 2008. Two OVAs were released on December 16, 2011 and January 18, 2012. They deal with The World Series chapter, which was skipped in the TV series.[4]

Story[edit]

The story of Major follows the life of Gorō Honda, from kindergarten to being a professional baseball player, seeking and overcoming tremendous challenges.

Note: The following sections follows the original manga story. There are several plot differences between the manga and later anime adaptation.

Subsections are divided according to how the official website split the story.[5]

Kindergarten ~ First grade[edit]

Contains: volume 01 chapter 01 - volume 03 chapter 06

Gorō's father, Shigeharu Honda, was a pitcher struggling between the major and minor teams of the NPB. Nonetheless, Gorō looked up to his father and wished to be a professional baseball player just like his father. Gorō's mother Chiaki Honda died from an unknown disease when he was younger. Aside from his father, Gorō was very close to two other people—Momoko Hoshino and Toshiya Sato. Momoko was Gorō's kindergarten teacher and especially watched out for Gorō because there are no other kids of Gorō's age at the kindergarten. Toshiya was another kid in the neighborhood, the only one Gorō could find of his own age and to whom Gorō taught baseball.

The father and son were struck a cruel blow when Honda's arm injury prevents him from continuing his baseball career as a pitcher. Gorō was especially shaken by the fact that his father would not be able to continue as a baseball player anymore. To Honda, his son and baseball are all he has left in his life; his wife had died 2 years ago. For his son's sake, Honda took up his best friend's advice, revived his batting instincts, and successfully transformed into a slugger. A midst all this turmoil, Momoko was drawn deeper and deeper into the family's life. Eventually, Honda proposed to Momoko.

Right when Honda established himself in the major team Yokohama Marine Stars, the Tokyo Giants signed a contract with the American MLB player Joe Gibson, famous for his huge physical build and fast balls. When the Marine Stars with Honda and the Giants with Gibson finally met on the field, Gibson struck out every single Marine Stars batter, except for Honda. Honda managed to touch the ball on his first at-bat, and at his second at-bat hit a home run off Gibson's 100-mile (160 km) best pitch. After Honda's home run, the Marine Stars coach launched a series of bunt attacks, scoring additional runs, and psychologically shaking up Gibson who considers the tactic unsportsmanlike. When it was Honda's third at-bat, Gibson has completely lost mental focus, and accidentally pitched a 99-mile (159 km) dead ball hitting Honda's head. The umpire immediately called Gibson off the mound, though Honda quickly got back onto his feet and continued with the game. Honda's excellent play made him the headline of major newspapers. The next morning Honda died due to internal bleeding in his skull, leaving his heartbroken son and fiancée behind.

Little League[edit]

Contains: volume 03 chapter 07 - volume 14 chapter 05

Three years have passed since Momoko Hoshino, unmarried, adopted Gorō as her own son upon Honda's death. When Gorō reached fourth grade he was finally old enough to join the local little league team, the Mifune Dolphins. However, the local kids were mostly interested in soccer, and Gorō had to get new friends he made at school to join in order to have enough members to keep the team from being dismantled.

Gorō showed himself to be an extremely gifted baseball player. So much in fact that the Dolphins coach hated to see Gorō waste away his potential with the other uninterested Dolphins players. The coach recommended Gorō to join the nearby Yokohama Little team instead, which has better players, coaching, and resources. When Gorō visited, he discovered that not only was his old childhood friend Toshiya at Yokohama Little, but his own father, Shigeharu Honda, had been a member of the Yokohama Little with the current coach when they were younger. Gorō was torn, because if he were to follow his father's footsteps, that meant he would be abandoning the friends he asked to join the Mifune Dolphins. Gorō had a big fight with Momoko over the issue, and Momoko sought advice from Hideki Shigeno, Honda's old friend and teammate. While meeting with Shigeno, Momoko coughed up blood and was hospitalized. While it turned out it was just a gastric ulcer, it made Gorō realize the living people are much more important than the dead.

At that time, Joe Gibson had just returned to the MLB after pitching in Japan for three years. He sent an all-expenses paid invitation for Gorō to travel to America and watch the MLB All-Star game, where Gibson was going to be the starting pitcher for the National League. At the game, Gibson declared to the American League's player that he would only pitch fast balls. Gibson threw 18 strikes, not a single slugger of the AL's top rotation could touch Gibson's pitch despite knowing what was coming, and Gibson earned a standing ovation from the audience. This was Gibson's own way to show Gorō how great a slugger Honda had been, since Honda had hit a home run off Gibson's best pitch in a duel of only fast balls. After the game, Gibson allowed Gorō to throw a hardball at him, wherever Gorō wanted to, if it would make Gorō feel any better. Gorō responded that he would postpone this "punishment" until the day he could pitch as well as Gibson, which was Gorō's own way of acknowledging Gibson's greatness.

Back in Japan, with renewed determination, Gorō led the Mifune Dolphins through various trials and practice matches, intending to defeat Yokohama Little, the best team in the region. In the end the Mifune Dolphins do defeat Yokohama Little but Gorō gets injured for a few months. At the end of the season, Gorō's adoptive mother marries Hideki Shigeno and the new family plan to move to Fukuoka when Shigeno is traded from the Marine Stars. Gorō, unable to tell his teammates, leaves without a goodbye thus leaving them heartbroken.

