|Source: One Outs Wiki|
Hiromichi Kojima is a famous baseball player who plays for a weak team called the Lycaons. Once during his practice trip in Okinawa, he encounters a man named Tokouchi Toua who has never lost in a street version of baseball called “One outs”. The rules are simple, the batter has to get a hit or the pitcher has to strike him out while the people around them wager their money. Playing against Tokouchi, Kojima realised that Tokouchi could be the one to lead his "bottom of the ladder" team to the championship. Kojima forces Tokouchi to join the team against the wish of his team owner. To make things interesting, the owner and Tokouchi sign a secret “One Outs” contract according to which Tokouchi earns 5 million Yen for each out he gets, but looses 50 million Yen for each run he gives.
Before I go on any further, I need to mention here that I had little knowledge of baseball so if you are having doubts about watching one outs for this reason, please be at ease as all the rules and terminologies are explained by the narrator with visual examples in the anime.
Imagine Light Yagami or L from Deathnote playing baseball, because that is what One outs is, the only difference being that Tokouchi might be smarter than both L and Light.
The story got my attention when I read about the “One outs” contract, +5 mill for out and -50 mill for a run, just imagining this scenario was enough for me to get myself to watch this anime. Even more interesting is that the Owner could change rates according to the game, which means that if he decides the rate to be 20x, Tokouchi gets 100 mill for an out and –1 billion for each run he gives.
The various plot twists in the story never make it feel boring. Each episode is a challenge for Tokouchi, as he has to overcome impossible winning scenarios and a single mistake could destroy him and his career. Playing for the weakest team in series, he has to constantly asses the situation before deciding his next move. There is not much to story but the fight between owner who wants to destroy Tokouchi and Tokouchi, who is just stuck in the team. The fight is similar to that of L and Light of Deathnote i.e. a fight that is very interesting.
Now the characters in One Outs are not very deep. Only a few of them are given enough screen time and virtually there is no character development at all as the events in the anime take over a short period of time. Tokouchi, the main character is a master manipulator and a very good observer who has the ability to easily adapt to all the changes in the game. He easily reads the flow of game to predict his opponent’s next move. Also, by now you might be thinking that Tokouchi is a professional pitcher but that is not the case. Though he has the capability of altering spins on his fastballs, that is all he can throw. His fastballs aren’t fast enough and could be easily hit by even a high-school rookie, still he manages to easily strike out professional players using nothing but manipulation and his brilliant skill of being able to read his opponent. His character is somewhat similar to Light (Deathnote), the difference is that he maintains his cool all the time and always has a plan to counter any situation, he could even trick his opponent exploiting their strengths. There is a lot about Tokouchi to be said, but still he remains a mysterious character till the very end. Other characters in series include the Owner of team Saikawa, who is a man of his word and will do anything o destroy Tokouchi. Kojima, the pinch hitter for Lycaons is the only other well explored character. He is the only man who was able to stand against Tokouchi, his conviction made him to overthrow his pride and overcome his formidable first opponent in his final game of One outs.
The art in One Outs is really well doneand all the characters are well made. Though many fans who like those large big eyes might be disappointed, as the characters are made to resemble real humans. The music is also a delight for the ear. The opening is in English so you can play it loudly without any mean comments from other people.
One thing that I really like about One outs is that it has unexpectable twists in each episode. Trying to analyze and predict future events is a sheer wast of one’s brain cells. Although there will be times when you will be able to predict the outcome but the probability of that happening is low. For me it was more than enough to satisfy my inner Sherlock Holmes.
Although One Outs is a very good anime, it still has its drawbacks. The major problem lies with character development. To begin with, let me reveal that we are not told anything related to Tokouchi’s past, in-fact most of the characters are left untouched. Another problem is that in a certain episode, even a fool could points out what was happening but still the characters including Tokouchi had struggle figuring it out.
In the end, One Outs is a deep psychological warfare that combines sports elements and shows how logic can make one achieve success. I found it a perfect anime that has the tendency to give a good competition to Deathnote. Although, the characters might lack depth, they are still well made and play their role. So in my book, One outs is an amazing anime that one must watch at least once in his life.
Who would watch one Outs?
Psychological and sports fan will immediately connect to one outs. People who are more character oriented might get a bit upset but would still love the MC.