A lesser known fact: Baseball is big in Japan. In fact, it's basically the equivalent of College Football in the United States. So when I saw a Japanese Anime (my favorite entertainment form) about baseball (my favorite sport) how could I say no?
Ace of the Diamond is the story of Eijun Sawamura, a young boy who was the Ace (or top player) of his (pretty bad) middle school baseball team. Despite completely choking on the mound in the last game of the season. While he wasn't the greatest player, his spirit and love of the game catches the eye of a recruiter for Seidou High School. Seidou is one of the most intense baseball schools in all of Japan, and places on the team have to be warned by young candidates, even if they received a scholarship to play baseball!
The young (and not so bright) Sawamura, is offered a scholarship to go to Seidou. While he doesn't really want to play on a team more focused on winning than fun, he has the desire to win a championship. In addition to this, his entire family realized that because of his low grades (and arguably intellect), it really is his only chance at continuing his education and convince him to go.
When Sawamura arrives, he discovers that his dream won't come easy. He is surrounded by some of the best youth ball players in all of Japan. Many of whom are destined to become pros. Not only do the others have more experience than him, there are dozens of kids trying to earn a spot on the team, and the ruthless coach only takes those he believes has the most potential to play on the team.
While this story centers around Sawamura’s personal growth as a young man and a player, there are numerous stories interwoven into the series of his lovable teammates and rivals. In addition to this, while there is a “romantic interest” of our main character, the focus of this show centers around the camaraderie of the Seidou High Baseball team. In addition to this, the show teaches a number of helpful baseball tips, rules, and terms.
The drawback about this show: if you aren't a baseball fan, you won't really get anything out of it. Much like the game of baseball, many believe this series is too slow with it's two seasons combined having over 120 episodes. In addition to this, there is a big upset near the end of the first season that many become infuriated by.
Overall I give Ace of Diamond a three out of five. While it's a must watch for baseball fans, I definitely believe that normies may find some entertainment, but most likely won't finish a season… kind of like real baseball. Good news for any fans of this series: a second volume is set to release in 2019!
Anime Release Year: 2013
Director: Mitsuyuki Masuhara
Writer: Takeshi Konuta
Studio: Madhouse Production
Watch It On: Crunchyroll
Final Score: 3 out of 5