Junior High[edit]

Contains: volume 14 chapter 06 - volume 24 chapter 02

Gorō moves back to Mifune when his stepfather is traded back to the Blue Oceans and finds his little league friends grown up and attending Mifune East Junior High School. He surprises his friends when he tells them that he has been playing soccer and doesn't plan on playing for the junior high baseball team, revealing that he had destroyed his right shoulder out in Fukuoka. Gorō in the end reveals to his friends he had switched to being a southpaw pitcher. This influenced Yamane, who was third baseman before he destroyed his elbow, to also switch arms. At first, Gorō was not interested in playing baseball because he wanted to play with a hardball not rubber. During a match where Mifune East Junior High faced Mifune West Junior High, Gorō took to the mound once again seeing how insulting Mifune West was being to his friends. In the end, they created a comeback win. Together, Gorō and his friend Komori Daisuke rebuilt the junior high baseball team. The team becomes strong enough to enter the regional junior high tournament and once again he found himself playing against his friend and rival Toshiya Sato, who plays on the Tomonoura Junior High School team. Mifune eventually beats Tomonoura in a tight game and Gorō and Toshiya vow to play on the same high school team together to defeat Kaido. However, when Mifune East played Kaido Affiliate, they lost 19-0 in the 4th inning and the game was defaulted. A reason why their friendship went a bit downhill in the middle of the series was because Gorō decided that he would go to Kaido but Toshiya didn't want to go to Kaido at all. However Toshiya was soon convinced by his grandfather to go to Kaido. It was also Toshiya who told Gorō his pitching had a fatal flaw and made Gorō understand he could pitch even better.

Kaido High School selection[edit]

After the tournament defeat against Kaido Junior High, Gorō decided to go to Kadio High in order to improve his pitching to the level of Mayumura. Gorō, his friend Komori, and Toshiya decide to try out for the baseball team of the prestigious private high school, Kaido. Komori is disqualified in the Kaido baseball club test and is forced to go to Mifune High. Gorō and Toshiya get through the first round of the test. After the test there is an academic examination which Gorō also "succeeds in" as it is a test of determination. Immediately after they graduate middle school they are sent to Dream Island where they undergo 6 months of hard training. He meets new friends there and even helps them through their tough times. He then proceeds to the Atsugi campus where he defeats the scholarship team despite the anger of the 2nd team director.

Kaido High School[edit]

Contains: volume 24 chapter 03 - volume 33 chapter 02

Gorō and Toshiya make the junior varsity team and spend a year and half together as teammates. However, in their second year, Gorō reveals that his true desire is to challenge the excellent players of Kaido instead of playing on the same team as them. His friend Toshiya is hurt by Gorō's decision, but respects him for it. The season ends with Gorō leading the junior varsity team to victory over a scrimmage against the varsity team, and with Gorō quitting Kaido High School to play for another team.

Seishu High School[edit]

Contains: volume 33 Chapter 03 - volume 46 Chapter 10

Gorō has returned home after quitting Kaido. On arrival, his mother voices her dissatisfaction with the fact that he did not consult with her about his departure. She insists Gorō to be accountable for his actions and accept the responsibility to pay the application fee at any school that chooses to enroll in. Gorō's enrollment had been rejected by several schools due to the Kaido assistant coach (Egashira) threatening to sue other schools. Gorō was finally able to avoid Egashira's interference by enrolling at Seishu High School. Having been a girls school until just two years ago, Seishu does not have a baseball team. Gorō enrolls, determined to create a baseball team from scratch. After he has enough players, Gorō and the team enter the summer tournament. After finally reaching the quarterfinals against Kaido Seishu and despite extending the game into extra innings and striking out Mayumura, Gorō finally collapses after exhaustion. Kaido wins and moves on to Koshien.

Minor league baseball[edit]

Contains: volume 47 chapter 01 - volume 54 chapter 02

Despite losing the match against Kaido, Seishū High school was the only team that actually put up a fight against the Koshien champion. As a result, Gorō attracted the eyes of many scouts, including the Yokohama Blue Ocean and the Tokyo Warriors. However, upon learning that Joe Gibson is still pitching in MLB, and dedicated his 300-win achievement to his "young friend in Japan", Gorō lost any interest in Japanese professional baseball, and went to America to try out for the Major League. Meanwhile, Sato is recruited by the Tokyo Warriors, while Mayumura is recruited by the Yokohama Blue Ocean.

Gorō's 95 mph (153 km/h) fastball (99 mph in anime), while ineffective against Major League sluggers, allowed Gorō to start in Triple A instead of the rookie league. At first he joined the Cougars, but was soon released after a fight with Joe Gibson Jr. from the Oklahoma Falcons. Eventually, Gorō joined the Memphis Bats, an aggressive but defensively weak baseball team. It was during this time that Gorō begin seriously training to fully control his fastball.

