One Outs

The Boring Info The Characters The Terms The Songs The Opinion
Tokuchi Toua
Kojima Hiromichi
Owner
One Outs Contract Bury
Moment


The Animoo

Kojima Hiromichi is the clean-up batter (the 4th one to bat in the rotation and usually the strongest batter on the team) for the professional baseball team, the Lycaons. Thirty years prior to the main storyline, the team had their very first Japan Series Championship, but has since then fallen into a slump and become the worst team in the baseball series. Kojima, despite his amazing talent for batting which have earned him several awards, has never been able to win the championship with his team, which had earned him the nickname of the “unlucky genius batter.”

While on a mini-training camp in Okinawa, Kojima’s life was to forever change when he encounters Tokuchi Toua, the undefeated king of the game called “One Outs”, a one-on-one duel between a pitcher and batter. Despite only throwing relatively slow fastballs at easy courses, Tokuchi could seemingly read the mental state of his opponent and create a trap from their intentions, thus always coming out on top. But in the battle between the pitching prodigy and the genius batter, how would Tokuchi fare..?


The Boring Info

The anime is 25 episodes long and based on the manga by Shinobu Kaitani of the same name.
The anime ends long before the championship finals which has caused many fans to demand a second season. I heard a rumour one such being in the works, but honestly think it was just wishful thinking. I, personally, would have loved for the story to have gone on. I actually don’t even know how the manga ends :/
It was announced that Shinobu Kaitani, the mangaka of One Outs, was going to relaunch One Outs in time for the premier of the anime in October last year. I have however been unable to find any information regarding its progress.
A man bearing likeness to Owner (as well as having the same family name) appeared in the second chapter of Liar Game – Roots of A, another manga by Shinobu.


The Characters

In snack-sized bits. Click names to see images.
Tokachi Toua – Tokuchi is a fearsome pitcher who, despite never throwing any breaking balls (it’s not that he doesn’t know how, he just opts not to) and having a fastball of only about 120 km/h (which is rather slow for a fastball, which is usually +150 km/h), he has never lost in a game of One Outs (a ‘duel’ between pitcher and batter). By the time he faces off against Kojima for the first time, he had the impressive record of 498 straight wins, 0 losses. He achieved this amazing record from his incredible insight of the human psyche and unwavering spirit (which he honed through a life of gambling) and his ability to induce chaos into the minds of his opponents. He is extremely observant of things regular people would pay little to no attention to, which makes him all the more fearsome.

Kojima Hiromichi – Kojima is the cleanup batter for the Lycaons and an amazing baseball player whose batting talent has been recognized by many top teams as well as the baseball federation. In his 21 years with the Lycaons, he has been awarded “Rookie of the Year“, “RBI Leader” (seven times), “Home Run King” (five times), “Batting King” (eight times), and “Triple Crown Winner” (twice). Despite this, he has never been able to win the Championship with his team. It is on Kojima’s recommendation that Tokuchi is allowed to join the team.

Owner – The owner of the Lycaons. I honestly forgot his name since he’s only refered to as “owner” anyway. Anywho, despite being the owner of the Lycaons, he couldn’t care less about how they perform as long as they rack in the dough. To him, the team is just a way of making money and outweighing the losses from his other businesses (due to the recession of the 90s). Since signing on Tokuchi to the team and losing vast amounts of money due to Tokuchi’s salary contract, he tries to sabotage Tokuchi at every chance he gets, e.g. by making him pitch all innings in three consecutive games, in order to earn his money back.


The Terms

One Outs Contract
The One Outs contract, referred to also as simply “the contract”, is a 100% performance based contract rooted in gambling concerning Tokuchi’s salary for the year (as opposed to a ‘fixed’ yearly salary). It relates directly to the amount of outs he scores versus the amount of runs he gives up. For each out he earns, he earns 5 million yen to his salary, while for each run he gives up, he must pay 50 million yen (which would’ve left 80% or more real-life pitchers in debt back in 1996). When the initial contract was made, this was all it says, but after the first game where Tokuchi shut out 21 players (earning him 105 million yen), the subsequent perfect game (no batter of the opposing team reaching a base) and remaining pre-season matches, the owner added the following clauses to the contract for sake of ‘clarification’:

1) Always follow orders from the dugout (i.e. pitch when told to pitch, regardless of situation or time, stop only when told to stop). Breaking the clause results in a fine in the amount of 500 million yen. Being unable to follow orders due to own negligence (e.g. being thrown out of the game by the umpire or being sick or injured or anything else that prevents Tokuchi from pitching when he is asked to pitch) still results in the fine.

