Baseball. Boys. Burning youth. Holding hands.
Baseball. Boys. Burning youth. Holding hands.
Do you believe in love at first sight? I've been flailing since I saw the first anime raw and read the first manga chapter. Oofuri is a golden combination: a great sports series and lots of scope for slash.
Ookiku Furikabutte -- Oofuri for short -- is a sports series about a high school baseball team. Mihashi was the starting pitcher at his junior high, not due to skill, but to family connections. He was hated by the rest of the team and, without their support, never developed any self-confidence. Now, at Nishiura High School, he reluctantly joins the baseball team and it's up to Abe, the experienced catcher, to build Mihashi up and turn him into an ace.
I have followed a lot of sports series and this is the first one since Slam Dunk to make me this excited. Unlike most baseball series, Oofuri doesn't focus on the hotshot pitcher. Instead, it's about team work, partnership, pulling together,
First-year student. Pitcher. Insecure. Cute as a bug's ear. He's carrying a lot of guilt about his junior high baseball career and it's going to take a lot of effort from Abe to give him confidence. I want to hug Mihashi every time I see him.
First year student. Catcher. A bit reserved. He's the game-maker, the one who makes the decisions, and I love that SO much. He knows that he can make an ace pitcher out of Mihashi but it's going to take more than just practice on the field...
If the series were just about Battery Bonding, that would be enough for me to follow it. I like mentor situations, I adore strong pitcher-catcher combinations. But there is more, so much more, to love about Oofuri. For instance:
First-year. Strong batter. A bit of an attitude. Initially, Hanai doesn't want to join the team, but both Abe and Momoe are rather ... convincing. Hanai shaves his head and sports a variety of fashionable headgear. I think he's going to turn out to be the hottest one at Nishiura.
First-year. Bats clean-up. Total spaz. No doubt Hanai will make the attempt to resist his charms, but fail utterly. How could anyone not love Tajima?
Coach. Strong. Scary. Freaking awesome. Momo-kan is enthusiastic to the point of religious ferver. She and Abe don't always see eye to eye about Mihashi, which should lead to some interesting situations.
Math teacher. Advisor. Full of strange and wonderful facts. My boyfriend (fair warning!). Shiga-sensei has many training theories involving psychology, nutrition, biology, and I'm sure many more fascinating subjects.
There are more boys on the team, whom we will get to know in due course, the usual girl manager, and many exciting rival teams to come. (Like in the next few episodes.)
The Oofuri manga, by Asa Higuchi, began in 2004 and is ongoing. In 2006, Oofuri won an Osama Tezuka Cultural award for showing new possibilities of expression in baseball manga. (It was also, from what I've read, voted the number one baseball manga of all time, but I don't know by whom!) It's only recently been picked up for scanlation by Entropy so only a few chapters are available in English so far.
The anime began in April 2007. It's being subbed by Saizen and Entropy as a joint project. I haven't seen anything about the number of episodes, so I'm hoping that means it will run longer than 26 episodes. Like for 200 at least.
Episode 1 subbed - MU
You will need to turn on the subtitles track in your player.
Episode 2 subbed - MU
Episode 3 subbed - MU
Episode 4 raw - MU | summary
Episode 5 raw - MU | summary
Episode 6 raw - MU | summary
Episode 7 raw - MU | summary
Episode 8 raw - MU | summary
Episode 9 raw - MU | summary
Episode 10 raw - MU | summary
Chapter 1 - MU
Chapter 2 - MU
Chapter 3 - MU
Chapter 4 - MU
Chapter 5 - MU
Communities & Sites
oofuri - news & media - lots of good stuff
oofuri_etc - fanworks - fic (here's hoping!), art, icons, doujinshi, discussion, and such
oofuri.com - official anime site
Oofuri fanart sites, collected by keycchou: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Please respect the artists and don't use their work without permission.
Epsiode summaries by Seleria
Why you should watch & read Oofuri
Because it is the BEST THING EVER. *flail* Also:
Oofuri is a great story with a fresh take on sports series, especially baseball. You can enjoy it just for that, but there is so much potential for slash as well, lots of pairings, both with Nishiura and the rival teams. Even though I'm supporting the True Battery Love of Abe & Mihashi, I already have two other Mihashi pairings I'm looking forward to writing. I haven't seen a series with this much pairing potential since Prince of Tennis and I've followed a lot of sports series.
There's not much by way of English fanworks yet but I'm hoping that as the anime and manga become available in English there will be more. In the meantime, there's fanart and doujinshi to keep us going. Jump on the bandwagon with me! We'll ride in the parade!
Please feel free to link to this post!