In Triple A Gorō found a new rival—Joe Gibson Jr, son of Joe Gibson and an outstanding slugger. Junior blamed the death of Gorō's birth father as the cause of the tragedy that befell on his own family, and he challenged Gorō to a bet: If Junior hit a home run off Gorō, Gorō is to return to Japan and never set foot on American soil again; On the other hand, if Gorō can strike out Junior, then Junior will visit Gorō's father's grave and apologize for his insults. Gorō managed to strike out Junior with his fast ball, now at 100 mile/h (102 mph in the anime). In the last game, Gibson Jr was determined to hit a home run of Gorō. When the Bats were leading in the final inning, The Falcons had 2 outs but they had runners on 2nd and 3rd base with Gibson Jr batting. On Gorō's last pitch, Gibson Jr hit it in the centre of the bat but Gorō's pitch had so much power that he destroyed Gibson Jr's bat and the ball just flew up high. The catcher of the Bat's caught it and the Bats won the Triple A playoff.

Baseball World Cup[edit]

Contains: volume 54 chapter 03 - volume 65 chapter 10

After the baseball season was over, Gorō returned to Japan. Shimizu finally told Gorō her feelings for him, and they became a couple. On the other hand, Gorō learned from Toshi that there is going to be a Baseball World Cup the following year hosted in America, and for the first time, Major League players will be allowed to compete in it. Due to Gorō's impressive performances in the practice match between Rookies and the All-Star Japan team, he was selected as a replacement pitcher starting the second round of preliminaries. Gorō pitched as the closer against Venezuela and South Korea, earning a win and a save respectively. Then Mayumura earned a win, pitching as closer against the Dominican Republic, advancing Japan to the semi-finals.

Shimizu came to America to cheer Gorō on, and encountered Toshiya's younger sister, Miho Sato. The day before the semi-finals match against Cuba, Toshiya accidentally ran into his sister, and the traumatic memories of being abandoned by his parents 7 years ago were reawakened. Toshiya's body went into involuntary shock, and was temporarily hospitalized. Miho felt guilty about the incident, but Toshiya called her on the phone, and asked her to come watch the next game. By knowing his sister is somewhere in the audience, Toshiya felt he would be able to do his best. Toshiya made several excellent plays against Cuba's aggressive offensive in the semi-finals, and Gorō got the win as the closer.

After the Cuba game, Gibson Jr. revealed to the Team USA's manager as well as Gorō that his father, Joe Gibson, had angina pectoris. Junior hoped that the manager and Gorō might be able to dissuade Gibson from getting on the mound and potentially kill himself. However, with players mostly in a "exhibition game" mentality, Gibson got on the mound in the 8th inning in the USA vs Venezuela semi-finals, risking his heart to awaken the baseball spirit of his teammates.

The following day, Gibson collapsed during practice session, and Gorō rushed to the hospital to see Gibson. Gibson revealed to Gorō that in a chance meeting with Momoko 10 years ago, he asked her why she had not accepted any monetary compensation from him. Momoko smiled gently, and asked Gibson to remain a top-class baseball player until Gorō grows up, so that Gorō could be proud of having a father who hit a home run from such a great pitcher, and that would be enough for her and for Gorō. Momoko's kind words had been the pillar that supported and drove Gibson all these years, but he felt if he could not complete this Baseball World Cup, and play against Gorō on the mound, he would have failed Gorō and Momoko. Gorō comforted Gibson, telling him that he had done enough, and to just watch Gorō and Junior's showdown on TV.

The Japan vs USA finals game began with Japan taking a five-run lead, prompting Gibson to leave the hospital and went to the stadium to cheer his teammates on by their side. Japan had to send out Gorō in the 8th inning to protect their remaining 1-run lead, but Junior scored a home run off Gorō's 100-mile (160 km) fast ball. The game went into extra innings, and Gibson walked onto the mound again, determined to lead USA to victory. But Gorō was very determined to strike out Gibson Jr.. And Gorō pitched his fastest pitch in his life at 103 mph (166 km/h). But Gibson Jr scored a home-run by hitting it and destroying his own wooden bat and made USA the World Champion so goro back again America to play Majors in Hornets.

Major League Baseball[edit]

Contains: volume 66 chapter 01 - volume 77

As the new MLB season began, Gorō performed extremely well for the Hornets in the exhibition matches. On his first official MLB match, he pitched a no-hit no-run game up until the 8th inning, when he suddenly lost control. On his second game, his pitches started to go wild by the 5th inning. Suspecting yips, his catcher Keene stopped Gorō from voluntarily stepping off the mound, gambling on the chance that Gorō can overcome his fears with a new success. Unfortunately, Gorō ended up throwing at the batter in the head, and was ejected by the umpire. In his third game Gorō was unable to retire a single batter. He was removed from the game in the first inning and sent back to AAA Bats until his situation improves.

