4.332 out of 5 from 544 votes
Having flown high in the Major Leagues for many years, Goro is suddenly struck with an injury that destroys his pitching arm. Life has always thrown him curveballs, but this time there’s more at stake than just fame and glory – namely, the respect of Goro's kids and their love of baseball. With the hopes of his family weighing on his shoulders and memories of his dead father clearer than ever in his mind, Goro decides on an unusual route back into professional baseball. But is he right to push for an unlikely dream when it compromises his fatherhood, or should Japan’s greatest pitcher admit defeat and finally hang up his glove?
When Koh was eleven years old, he lived a quiet and peaceful life, delivering sporting goods for his family's store and batting frequently at the Tsukishima Batting Center. Though Koh had no interest in baseball, he started the play the sport anyways after a series of events, much to the delight of his best friend, the beautiful Wakaba Tsukishima. However, soon life dealt Koh a tragic turn, changing him forever. Now, years later, Koh attends Seishuu Academy and is soon pulled back into the world of baseball. Alongside Wakaba's talented sister, Aoba; old friend and fighter Nakanishi; and plenty of new teammates and companions, Koh will once more pick up the pitcher's mitt and see if he has what it takes to be a champion.
Major: Message is far heavier on the drama than its predecessors in the franchise. If that's the angle that appeals to you, definitely check out Cross Game. It has strong romance/drama elements that are as important as the baseball, plenty of anguish and personal dilemmas, and excellent characterisation. Importantly, Cross Game's longer running time means the drama can stew and thicken properly rather than resorting to banal cliche.
Ippo Makunouchi is a loser. He has no friends, he spends his free time helping his mom with work, and he's constantly being beaten up by bullies. But that all changes when one day he's saved from another beating by Takamura, an up-and-coming boxer. Soon, Ippo turns his life around with a passion for the newly discovered sport, but his new lifestyle is far from easy! Before he can even dream of becoming champion, he'll have to overcome a slew of fierce rivals and learn what 'dedication' really means.
So you've finished Major and you think you've tasted the best that sports anime can offer? Think again! If you love the drama of Major, then Hajime no Ippo is a must-watch. With inspiring protagonists, tragic backgrounds, and an action-packed plot that never fails to give, you'll find Hajime no Ippo as emotionally gratifying (if not more so) as Major.