Professional baseball players doing professional baseball things.

By its cover, Gurazeni looks like a sports anime. You know, the kind of show where there's this main character with a secret ability, who meets a team of players, and they get brushed off as a non-contender until slowly and surely they get better and compete in more and more games before meeting their final challenge, usually in the form of some national tournament. The standard high school sports anime.

That's not the kind of show Gurazeni is at all, though. Gurazeni is not a sports anime. It is a show about what it's like to survive in an industry like baseball, the path towards achieving financial success by playing sports, and everything in-between. Instead of treating baseball as a hobby, Gurazeni (and all the characters within) treat baseball as a job. After all, Gurazeni isn't dealing with high schoolers trying to win a tournament; it's dealing with adults that call this their profession.


The main character, Bonda, is a LOOGY [1] that's been in the league for eight years. His quest is not to win or to get a championship. His quest is to make more money than what he's making right now. Striking out a batter is just a step toward getting a raise. Catching a foul ball is a ticket to a bigger payday. This might paint a picture of him being a freak about money, but that's... kinda the point of his character.

As a result, the show isn't really about baseball as much as it is Bonda's ambition to make more money. The show drops some baseball terminology here and there, and you'll need a basic understanding of the sport to really understand what's going on, but that's really all there is to it. This is story about business before it is a story about baseball.

However, I'd be remiss to not mention the two biggest problem areas for the show. The first is the animation: there's just a lot of CG being used, and it's definitely noticeable. If 3D animation doesn't suite your fancy, you might have a hard time watching this show. The other is the style of scriptwriting. There's a lot of monologuing and narration that Bonda does to explain why a situation is important to him, why he's making the choices that he makes, etc. As a result, the show can feel pretty dry to watch. Still, if you like baseball, you're probably used to dry viewing experiences anyway.


Let's be clear about one thing: Gurazeni is not a sports anime. It's a show about a person doing their job and trying to make a living off of it. In many ways, it's a show similar to Bakuman, where the industry is more of a medium toward telling a story of growth. Gurazeni might be less about the personal growth and more about the fiscal growth, though. Regardless, if you go in expecting a sports anime, you will be disappointed. If you go in expecting... not a sports anime, you might find something interesting, especially if you like baseball like I do.

Verdict: Watch if you like professional baseball, or maybe just watch Shirobako

  1. LOOGY = Left-handed One-Out Guy. A southpaw relief pitcher that is really intended to get one, maybe two outs on favorable left-on-left matchups. ↩︎

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