Believing that Gorō's defeat at the hands of Gibson Jr. was the cause of his yips, the Hornets sent Gorō to Billy Oliver, a sports psychologist, for treatment. After Gorō recovers from his yips, he can't pitch like he used to due to having no more goal. His teammate Watts said that he would only be effective against really weak teams. Later on, Gibson retires after getting defeated by Gorō's home run and the Hornet's. In Gibson's contract, his departure was treated as voluntary retirement, but in reality he wanted to start from scratch and made a minor contract with AA Bulls. Gibson fights his way back up to the majors and is waiting for Gorō to challenge him again. The anime's last episode shows the Hornets losing to the Salmons and not making it to the World Series. Gorō heads back to Japan to take a rest and solidifies his relationship with Shimizu. By the end of the episode, it flashes forwards 8 years later where Gorō is brought out to close out the last game of the World Series where the Hornets face off against the Raiders. During the game it shows Shimizu giving birth to their first child. It also shows Toshi Sato as the catcher for the Hornets along with Keane on the Raiders team, Watts as the new Hornets manager and Mayamura as the Raider closing pitcher. The end shows Gibson Jr. against Gorō in one final face off with the ending credits showing a table with Gorō and Shimizu's wedding photo, a World Series ring and a family picture with Gorō and Shimizu having two children.

Return to Japan[edit]

