Secret Santa Project 2013 – One Outs
So since I’m back home again I decided to participate in this year’s Secret Santa project organised by Reverse Thieves – because I appear to love attempting to write all the posts ever at the end of the year when I’m insanely busy. The concept is simple; you get three series recommended to you by an anonymous blogger based on your anime list, and you have to review at least one of them before Christmas Day. Somehow despite my best intentions I’ve ended up cutting it rather close again this year and only managed to watch the one show.
The three shows I was given were One Outs, Overdrive and Space Battleship Yamato 2199 – so I didn’t do too badly at all (even if they’re all 2 cours shows), so thank you Secret Santa for not being evil and suggesting crap for me! I wanted to watch both One Outs & Yamato 2199, but could only manage to get One Outs completed – will get to Yamato when shortly though. Anyway, on to the actual review.
I opted for One Outs first because it is a show I’ve been meaning to get back to since it aired back in 2008 – I had watched the first episode, enjoyed it, but realised I would prefer to marathon it and so collected all the episodes, but never got round to actually watching the show. So thank you Secret Santa for providing the extra push to finally get round to watching this great show.
One Outs is a baseball series which is less about the spirit of teamwork overcoming the odds and more about psychological warfare and outsmarting the opposing team and/or breaking their star players. It’s not exactly typical of the sports anime genre. One Outs is more along the lines of Death Note, Kaiji or Akagi with more emphasis on mind-games and trickery than fair-play, and with absolute dependence on the intelligence of its lead.
One Outs is actually pretty shallow and relies solely on its main character to carry it. It is exceptionally fortunate then that Tokuchi Toua is such a charismatic and compelling lead! Tokuchi is what makes One Outs worth watching – seeing how he overcomes each challenge and crushes his opponent’s spirits like so many discarded cigarette butts, is a thing of beauty. Tokuchi never seems to struggle, doesn’t ever get flustered and indeed seems to be in his element when things seem to be going down the shitter. He is one scary bastard and all the more fecking awesome because of it. It is no secret that characters like Tokuchi are my all time favourites – hooray for egotistical bastards!
The series does have pacing issues and after 25 episodes we’re not even a fraction of the way through the journey to the championship games. I struggled to watch more than 4 episodes in a single sitting, because it does require you to pay attention to appreciate the mind-games Tokuchi is playing….and to get a grasp on the maths….I suck at math. Although saying that I think watching it weekly would have been even more painful, at least I never had to wait to see how Tokuchi overcame the latest challenge.
Visually this is a pretty good looking show – very obviously Madhouse with strong direction even if on a relatively small budget. Character designs aren’t the prettiest, but they are very distinctive and no two characters look alike. The soundtrack is glorious – a fantastic jazzy affair that I need in my life right now, and the voice acting is also top-notch.
So yes I really enjoyed One Outs and ended up giving it 8/10 – you need to be in the mood for this kind of psychological gambling show, but it is rewarding to watch when you are.