2) A run is any run, not just an earned run. This essentially makes Tokuchi responsible for all runs lost during the time he is on the mound, even if e.g. it is by defensive error (the ball passing a field player or a player dropping the ball or similar which gives the runner more time to reach the plate).

3) The contract rate can be adjusted depending on the importance of the game. While the ratio remains at 1:10, the rate can go up or down depending on how important winning the game is for the team’s standing in the league. E.g. for an unimportant game, it can drop to 2.5 million yen per out vs 25 million yen per run while for an important game it can be 20 million yen per out vs 200 million yen per run. The owner will decide this prior to each game and phone it in.

4) Do not reveal the existence of the One Outs contract to anyone. Breaking this clause invalidates whatever was earned up to that point as well as induces a fine of 500 million yen.


The Songs

Bury
Bury is performed by Pay money To my Pain, also referred to simply as P.T.P. The song is sung completely in English which is apparently the modus operandi of this nu metal band. I loved it from the moment I heard it and opted to hear it every time I watched a new episode, rather than just skipping it. Some of you may even recognize it as the song that made it to number 1 in Music of the Moment #8. I can’t really explain why I like it; I think it isn’t so much the meaning of the lyrics as it is the music and the way it is sung that just appeals to me somehow. Even now, more than 6 months after hearing it for the first time, I still listen to it on a daily basis.

Moment
Moment is performed by Tribal Chair. It stays in the same genre and mood of the intro, and it is in all respects a good song, but for some reason it just didn’t appeal to me in the same way that Bury did.


The Opinion

It. Was. AWESOME!! I actually watched it ages ago, while it was still airing on Japanese TV, but didn’t write a review becaaaaause… Well, I kinda forgot and then assumed I already had written one since I planned on doing it the day after the last episode aired, so yeah ^^’ Anyway, I re-watched it just recently and I still think it’s amazingly awesome! It is probably on of my favourite anime ever, second only to Bartender, and a very close second at that! The first two-three episodes might be a bit slow, but will give you a decent idea of what will be in store for you. It then picks up the pace with the remaining episodes being brilliantly thought out and exciting to watch (the third in-season game between the Lycaons and the Mariners being my absolute favourite since it was so extremely far from conventional [boring] baseball).

The first thing people will notice is probably just how much Yoichi Hiruma of Eyeshield 21 physically, and to some extent mentally, resembles Tokuchi (at least that’s what I did, though I never noticed all the other resemblences). And just for the record, it’s Hiruma who looks like Tokuchi, not the other way around; the One Outs manga pre-dates Eyeshield 21 by half a decade (get it right, people! >:3). Anywho, the awesomeness of Tokuchi does not end there; he has the same type of insight in the human psyche as Akagi from Akagi, and whenever he ‘does his thing’, the anime gets the same atmosphere of “O.O!!“-suspense as in Kaiji. So if you loved either of those shows, then you should definitely watch this one (or vice versa)! Coincidentally, the same seiyuu voices all three characters (Akagi, Kaiji, and Tokuchi).

Now, I don’t usually watch sports anime for the same reason I don’t usually watch real sports on TV; I find it mind-numbingly boring. One Outs, however, breaks the mold of more conventional baseball anime, like e.g. Major (where coincidentally, the main character also didn’t throw anything other than a fastball, at least not for the first 4-5 seasons), since rather than relying purely on throwing strength or a wide variety of throws, psychology and mind games play major parts in defeating the other team. This makes the show that much more interesting since traditional baseball, for me, is just a bunch of guys hitting a ball and running in diamond, some being a bit luckier or more talented than others. Sure, it’s fun to play, but as an audience member, it’s so extremely boring and uniform that it makes you want to knock yourself out and spare yourself the agony. One Outs, however, manages to keep it fresh by always adding different challenges and obstacles that must be approached in new and different ways, often requiring taking unusual advantage of the rules or thinking way outside the box.

Sure, the show ‘lacks’ a few things; there isn’t any real depth to the characters, there’s no fan-service for all the closet-perverts, no life-altering themes, and so on. But the thing is, you don’t really miss any of it and adding it would seriously screw over the show. All those things are to One Outs what breaking balls are to Tokuchi’s throwing arsenal; completely unnecessary. You watch the series for essentially one reason and one reason only: You want to see Tokuchi do his thing and completely destroy the other team. Nobody wins, but him >:3

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