|Written by||Takuya Mitsuda|
|Original run||1994 – 2010|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kenichi Kasai|
|Original run||13 November 2004|
|Major: Yūjō no Winning Shot (Ball of Friendship)|
|Directed by||Takao Kato|
|Released||December 13, 2008|
Major is a sports manga series by Takuya Mitsuda. It has been serialized in Shōnen Sunday and has been collected in 77 tankōbon volumes to date. In 1996, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen.
The manga has recently concluded in the 32nd issue of Shōnen Sunday for 2010, while the 78th and final volume of the manga series is set to be released in the middle of December 2010 together with a special original video animation.
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 currently completed its fifth season. A sixth season premiered on April 3, 2010 and is currently ongoing. An animated film telling the story between the first and second seasons of the anime was released on December 13, 2008.
The story of Major follows the life of Goro 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.
Kindergarten ~ First grade
- Contains: volume 01 chapter 01 - volume 03 chapter 06
Goro's father, Shigeharu Honda, was a pitcher struggling between the major and minor teams of the NPB. Nonetheless, Goro looked up to his father, wishes to be a professional baseball player just like his father. Aside from his father, Goro was very close to two other people—Momoko Hoshino and Toshiya Sato. Momoko was Goro's kindergarten teacher, and especially watched out for Goro because there are no other kids of Goro's age at the kindergarten. Toshiya was another kid in the neighborhood, the only one Goro could find of his own age, and whom Goro taught baseball to.
The father and son were struck a cruel blow when Honda's arm injury prevents him from continuing his baseball career as a pitcher. Goro was especially shaken by the fact that his father wouldn't 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 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. Amidst 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 Script error 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 Script error 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 fiancé behind.
- Contains: volume 03 chapter 07 - volume 14 chapter 05
Three years has passed since Momoko Hoshino, unmarried, adopted Goro as her own son upon Honda's death. Goro began school as a fourth grader, and was finally old enough to join the local little league team, the Mifune Dolphins. However, the local kids were mostly interested in soccer, and Goro had to get new friends he made at school to join in order to have enough members to keep the team from being abolished.
Goro showed himself to be an extremely gifted baseball player. So much in fact that the Dolphins coach hated to see Goro waste away his potential with the other less-talented Dolphins players. The coach recommended Goro to join the nearby Yokohama Little team instead, which has better players, coach, and resources. When Goro visited, he discovered that not only was his old buddy Toshiya at Yokohama Little, but his own father, Shigeharu Honda, had been a member of the Yokohama Little with the current coach. Goro 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. Goro had a big fight with Momoko over the issue, and Momoko sought advice from Hideki Shigeno, Honda's old buddy and teammate. While meeting with Shigeno, Momoko coughed blood, and was hostipalized. Whlie it turned out it was just a gastric ulcer, it made Goro 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 invitation to Goro to travel to America, all expenses paid, and watch the MLB All-Star game, where Gibson was going to be the starting pitcher for the National League. At the game, he 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's coming, and Gibson earned a standing ovation from the audience. This was Gibson's own way to show Goro how great a slugger Honda had been, as Honda had hit a home run off Gibson's best pitch in a duel of only fast balls. After the game, Gibson allowed Goro to throw a hardball at him, where ever Goro wants to, if it would make Goro feel any better. Goro responded that he would postpone this "punishment" until the day he could pitch as well as Gibson, which was Goro's own way of acknowledging Gibson's greatness.
Back in Japan, with renewed determination, Goro led the Mifune Dolphins through various trials and practice matches, intending to defeat Yokohama Little, the best team in the region. In the end Mifune Dolphins do defeat Yokohama Little but Goro get's injured for a few months. At the end of the season, Goro's adoptive mother marries Shigeno Hideki and the new family moves to Fukuoka when Shigeno is traded from the Marine Stars.
