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Major is an ongoing sports manga series by Takuya Mitsuda. It is serialized in Shōnen Sunday and has been collected in 71 tankōbon volumes to date, with serialized chapters up to the equivalent of volume 72. In 1996, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen.

The series has been adapted as an anime series produced by NHKmarker and Studio Hibari titled (using katakana instead of the manga's English characters). The first episode was broadcast on November 13, 2004, and is currently in its fifth season. Season five began airing on January 4, 2009. An animated film telling the story between the first and second seasons of the anime was released on December 13, 2008.

Story

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 Shiants 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 Shiants 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 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 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.

Little League

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 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. 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.

Junior High

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 changes his mind after confronting a bully who is threatening one of his friends. 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.

Kaido High School selection

After the tournament, 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 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.

Seishū High School

Contains: volume 33 chapter 03 - volume 46 chapter 10
Goro has returned home after quitting Kaido. Upon his arrival, his mother voices her displeasure with the fact that he did not consult with her about his leaving. She insisted Goro to be accountable for his actions and to accept the responsibility of paying the application fees on which ever schools he chooses to enroll in. Goro's enrollment had been refused by several schools due to the assistant coach of Kaido (Egashira) threatening to sue the other schools. Goro was able to finally avoid Egashira's interference by enrolling in Seishū High. Having been an all girls school until just two years ago, Seishū didn't have a baseball team. Goro enrolls, determined to create a baseball team from scratch. Eventually, Seishū reaches the quarterfinals against Kaido. Despite extending the game into extra innings and striking out both Sato and Mayumura, Goro eventually falls after exhaustion. He loses to Kaido 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 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 anime), and lead his team to victory in the AAA Championship. (In the anime he did this twice)

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 Venezuelamarker and South Koreamarker, 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 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 . But USA won in the very last inning.

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 Keen 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. Soon after Goro recovers from his yips. Later on, Gibson retires after getting defeated by Goro's home run and the Hornet's. (Vol 69)

Goro became a starter and he lead the Hornets to the World Series and faced the Salmons. After becoming the World Series Champion, Goro blew his left shoulder completely. He was rushed to the hospital and everyone came to visit him and thanked him for the great things he had done for the team. After recovering from his injury, Goro finally retired from baseball and married Karou. (Vol 72)

Characters

Main characters

/
(Season 1) - Showtaro Morikubo (Rest of the anime)


The story's main character, Goro Honda is a young talented baseball player. His love of the game stems from his father who played for the Yokohama Marine Stars. 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. After Momoko and Hideki married his name was changed to Goro Shigeno. He initially pitched right handed, but blew out his shoulder in senior little league. In junior high school and high school, he pitches left, but continues to bat right. 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. However, he went to America and joined a Triple A team, the Memphis Bats. During the Baseball World Cup, he replaced the injured pitcher Noro, and played as an excellent closer. 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 is 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 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 tragically dies after being struck in the head by a pitch from Joe Gibson, a pitcher that had come to Japan from the Major Leagues.


/


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.


(Season 1) - Masakazu Morita (Rest of the anime)


Initially a shy boy focused on his studies, Toshiya Sato is basically pulled from his books by Goro and 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. 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. They try out for Kaido High School's baseball team together and are team mates on Kaido's Junior Varsity team for a year and half. Toshiya went on a amazing winning in the Koshien Tournament, joined the Tokyo Warriors team after graduation, 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.




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. In Junior High School she switches to softball and becomes captain of the Mifune East Junior High team. 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. After high school, she attended Kyowa University. During the winter break of her freshman year, Goro confesses to Kaoru and they are going out.


Joe Gibson


Joe Gibson is the killer 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. He continued pitching after the age of 40, and earning over 300 wins. 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.


Supporting characters

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. He continued to catch for Goro when he returned from Fukuoka in Mifune 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.


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. Later on he became the captain of the Seishuu Baseball Team to challenge Kaido once again with his new teammates.


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 remains friends with Komori, Shimizu, and Goro.


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.


Joe Gibson Jr. ("Junior")
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 bat both left and right as a switch hitter. He played for the AAA Oklahoma Falcons, the MLB team Texas Raiders, as well as the USA Team during the Baseball World Cup. He typically fields the third base.


Mayumura Ken
Introduced in season 2, he is initially asked to teach Goro a lesson by Kaido's recruiter for rejecting Kaido during a middle school game between Kaido Unified, and East Mifune. This beating makes him the instant rival of Goro, even though he admires him for his confidence and straight forward 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.


Episode List

First Season



# Title Original airdate


Second Season



# Title Original airdate


Third Season



# Title Original airdate


Fourth Season



# Title Original airdate

Fifth Season



# Title Original airdate

Movie



# Title Original airdate


Music

Season One

  • Opening (episodes 1-26): "Kokoro e (心絵 -- ココロエ)" by Road of Major
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


Season Four

  • Opening (episode 80-): "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


Season Five

  • 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


Movie



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.


  • Ayane
    • 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.


References

  1. Official website by Shōnen Sunday
  2. Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai Official site for Anime series, "Staff and Cast"


External links




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