Following Season 6, the Major OVA shows that Gorō, after 14 years of a splendid career, is forced to retire from the Hornets. He can no longer pitch due to an injured shoulder despite surgery and rehabilitation. He rejects some offers to be the baseball coach and decides to return to Japan and keep playing baseball as a player specialized in hitting (hitter), running and guarding bases (fielder). Before leaving, Gorō promise Toshi he will meet him again on the field as batting opponents in Major League, and Sato promises to wait for Shigeno no matter how long it takes. Shigeno takes two years to train himself as a fielder and a hitter. Afterwards, he joins the Blue Oceans, and returns to being a professional player and becomes a hitter, inspiring his daughter and his son much like his dad did. In the end of the OVA, the dreams of the Shigeno family are seen hanging on the tree of wishes. Izumi, the daughter, dreams of hitting home runs like her father. Daigo, the son, dreams of becoming a pro player. Shimizu dreams that everyone in the family is happy and healthy, and Gorō dreams to be #4 batter in Major League, making it his new goal so he can become a player who can do anything.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Gorō Honda (本田 吾郎 Honda Gorō?) / Gorō Shigeno (茂野 吾郎 Shigeno Gorō?)
Voiced by: Motoko Kumai (Season 1) - Shotaro Morikubo (Rest of the anime)
The story's main character, Honda Gorō a young talented baseball player at the age of 5. His love of the game stems from his father who played for the Yokohama Marine Stars. At the age of 3 his mother had died and from then on, he only had baseball and his father left. Wanting nothing more than to follow in his father's footsteps, he strives to become a professional ball player. Thriving on the challenge of the mound, he puts everything into the competition. He makes friends easily, as people are drawn to his personality and his excitement of the game. Though when the story first started, the only friend he had was Toshi due to the lack of interest for baseball around his town. Gorō believes the only way to make his father happy and forget baseball was to become a pro baseball player himself. Though tragedy struck Gorō at the age of 6, he had lost his mother and now his father after a horrible accident in a game against Major League pitcher Joe Gibson. Though he never really had a grudge against Gibson for the accident, Gorō decided he would join the Major Leagues someday and challenge Gibson. He was taken care of by Momoko, who was Gorō's kindergarten teacher and his father's new lover. After Momoko and Hideki married, Gorō's name was changed to Shigeno Gorō. He initially pitched right-handed, but blew out his shoulder in senior Little League. Through the influence of Shigeno Hideki he switched to left-hand pitching (Southpaw). In junior high school he played at Mifune East. There he met old childhood friends Komori, Shimizu, and Sawamura. Initially when Gorō joined the baseball club of Mifune East, it was known to be one of the worst teams in the area. After Gorō came and solved some problems with the team, the team's reputation grew. He later went to Kaido High School with Toshiya, in order to improve his skills and gain the confidence to defeat the main team of Kaido. In the end, he left Kaido and went to Seishu High School and formed a baseball club to challenge Kaido high. While he never made it to Koshien, his excellent match against the Kaido High School earned him the attention of many professional baseball team's scouts. During his time at Seishu, Gorō was pitching with a ligament injury that which caused the balk in the defeat against Kaido. Later, he decided to go to America to challenge Gibson. Though at first he had some detours in America, having lost his bag, he was helped by Ginumachi. He was released by his first club due to a fight with Gibson Jr. during a minor league match. Though later he joined a Triple A team, the Memphis Bats. Leading them to their first championship win in 15 years. Striking out Gibson Jr. When he returned to Japan after the end of the minor league season he confessed his love for Shimizu. During the Baseball World Cup, he replaced the injured pitcher Noro, and played as an excellent closer. Even changing the it back to Japan's favor. Though in the finals, Gorō was hit for a walk-off home run by Joe Gibson Jr. and soon after he decided he may as well quit baseball. Though regathered his thoughts, and decides to keep playing, he states at the end of season 5 "Baseball is the only thing I have in the end." He has a strong start in the Majors, though was in form when he got the yips. In one game the yips made him throw a dead-ball at the batters head. To overcome his yips he was demoted back to the bats and went to Billy Oliver, a sports psychologist, for treatment. He used to only use the pitch gyroballs ("rising fastball"), though beginning with the Baseball World Cup, he has successfully added gyrofork ("forkball") to his repertoire.
Shigeharu Honda (本田 茂治 Honda Shigeharu?)
Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu
Shigeharu is an up and coming baseball pitcher for the Marine Stars. He is a widower and lives with his son Gorō. An elbow injury threatens to end his baseball career early on until his friend and teammate, Shigeno, suggests that he try hitting. He was an exceptional pinch hitter before he turned pro, and is a natural in the batter's box. He works his way up from a pinch hitter to play first base for the Marine Stars. He later developed feelings for Gorō's teacher and were close to marriage. However, he tragically dies after being struck in the head by a pitch from Joe Gibson, an American pitcher that had come to Japan from the Major Leagues. It was said that Honda was part of a winning Koshien high school along with Shigeno. During his childhood days, he played for the Yokohama little league.
Momoko Hoshino (星野 桃子 Hoshino Momoko?) / Momoko Shigeno (茂野 桃子 Shigeno Momoko?)
Voiced by: Junko Noda
Momoko was Gorō's nursery school teacher when he was younger. After Gorō left nursery school she dated his dad Shigeharu and was engaged to him at the time of his death. She adopted Gorō and raises him as a single parent until she marries Hideki Shigeno several years later. Her name changes to Momoko Shigeno. She later has children of her own, a boy named Shingo and a girl named Chiharu.
Toshiya Sato (佐藤寿也 Satō Toshiya?)
Voiced by: Fuyuka Oura (Season 1) - Masakazu Morita (Rest of the anime)
Initially Sato was a boy who was forced by his mother to focus on his studies to become a responsible adult. While Gorō was playing catch by himself one time, he saw Toshi staring from his window. At first Toshi did not want to play catch with Gorō, but Gorō went to Toshi's house and convinced Toshi to play with him. He develops a love of the game equal to Gorō and becomes a talented catcher. Told by his mother that if he wanted to play baseball he had to play for the best team, Toshiya went to play as a catcher for Yokohama Little League, which is the area's best team. Gorō runs into him again (Gorō moved away after he was adopted by his father's fiancée) and the two begin a rivalry as strong as their friendship. He plays against Gorō on Yokohama Little and again as the catcher of Tomonoura Junior High School's team. In between the time, Toshiya's family abandoned him due to debt problems, and he began living with his grandparents. Swearing to go pro so he could one day repay the debt he has from his grandparents. At the Junior years Toshi wanted to get into Kaido High because he believed that was the best path to turn pro. He was later told by the Kaido scouts to give up so Gorō would join. Though Toshi had misunderstood Gorō's idea, and thought Gorō did not want to play baseball with him. After the defeat to Mifune East, Toshi regained his confidence in Gorō and wish that they would go to the same high school together and defeat Kaido. Later Gorō told Toshi to go to Kaido with him to improve their skills. They try out for Kaido High School's baseball team together with Komori and become team mates on Kaido's Junior Varsity team for a year and half. During his years in Kaido, Toshi had lost contact with Gorō after his departure from Kaido. And when Gorō finally meet Toshi again, Toshi had completely forgot of Gorō's team thinking they were only just surviving in the tournament. During the match against Seishu Toshi was confidence in defeating Gorō's team, though was amazed by Gorō pitching seemingly he was injured. Toshiya went on an amazing winning in the Koshien Tournament. Forming a battery with Mayumura and was Kaido's fourth batter. After high schoolhe had been scouted by the Tokyo Warriors team , and won the Best New Player award. During the Baseball World Cup, he first joined Team Japan as DH, but later took on the catcher mask. At first he had some trouble during the first match, though with Gorō's help Toshi's confidence slowly increased.
Kaoru Shimizu (清水薫 Shimizu Kaoru?)
Voiced by: Yuko Sasamoto
Kaoru is in Gorō's class in elementary school and eventually begins to play little league baseball on the Mifune Dolphins Little League after an argument with Gorō where she sees his passion for the game. She was also the first person Gorō recuited to the Mifune Dolphins. In the finals against Yokahama, she was the catcher to replace the injured komori. Already in elementary school she began to have feelings for Gorō. In Junior High School she switches to softball and becomes captain of the Mifune East Junior High team. Seeming she still had a grugde against baseball because Gorō introduced it to her. Initially she plans to follow Gorō, whom she has a crush on, to Kaido High School. However, she changes her mind after she discovers Kaido does not have a softball team and after Gorō tells her to follow her love of softball. She attended Seishu High School, the one Gorō later attends. She told her little brother Taiga to join Seishu's baseball club seeming the great "baseball fanatic" was there. After high school, she attended Kyowa University. During the winter break of her freshman year, Gorō confesses to Kaoru and they are going out. If Gorō was suggested as a baseball fanatic, Shimizu was said to be a softball fanatic. And now she is shown that she is married to Gorō and have two children.
Joe Gibson (ジョー・ギブソン?)
Voiced by: Kōji Otiai
Joe Gibson is the man responsible for the death of Gorō's birth father. The incident remained a heavy cross weighed upon him, driving him to remain one of the top pitchers in the MLB so that Honda, by comparison, would be seen as an even greater player. Due to this incident, he began to have family problems as his family was not fitting in Japan. His son Joe Gibson Jr. started to have a grudge against him as his son believed the reason for the family breakdown was created by Gibson and Honda Shigeharu. He later returned to America after the death of his wife and daughter. He continued pitching after the age of 40, and earning over 300 wins. He stated he was waiting for a Japanese boy to join the Major League to challenge him. For the Baseball World Cup, he was Team USA's ace pitcher, although at that time he was diagnosed with angina pectoris, and the doctor warned he might die if he continue pitching. However, Gibson may feel that dying on the mound pitching his best would be the only way to truly make up to Gorō, Momoko, and the deceased Honda. His surgery was successful. Gibson also stated "I too once had a great rival, though he is now dead because of me."

