I can't claim to know much about sports anime in general since the Major series is my only experience but, in my opinion, not only is this an excellent sports anime, but it's an excellent anime full stop. Major's plot throughout is not just satisfying, but thrilling; it goes beyond setting some guy against a bunch of better guys with Rocky-style training montages in between, and instead adds layers of deep characterisation and heart-wrenching back story.
The idea is essentially about Goro Honda trying desperately to follow in his father's footsteps, but it is the intense positivity and gusto with which the plot pushes forward that makes this anime stand out from the rest. The greatness of Major is that it teaches us not just how to overcome obstacles in the way of our ambitions, but to leap over personal hurdles too; often, lessons learned during baseball matches or training can be transplanted onto life problems and vice versa. Naturally, there is not one problem Goro overcomes that doesn't allow him to grow as a person as well.
As for the sport itself, I have never had any interest in baseball whatsoever, let alone Little League baseball. I've always considered it a glorified version of rounders and it would be an exaggeration to say Major has suddenly made me want to pick up a bat (although I confess I have since traded in my girly throwing style for a manly over-the-head one). However, when watching the series, you suddenly find yourself paying attention to the rules, the abilities of certain players, the order of the batters, you watch the umpire like a hawk as he hesitatingly decides whether it's an out or a safe, and you cheer or rant despite yourself depending on the result. You also enjoy the fact that you know about these things, and for 24 minutes you care about nothing else but the game. Of course there are times when the series flashes its artistic licence, but on the whole Major feels very well researched; it is real enough to make you believe whilst adding that little bit extra to hold your attention.
On top of all this, given the nature of the anime, one would assume that it lacked rewatchability. That assumption would be wrong, for Major carries intricacies of ‘lessons' and characterisation that can be picked up again and again.
Major's animation isn't outstanding because it isn't meant to be eye candy, but when compared to its more recent counterpart, it seems to have remained quite undated because of this. It has enough detail to make each character look unique, and it's well-funded enough to ensure movement is smooth and well timed. The most effort has obviously gone towards game sequences because they have to look stylish and exciting, however, even I wasn't prepared for the realism of movement when it came to fielding, batting, and especially pitching. There's no leaping fifteen feet in the air or flying silly distances, and if Goro is wounded he will limp. I could easily imagine animators watching countless videos of real-life games, capturing all the different movements. It made for edge-of-the-seat action.
The high score is due to the voice acting, which is well-paced, believable and always fitting to the character. My favourite has to be Goro's father because he conveys passion for the sport and tenderness for his son so well. As for the soundtrack, the opening theme pretty much carries it. It's catchy and launches the victorious energy of the series very well. The rest of the soundtrack is just background noise to enhance the mood, whether comic, tragic, thoughtful, or tense; I personally like the tense moments in the games, when an electric guitar rocks it out arena style.
This is really the part that pushes the series to excellence because, without it, none of the other goodies on offer would be half as entertaining. Goro is not just an ace baseball player but also a shining example of a human being. Yes, he's a precocious brat, but more importantly, he is a flawed being always striving to improve himself and those around him whilst never losing sight of what he wants. As far as personality goes, Goro is the most charismatic character I have yet come across in anime, with an ability to hold people's attention and win them over despite their reservations. When his words don't sway them, his actions do. As a viewer, it is difficult not to be buoyed and swept along by him.
The relationships Goro forms are dynamic and believable, notably those he shares with his father and his nursery school teacher, Momoko Hoshino. To watch him interact with them is charming; for example, the way he hero-worships his dad, the way his dad does everything to never see his son cry, but also the way Momoko becomes the one to engage with Goro's vulnerable side and later becomes the firm voice which tells him those necessary home truths.
Other notable characters include Kaoru Shimizu, who is prevented from being just the token girl by having her own strong personality, Sato Toshiya, the shy geek inspired by Goro to change the course of his life forever, Komori the victim who finds strength through following the ace, and the entire Mifune team, who would otherwise never have gained such a taste for adventure. Goro is the pillar upon which everything leans but we get to watch so many others change and grow as well.
With great characterisation, gripping conflict, and a pace that's like a steam train without breaks, this series is a must-see. Major should appeal to a broad range of people because it has all the elements necessary to make an enjoyable tale; it's just that it uses the medium of baseball to portray these elements. I suppose if you're a fangirl who's only into dashing romances, flighty bishounen, cute outfits and has a taste for pink hair, then don't bother, but anybody else has no excuse not to watch this series.
Anime about baseball?? Who would've guessed I would ever watch it. But I did. And I'm happy I did.
Originally, I was just looking for some long shonen, since I saw every single one I was interested in. Then I decided to try sport anime, I haven't seen any before. I looked it up and found Major. Even though I knew nothing about baseball, I liked it.
Major practically tells whole life of baseball player, but in Season 1 it's about a little boy, Goro Honda. Since his mother died, Goro has been living with only his father, Shigeharu Honda, a pro baseball player. Goro shows a great interest and talent for baseball, but life isn't going to be easy. He actually had no one to play with until he met Toshiya Sato, a nerdy boy of the same age. But the again,life isn't going to be easy on them.
When Goro is 9, he has to revive Mifune Little Leage. It's not an easy task, but Goro isn't going to give up.
I liked the story. It was interesting, emotional and surprising. I wish I could tell more about it, but then there would be spoiler, and I don't want that. Sometimes I was surprised by the reactions and acts of the characters, but I guess a sport anime can't have a perfect story.
I didn't really like the animation, but it was more than acceptable. It's old, you know? I have to say that parts with baseball were made amazingly good,the movement, it was realistic, but I just don't like little kids in anime, so...well, it was okay XD
At the first sight(heard) I didn't really notice much. But the opening was kinda cool, although it seemed stupid at first. Sound during anime, well, it's average, but I guess it nicely completes whole thing. When they want you to be sad, you cry. When Goro wins, you smile. I guess that's enough. I noticed the sound while baseball matches. Pretty cool XD
It's always characters what we like about anime, right? I'd say that Major isn't different. It was hard for me to actually like 5 years old character, later 9 years old, but surprisingly, I did like them. I liked also Goro's father, Honda. I guess the characters are supposed to be a normal people, like us, but unfortunately, I have seen just one character that actually was normal in whole anime history(Shinji Ikari from NGE). But I think that's what we like about anime characters, so you can freely like Goro, Toshiya, Honda, Momoko, Shimizu, Komori and the others. Sometimes, I thought that 5 years old Goro acted too much like and adult, but it dissapeared when he was 9. I can't really say much about it, since I personally would never divide anime as Major in parts. Because when I watched older Goro and others in later series, the image of the little ones was kinda rewritten, so I don't really know what to say about them only from season 1.
Hm, let's say...watch it. You know, even if you don't like sport anime, I higly recommend Major to you. It's good, it's entertaining, it's simply great. I liked it a lot. Of course, season 1 isn't enough, so keep going forward with Goro XD XD You'll be surprised how big fan of baseball you'll become XD
P.S.I'm a girl. Yes,I liked sport anime.