- Contains: volume 14 chapter 06 - volume 24 chapter 02
Goro 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 shoulder out in Fukuoka. Goro in the end reveals to his friends he had which to being a southpaw pitcher. This influenced Yamane, who was third baseman before he destroyed his elbow to also switch arms. At first, Goro was not interested in playing baseball because he wanted to play with a hardball not rubber. Though during a match where Mifune East Junior High Vs Mifune West Junior High, Goro took to the mound once again seeing how insulting Mifune west was being to his friends. In the end, they created a come back win. Together, Goro and his friend Komori Daisuke rebuild the junior high baseball team. The team becomes strong enough to enter the regional junior high tournament and, once again he finds himself playing against his friend and rival Sato Toshiya, who plays on the Tomonoura Junior High School team. Mifune eventually beats Tomonoura in a tight game and Goro and Toshiya vow to play on the same high school team together to defeat Kaido however when Mifune East's played Kaido Afflicate, they lost 19-0 in the 4th inning and the game was defaulted. Which was also a reason why their friendship went a bit downhill in the middle of the series because Goro 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 Goro his pitching had a fatal flaw and made Goro understand he could pitch even better.
Kaido High School selection
After the tournament defeat against Kaido Junior High, Goro decided to go to Kadio High in order to improve his pictching to the level of Mayrumura. Goro, 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. Goro and Toshiya get through the first round of the test. After the test there is an academic examination which Goro also "succeeds in" as it is a test of determination. Immediately after they graduate middle school they are sent to Dream island where they have 6 months of ongoing 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 Varsity team and quits despite the anger of the 2nd in charge.
Kaido High School
- Contains: volume 24 chapter 03 - volume 33 chapter 02
Goro and Toshiya make the junior varsity team and spend a year and half together as teammates. However, in their second year, Goro reveals that his true desire is to challenge the excellent players of Kaido instead of play on the same team as them. His friend Toshiya is hurt by Goro's decision, but respects him for it. The season ends with Goro leading the junior varsity team to victory over a scrimmage against the varsity team, and with Goro quitting Kaido High School to play for another team.
Seishu High School
- Contiene: Volume 33 Chapter 03 - Volume 46 Chapter 10
Goro 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 insisted Goro to be accountable for their actions and accept the responsibility to pay the application fee at any school that chooses to enroll in. Goro's enrollment had been rejected by several schools due to the assistant coach of Kaido (Egashira) threatening to sue the other schools. Goro was able to avoid interference Egashira finally enrolling in Seishu Alto. Having been a school for girls until just two years, Seishu did not have a baseball team. Goro enrolls, determined to create a baseball team from scratch. After he has enough players, Goro and the team enter the summer tournament. Finally, reaching the quarterfinals against Kaido Seishu. Despite extending the game into extra innings and striking out Mayumura, Goro finally falls after exhaustion. Kaido wins in the end.
Minor league baseball
- Contains: volume 47 chapter 01 - volume 54 chapter 02
Despite losing the match against Kaido, Seishū Highschool was the only team that actually put up a fight against the Koshien champion. As a result, Goro 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", Goro 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.
Goro's Script error fastball (99 mph in anime), while ineffective against Major League sluggers, allowed Goro 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, Goro joined the Memphis Bats, an aggressive but defensively weak baseball team. It was during this time that Goro begin seriously training to fully control his fastball.
In Triple A Goro found a new rival—Joe Gibson Jr, son of Joe Gibson and an outstanding slugger. Junior blamed the death of Goro's birth father as the cause of the tragedy that befell on his own family, and he challenged Goro to a bet: If Junior hit a home run off Goro, Goro is to return to Japan and never set foot on American soil again; On the other hand, if Goro can strike out Junior, then Junior will visit Goro's father's grave and apologize for his insults. Goro 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 Goro. 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 Goro's last pitch, Gibson Jr hit it in the centre of the bat but Goro'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
- Contains: volume 54 chapter 03 - volume 65 chapter 10
After the baseball season was over, Goro returned to Japan. Shimizu finally told Goro her feelings for him, and they became a couple. On the other hand, Goro 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 Goro'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. Goro 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 Goro 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 Goro got the win as the closer.