Supporting characters[edit]

Daisuke Komori (小森 大介 Komori Daisuke?)
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya (Season 1) - Kōki Miyata (Season 2)
Komori was Honda's catcher since his earlier days as a little leaguer back when they were in Mifune Dolphins along with Sawamura and Shimizu. At first he was being bullied by Sawamura but was helped by Gorō and solved the problem. He continued to catch for Gorō when he returned from Fukuoka in Mifune East Middle School but ended when Mayumura eliminated them single-handedly in their game with Kaido Affiliate. In season 3 when Gorō left Kaido and entered Seishuu, they become rivals where Gorō eventually won. After High school, Komori went on to play for his Uni as their pinch hitter. After high school Komori went on to have a regular job and became the coach of the Mifune Dolphins. Goro's daughter joins the team with Komori as the coach during OVA 1.
Taiga Shimizu (清水 大河 Shimizu Taiga?)
Voiced by: Romi Park
Brother to Kaoru Shimizu. First seen back in Season 1 where he asked his sister if baseball was fun? Returned again in Season 3 as a new member of Seishuu Baseball Team where he played as a shortstop. With his excellent skill and speed, he helped Gorō in challenging Kaido. Besides that, he also helped to take over the mound when Gorō was injured by Egashira during their practice game with Kaido. He was a smartmouth kid who believed in defeat, but later changed his opinion after watching Gorō time and time again pitching with an injured foot. Later on he became the captain of the Seishuu Baseball Team to challenge Kaido once again with his new teammates. Declaring their goal is to win at Koshien. Though at first, he did not have the confidence and decided to learn throwing the gyroball so he could give new members the belief of going to Koshien. Though later Gorō told him that he should make a team that suited him rather than follow in Gorō's footsteps. He is the 1st batter (batting left-handed) and plays shortstop.
Ryota Sawamura (沢村 涼太 Sawamura Ryōta?)
Voiced by: Kahoru Sasajima
Initially Ryota is a bully in elementary school, pushing Komori. Gorō and Shimizu stand up to him and he eventually backs down after Gorō hits him for trying to throw his baseball glove into the river. He soon realizes that he doesn't have any real friends and asks Gorō if he can play baseball with him, Shimizu and Komori. He started off playing soccer but changes to baseball so he could play in Little League with Gorō and the others. In junior high, he went back to soccer and was the captain of the team. In season 6, we learn that he injured his knee and could not continue playing. He remains friends with Komori, Shimizu, and Gorō.
Yoshitaka Yamane (山根 義隆 Yamane Yoshitaka?)
Voiced by: Hideki Ogihara
Introduced in the Junior High story arc, Yoshitaka Yamane is on the Mifune Junior High School team, but uses it to cut class with some other friends that follow him. He and his friends beat up Komori after he tells them that they have to quit if they aren't going to contribute to the team and frightened the remaining players into quitting, too. When Gorō returns and confronts him, Yamane reveals that he hates baseball because he cannot play it anymore. He was injured the year before and cannot throw the ball with his right arm. Gorō, who suffered a similar injury, teaches Yamane to throw left-handed and he rejoins the team, playing first base. He goes on to Mifune High School with Komori, where he becomes the pitcher.
Joe Gibson Jr./"Junior" (ギブソンJr.?)
Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa
The son of Joe Gibson, Junior is of the same age as Gorō. When Junior's parents divorced because his mother could not stand life in Japan, whereas Gibson wanted to remain in Japan pitching until he had found out how to make up for killing Honda, Junior stayed with his father in Japan. When his mother and sister died in a traffic accident in America, Junior became resentful towards his father and the deceased Honda. His motivation to play baseball was fueled by the desire to defeat his father. He is an extremely talented batter, being able to switch hit. He played for the AAA Oklahoma Falcons, the MLB team Texas Raiders, as well as the USA Team during the Baseball World Cup. He hit the walk-off home run against Gorō 103 mph pitch to lead USA to the world cup victory. He plays third base.
Mayumura Ken
Voiced by: Makoto Yasumura
Introduced in season 2, he has a forward attitude. His personality is very direct and to the point, often coming off as cold. He appears to be in complete control of his emotions at all times, including when facing established and more experienced players. His pre-game ritual of sitting in a bathroom stall while listening to music is seen by others as getting him in the right frame of mind to pitch, but in actuality he does it because he is anxious and helps him focus his anxiety. Mayumura's pitch was as fast as Goro's and is also a gyroballer just like Shigeno. His goals are to achieve all possible individual achievements in Japanese Baseball before moving onto the Majors. In the anime he plays for NPB's Yokohama Blue Oceans[Anime]/Orix Blue Wave[Manga] as a starting pitcher, but at the end of season 6 and in OVA 2: World Series it is shown that Mayumura becomes the ace pitcher for the Texas Raiders and forms a battery with Jeff Keene.

