Now there are plenty of good sports series out there. Off the top of my head, we have Slam Dunk, Capeta, Major, Hajime no Ippo, Ookiku Furikabutte and many others, like Adachi’s 2000 various series. And then we have some mediocre but somewhat watchable/readable ones, like Bamboo Blade, Beach Star, Dear Boys etc. There’s also the rubbish disgusting toilet paper they call Prince of Tennis but let us not offend ourselves by talking about it. Major and Hajime no Ippo are both very good, simply because they are very very long. I’ve just finished the latest chapter of Ippo, practically marathoning the whole manga over a week. 859 chapters so far, making the likes of Naruto look like a one-shot issue. Major isn’t far off, with 71 full volumes. In fact, since Major started in 1994 and Ippo in 1989, Major actually has a far greater speed of release for some reason. Both of these series chart main characters’ growth from fledgling to full pro, unlike most other sports series which focuses on school sports. The thing about sports series is that the longer they are, the better, since we don’t really want any conclusion other than retirement, after which I demand to see them taking up a coaching role.
The most best part of a sports’ series is almost always the phase after they have gotten somewhat good but still not that good and have yet to be tarnished by money, in other words, the amateur phase. That’s why Major season 4, which featured Goro alone in the minor leagues, was a letdown compared to all the other ones. Major the Movie shows the sequence of events which lead up to Goro’s conversion into a southpaw, which was never shown in the anime.
The animation is far better than the TV anime, no shit, with little to no reusing of stock footage. The matches were exciting and touching as usual and there were some good old man-rivalry and underdog spirit. In other words, all the ingredients of a sports epic, including the token girl crush with no end result. For some reason, the top-selling sports series always feature heroines who are little more than wall-paper, see Slam Dunk, Capeta, Major, Hajime and Ippo etc all have females who hang around and are romantically linked with the protagonist yet do not really do the romancy stuff like in Cross Game or H2.
Think of the Major movie was one giant episode skilfully paced and cramming a single season of Major goodness into one movie, fans won’t be disappointed! But then again, out of the anime bloggers, I seem to count only Double and myself as Major fans. The other anime bloggers are not into sports, except stupid jock bloggers like this Oballer guy who I shan’t link to because we shouldn’t dirty your eyes with his lousy blog that claims Black Blood Brothers and Chrome-shelled Regios are top 10 anime in history.