After the Cuba game, Gibson Jr. revealed to the Team USA's manager as well as Goro that his father, Joe Gibson, had angina pectoris. Junior hoped that the manager and Goro 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 Goro rushed to the hospital to see Gibson. Gibson revealed to Goro 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 Goro grows up, so that Goro 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 Goro. 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 Goro on the mound, he would have failed Goro and Momoko. Goro comforted Gibson, telling him that he had done enough, and to just watch Goro 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 Goro in the 8th inning to protect their remaining 1 run lead, but Junior scored a home run off Goro's Script error fast ball. The game went into extra innings, and Gibson walked onto the mound again, determined to lead USA to victory. But Goro was very determined to strike out Gibson Jr.. And Goro pitched his fastest pitch in his life at Script error. But Gibson Jr scored a home run from that pitch which made USA the champions of the Baseball World Cup.
Major League Baseball
- Contains: volume 66 chapter 01 -
As the new MLB season began, Goro 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 Goro from voluntarily stepping off the mound, gambling on the chance that Goro can overcome his fears with a new success. Unfortunately, Goro ended up throwing at the batter in the head, and was ejected by the umpire. In his third game Goro 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 Goro's defeat at the hands of Gibson Jr. was the cause of his yips, the Hornets sent Goro to Billy Oliver, a sports psychologist, for treatment. After Goro recovers from his yips, he can't pitch like he used to. His teammate Watts said that he would only be effective against really weak teams. Later on, Gibson retires after getting defeated by Goro's home run and the Hornet's. In Gibson's contract, his departure was treated as voluntary retirement, but in reaity 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 goro to challenge him again.
- Goro Honda (本田 吾郎 Honda Gorō?) / Goro Shigeno (茂野 吾郎 Shigeno Gorō?)
- Voiced by: Motoko Kumai (Season 1) - Showtaro Morikubo (Rest of the anime)
- The story's main character, Honda Goro 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, it was only baseball and his father he had 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. Goro believes the only way to make his father happy and forgot baseball was to become a pro baseball player himself. Though tragedy was given on Goro, at the age of 5 he had lost his mother and now his father after a horrible accident in a game against Major league Joe Gibson. Though he never really had a grudge against Gibson for the accident, Goro decided he would join the Major League someday and challenge Gibson. He was then being taken care of by Momoko, who was Goro's teacher and his father's new lover. After Momoko and Hideki married, Goro's name was changed to Shigeno Goro. He initially pitched right handed, but blew out his shoulder in senior little league. Though by the influence of Shigeno Hideki he switched to left-hand pitching (Southpaw). In junior high school he played under Mifune East, there he saw some old childfriends Komori, Shimizu and Sawamura. At first when Goro joined the baseball club of Mifune East, it was known to be one of the worst team around the area. Though after Goro came and solved some old problems the team had, 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, Goro 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, Goro 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 is an up and coming baseball pitcher for the Marine Stars. He s a widower and lives with his son Goro. 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 Goro'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 Goro's nursery school teacher when he was younger. After Goro left nursery school she dated his dad Shigeharu and was engaged to him at the time of his death. She adopted Goro 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 at first Sato was a boy who was focused by his mother to focus on his studies to become a responsible adult. Though while Goro was playing catch by himself one time, he saw Toshi staring from his window. At first Toshi did not want to play catch with Goro. Tough Goro went to the front door of toshi's house and basicly grabbed Toshi out of the house to play with him and then Toshi was shown how to play baseball. He develops a love of the game equal to Goro and becomes a talented catcher. He plays as the catcher for Yokohama Little League, which is the area's best team. Told by his mother that if he wanted to play baseball, he had to play for the best team. Goro runs into him again (Goro moved away after he was adopted by his father's fiancee') and the two begin a rivalry as strong as their friendship. He plays against Goro 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 Goro would join. Though Toshi had misunderstood Goro's idea, and thought Goro did not want to play baseball with him. After the defeat to Mifune East, Toshi regained his confidence in Goro and wish that they would go to the same High together and defeat Kaido. Though later Goro 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 are team mates with Goro on Kaido's Junior Varsity team for a year and half. During his years in Kaido, Toshi had lost contact with Goro after his departure from Kaido. And when Goro finally meet Toshi again, Toshi had completely forgot of Goro's team thinking they were only just surviving in the tournament. During the match against Seishu Toshi was confidence in defeating Goro's team, though was amazed by Goro pitching seemingly he was injured. Toshiya went on a 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 Goro's help Toshi's confidence slowly increased.