Other Characters[edit]

Jeff Keene
Jeff Keene is the catcher for both Indiana Hornets and Memphis Bats, he seems to be quiet almost all the time and doesn't like "chit-chatting". He is always serious and is a catcher and batter. In OVA 2: World Tail, it was shown that Ken and Keene is forming a battery.
Coach Ando
Coach Ando is a coach for the long-running little league baseball team "Mifune Dolphins", a team Goro and his friends (Komori, Kaoru, Sawamura and the others) used to be teammates in their childhood.
Billy Oliver
Billy Oliver is a sports psychiatrist and a friend of Joe Gibson. In season 6, the Indiana Hornets sent Goro Shigeno to Billy Oliver in order to cure his yips although it was said that it's not possible to cure his yips with just a medicine. Later in the anime, it was shown that Goro had finally conquered his yips. Billy Oliver is also known as "Dr. Oliver".
Chiharu Shigeno
Chiharu is Goro's little sister and daughter of Momoko and Hideki Shigeno.
Shingo Shigeno
Shingo is Goro's little brother and son of Momoko and Hideki Shigeno.
Hayato Yaginuma
Hayato Yaginuma was a Japanese baseball player that Goro first met in America when he was hitchhiking. Ginumachi and Goro, together, joined in a tryout in order to be Minor League players, later during the tryout, they battle against the Salmons and their task is to get back the Salmons' 10 runs. Although Goro and his friends (including Yaginuma) lost but they were accepted to be Minor League players but Goro was allowed to join the Salmons and met Sanchez, a pitcher with great controls over his ball; Bolton, a batter who hit Goro's pitch during a test; and Fox, a catcher (and/or batter) which Goro befriended. Ginumachi, later in the anime, went back to Japan but returned back in America to watch Goro's Memphis Bats team battling against Joe Gibson Junior's Oklahoma Falcons.
Miho Sato
Miho Sato is Toshiya's younger sister. In the older episodes, Miho, while she was still at her young age, and her parents left Toshi without him knowing it. Later in the anime, Kaoru met Miho in a restaurant when they bumped each other but they became friends, Miho used a fake name "Waka" but Kaoru soon discovered her real name.
Ayane
Ayane is a character introduced in the second season of the Major anime, after the time fast-forward. She is first seen when Goro is running past her and she is nearby the game. Her friend initially expresses interest in becoming manager of the baseball club because she has a crush on the captain. Ayane is bumped by someone on the stairs and is falling backwards, but she is caught by the captain. She seems to have developed a crush in response to this, and asks her friend if more than one person can be manager. After noticing her glowing look, Ayane's friend declares that she will back off and instead support Ayane's love.
Megumi Koga
Megumi Koga (Japanese order Koga Megumi) is a girl in the film in the class 5-1 with Goro. She initially is impressed that he plays baseball but gets mad when she finds out who his dad is. Her brother is Masato (on Goro's team) and their father is Tetsuya, a teammate of Hideki, Goro's adoptive father.
Muta
Muta is on the Mifune East team and his number is 10. He was one of the bullies. He is lied to and called a "secret weapon" to explain why he wasn't part of the starting line-up due to his perceived lack of skill.

He later pinch hits in the game against Tomonoura so he could get a chance to play.

Kuramoto
Kuramoto is on Toshi's (Tokyo Warriors) team. His number is 5.
Naruse
Naruse is the pitcher (number 1) for Tomonoura. He wears glasses and Toshi refers to him as the ace.

Episode list[edit]

Movie[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 "Major: The ball of Friendship"
(メジャー 友情の一球(ウイニングショット) Mejā: Yūjō no Winning Shot
December 13, 2008

OVA[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 "Message"  December 17, 2010

OVA 2[edit]

# Title Original airdate
001 "World Series Hen 1" (MAJOR ワールドシリーズ 1
002 "World Series Hen 2" (ワールドシリーズ 2

Music[edit]

Season one[edit]

  • Opening (episodes 1-26): "Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by Road of Major (ロードオブメジャ)
  • Ending (episodes 1-16): "step" by Beni Arashiro
  • Ending (episodes 17-25): "Faraway" by Paradise GO!! GO!!
  • Ending (episode 26): "Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by Road of Major

Season two[edit]

  • Opening (episodes 27-52): "Saraba Aoki Omokage (さらば碧き面影)" by Road of Major
  • Ending (episodes 27-39): "WONDERLAND" by May
  • Ending (episodes 40-51): "Shoboi Kao Sunnayo Baby (しょぼい顔すんなよベイベー)" by The Loose Dogs
  • Ending (episode 52): "Saraba Aoki Omakage (さらば碧き面影)" by Road of Major

