From playing a game of catch to save the world, to settling old rivalries with pitches, baseball theme episodes are a staple for anime. Almost as iconic as beach episodes, they often provide a step away from the main story to see our favorite characters (villain or hero) battling it out in an almost friendly competition. Some episodes are a comedy riot, while others provide a chance to connect deeper with characters and their past. With our batter up, let’s get into which baseball episodes were a home run!
Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 21
Jujutsu Kaisen is a show that almost never lets up with non-stop action and nail-biting moments, so taking a moment to relax with some baseball is just what the doctor ordered. Despite the attack on Jujutsu High, the students agree to continue the exchange event and for the second and final part they’ll be battling it out on the baseball field. The episode has some truly amazing moments, and some so funny we had to pause the show because we couldn’t stop laughing. Toudou and Itadori together are just comedy gold! The icing on the cake were the character bio overlays that came on screen as each character went to bat. Each one just a quick, yet often cheeky insight into the character – I don’t think we’ll get over Panda’s dream to punch a zebra one day. After fighting tooth and nail we’re glad to see our favorite characters having a bit of fun before they get thrown into yet another mess in the next arc of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Dorohedoro Episode 7
After seeing his friend brutally killed by Caiman, Fujita wants revenge. And what better way to settle the score than a baseball game! With sorcerers Fujita and Ebisu on one team and Caiman, Nikaido and others on the other, it’s no surprise the game quickly devolves into sabotage and crazy antics. Without a doubt, Dorohedoro‘s baseball episode encapsulates the brilliant randomness of the series – we mean, what other show would you see a giant cockroach chasing someone in a shark mascot costume? But underscoring this, Dorohedoro never fails to paint a picture of its very bleak and harrowing world. We see shots of sorcerers’ bodies hanging over the hazardous baseball field and in the magician’s world, chaos ensues when one goes on a rampage. On first look, it’s easy to almost get lost in the chaos of this episode, one moment Ebisu will be doing a cute cheer and the next someone explodes. But if you stick with it, all these seemingly random moments culminate into a bloody fun episode.
Clannad After Story Episode 1
While summer vacation is over, the fun never stops as Tomoya is tasked with forming a baseball team by Nagisa’s father. It’s a high stakes game with the pride of the town on the line, but that doesn’t stop the group from having quite a few laughs. Being the first episode of the new season, we’re slowly eased back into the world of Clannad, but that doesn’t mean it pulls its emotional punches. In one particularly memorable moment, Yusuke makes a big speech about ‘gifting’ the kids memories by winning the game, and in one way or another all the characters really do make lifelong memories. Two characters have the chance to spend the day with their respective idols, Nagisa, despite her nerves is supported by her teammates, and Tomoya is encouraged to push himself despite fears around a traumatic shoulder injury. It’s a heartwarming baseball episode that perfectly encapsulates the warmth and joys of summer.
Brand New Animal Episode 5
Michiru attends a baseball match but gets more than she bargains for when she’s nominated to be the losing team’s new pitcher. But baseball isn’t just a game for the residents of Anima-City, players put their lives on the line as gambling and fixed games dictate their livelihoods. Michiru has her work cut out for her not only to help these underdogs get a win but also break them out of a vicious cycle. While the episode may feel like a frustrating diversion from the show’s overall plot it’s a dark vignette into insidious aspects of the lives of Anima-City’s residents – the corruption, poverty and struggles. The dark themes almost clash with the show’s often bright colour palette and pretty adorable designs. But in a sense that makes those shocking scenes hit all the more harder. This is an episode with a lot of heart teaching us that dreams can’t be bought, and will have you cheering with its final scenes.
Gundam Build Fighters Episode 13
It’s the third round of the Gunpla Battle World Championships, and contestants have to rely on the luck of the draw to see what weapon they’ll use in their one-on-one battles. As we see characters face off with spray paint, swords and guns, the anticipation builds for our heroes, Reiji and Sei’s turn. But when they finally open their mystery box, inside…there’s a baseball glove!? While seeing Gundam suits play baseball borders on the absurd, Gundam Build Fighters manages to perfectly balance the humor of the scene with the tension of the competition. Facing off against a top contestant, characters put everything on the line to score in this match. Just like the audience in the show, we couldn’t help but grip our seats as balls were pitched and wince as Reiji struggled with his wrist injury. Of course, we can’t forget the epic animation that accompanies each throw and hit – let’s just say, you’ve never seen baseball like this before!
Angel Beats! Episode 4
Yep, we have another Key anime adaptation, but let’s be honest – they really do have the best baseball episodes. A new day means a new battle against Tenshi and the strange Afterlife the characters of the the Afterlife Battlefront group find themselves in. This time, the battle takes place on the baseball field as the group seeks to best Tenshi and the NPCs at their idea of a youthful pastime. The episode goes just about as well as you’d expect of an Angel Beats! Episode with a lot of gags and ridiculous moments from a baseball team of self-proclaimed idiots. But when Hinata finds the game is a way for him to relive and conquer one of his biggest regrets, it takes on a much more sombre tone. Yet, another episode from Angel Beats! That manages to pull at the heart strings and get you heavily invested in every single character that appears on screen – no matter how fleeting they are.
While baseball episodes can sometimes feel like they come out of left field, they can also be the perfect way to bring characters together. For the audience, we have a chance to see our favorites in a new light and even the most inconspicuous character can be the comedy star. As we see characters coming together and making lifelong memories, you can’t help but appreciate the wholesomeness of these episodes, and, excuse the cheesy pun, it makes these episodes an unmissable catch.