- Kaoru Shimizu (清水薫 Shimizu Kaoru?)
- Kaoru is in Goro's class in elementary school and eventually begins to play little league baseball on the Mifune Dolphins Little League after an argument with Goro where she sees his passion for the game. She was also the first person Goro 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 Goro. 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 Goro introduced it to her. Initially she plans to follow Goro, 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 Goro tells her to follow her love of softball. She attended Seishu High School, the one Goro later attends. She told her litte 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, Goro confesses to Kaoru and they are going out. If Goro was suggested as a baseball fanatic, Shimizu was said to be a softball fanatic.
- Joe Gibson (ジョー・ギブソン?)
- Joe Gibson is the man responsible for the death of Goro'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 an even greater player. Due to this incident, he began to have family probelms 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 Goro, 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."
- Daisuke Komori (小森 大介 Komori Daisuke?)
- 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 Goro and solved the problem. He continued to catch for Goro when he returned from Fukuoka in Mifune East Middle School but ended when Mayumura eliminated them single-handedly in their game with Kaido Unified. In season 3 where Goro left Kaido and entered Seishuu, they become rivals where Goro eventually won. After High school, Komori went on to play for his Uni as their pinch hitter so far.
- 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 Goro in challenging Kaido. Besides that, he also helped to take over the mound when Goro 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 Goro 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 Goro told him that he should make a team that suited him rather than follow in Goro's footsteps. His 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. Goro and Shimizu stand up to him and he eventually backs down after Goro 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 Goro if he can play baseball with him, Shimizu and Komori. He start of playing soccer but changes to baseball so he could play in the little league with Goro and the others. In middle high, he went back to soccer and was the captain of the team. Though in season 5, we learn that he injured his knee and couldn't continue playing. He remains friends with Komori, Shimizu, and Goro.
- 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 then frighten all the other players into quitting too. When Goro 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. Goro, 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. In which 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 Goro. 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 Goro 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 isforward attitude. His personality is very direct and to the point, often times 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. His goals are to achieve all possible individual achievements in Japanese Baseball before moving onto the Majors. He currently plays for NPB's Yokohama Blue Oceans[Anime]/Orix Blue Wave[Manga] as a starting pitcher.
- 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
- 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
- Opening (episodes 53-77): "Play the Game" by Road of Major
- Ending (episodes 53-67): "Strike Party!!!" by Beforu
- Ending (episodes 68-77): "Yoru ni Nareba" by The Loose Dogs
- Ending (episode 78): "Play the Game" by Road of Major
- 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" by The Loose Dogs feat. Maki Oguro and Showtaro Morikubo (Goro Shigeno)
- Ending (episode 104): "Rise" by Ootomo Kouhei
- 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
- Ending (episode 129):"Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by Road of Major
- Opening (episode 131-): "Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by TRIPLANE
- Ending (episode 130-): "Twilight Star" by Twilight Star by Megamasso
- Ending: "Tsubasa" by Remioromen
Differences between the manga and anime version
- 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. Goro 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 Goro with his injured hand.
- When Goro 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 Goro and Toshiya began school in Kaido.
- Major Official website by Shōnen Sunday (Japanese)
- Major Official website by NHK (Japanese)
- Major: Dramatic Baseball Movie Official website for the movie (Japanese)
- Some Major Coverage at SimCentral.NET
- Major AnimeNewsNetwork episode list