Season three[edit]

  • Opening (episodes 53-77): "PLAY THE GAME" by Road of Major
  • Ending (episodes 53-67): "Strike Party!!!" by BeForU[6]
  • Ending (episodes 68-77): "Yoru ni Nareba" (夜になれば) by The Loose Dogs
  • Ending (episode 78): "PLAY THE GAME" by Road of Major

Season four[edit]

  • Opening (episode 80-103): "RISE" by Ootomo Kouhei
  • Ending (episode 79-95): "ONE DAY" by The Loose Dogs
  • Ending (episode 96-103): "Ame nochi niji iro" (雨のち虹色) by The Loose Dogs feat. Maki Oguro and Showtaro Morikubo (Gorō Shigeno)
  • Ending (episode 104): "Rise" by Ootomo Kouhei

Season five[edit]

  • Opening (episode 106-128): "Hey! Hey! Alright" by SCHA DARA PARR feat. Kaela Kimura
  • Ending (episode 105-120): "Stay with me" by Hitomi Shimatani
  • Ending (episode 121-128): "Jibun Color" (ジブンカラー) by Yu Nakamura[7]
  • Ending (episode 129):"Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by Road of Major

Season six[edit]

  • Opening (episode 131-): "Kokoro e" (心絵—ココロエ) by TRIPLANE
  • Ending (episode 130-142): "Twilight Star" (トワイライトスター) by Megamasso
  • Ending (episode 143-): "Zutto Mae Kara (ずっと 前から)" by French Kiss
  • Ending (episode 154): "Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by Road of Major

OVA[edit]

Message[edit]

  • Ending: "Kokoro e" (心絵—ココロエ) by Showtaro Morikubo

World Series[edit]

  • Ending (episode 1-2): "Time capsule" (メインテーマ) by CLUTCHO

Movie[edit]

Differences between the manga and anime version[edit]

  • Team names
    • The "Yokohama Marine Stars" in the manga became "Yokohama Blue Oceans" in the anime.
    • The "Tokyo Shians" in the manga became "Tokyo Warriors" in the anime.
  • Many violent scenes (mostly physical fighting) in the manga were either greatly toned down, or completely removed in the anime.
  • The match between the Kaido Junior Varsity and Varsity teams
    • In the manga, Toshiya Sato's home run in the 7th inning was worth 2 runs, placing the JV team in the lead. The 8th and 9th innings quickly ended without incident or anyone scoring.
    • In the anime, Sato's home run was only a solo home run. Gorō gave up run in the 8th inning, but hit a 2-run home run off the Varsity team's ace pitcher and took back the lead. The 9th inning ended without either team scoring.
    • In the manga, Mayumura was never on the field. In the anime, he helped to make a hit in the 8th inning, to see if Shigeno has the ability to follow up with a game-winning home run, instead of having to rely on Sato in the 9th inning.
  • The birth of Chiharu and the retirement of Hideki Shigeno
    • In the anime, the birth of Chiharu and the retirement of Hideki Shigeno both happened a few years later than the manga timeline.
  • Ryoko Kawase
    • Kawase's plot elements in Season 2 and 3 of the anime were not present in the original manga. In the manga, there was no mention of her after the little league match. Kaoru Shimizu decided to go to Seishu after Komori's encouragement; Taiga pitched the 300 practice sliders to Gorō with his injured hand.
  • Ayane
    • When Gorō first moved back to Mifune, and was asking directions to Mifune East, the person who gave the wrong directions in the manga was Yamane (intentionally). In the anime it was Ayane (unintentionally).
    • Ayane's plot elements in Season 3 of the anime were not present in the original manga. In the manga, there was no mention of her after Gorō and Toshiya began school in Kaido.

Reception[edit]

In 2005, sporting goods manufacturer Mizuno entered into a one-year agreement with Shogakukan to have their company logo appear in the baseball equipment used by Goro Shigeno and other characters in the manga series. Under the agreement, Mizuno would also use the Goro Shigeno character in other promotional events.[8]

An article from the Boston Globe credits the manga series for helping increase the popularity of the gyroball pitch [9]

In 2006, the anime series ranked 46th in an online poll conducted by TV Asahi on Japan's favorite animated TV series. A Celebrity List of the same poll placed the anime series at the 70th spot.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  2. ^ "Major's Last Manga Volume to Bundle Special OVA". Anime News Network. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  3. ^ "Major Baseball TV Anime's 6th Season to Debut in April". Anime News Network. 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  4. ^ "Major Gets New Final Original Video Anime)". Anime News Network. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  5. ^ Official website by Shōnen Sunday
  6. ^ "Music Picks". Newtype USA 6 (4): p. 116. April 2007. ISSN 1541-4817. 
  7. ^ Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai Official site for Anime series, "Staff and Cast"
  8. ^ "漫画の主人公とミズノが契約 野球用具を独占提供 (Japanese)". Asahi Shimbun. 2005-03-11. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  9. ^ "Dissecting Matsuzaka". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  10. ^ "Japan's Favorite TV Anime". Anime News Network. 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 

External links[edit]