ANIME & MANGA - Article
11:00 - 11th April 2014, by NEO Staff

Ace of Diamond

Eijun Sawamura is a baseball prodigy - but he doesn't know it. He's always loved playing the game though, and, growing up in a small town in Nagano with no formal training, he's developed an unorthodox, unpredictable pitching style. It's this unusual talent that gets him scouted by Tokyo's Seidou High School. Despite the opportunities offered by the prestigious academy and its champion-producing baseball program, Eijun is reluctant to leave his friends behind, bluntly declaring it's the joy of playing and sense of camaraderie with his junior high team that matters most to him.

A visit to the school starts to change his opinion though, particularly when he meets Kazuya Miyuki, an ace catcher. The pair strike up an instant rapport, pairing their skills to teach a lesson to an overbearing bully of a batter. For the first time, Eijun is able to play with someone on his own level, and he finds the experience thrilling. Now conflicted about his future, it's only with the blessing of his hometown friends that he finally agrees to enrol at Seidou - but can his style of play really stand alongside some of the greatest players in Japan?

Outside of sporting conflict tense enough to place the show alongside any shonen action anime (by the end of the first episode, we guarantee you'll be on tenterhooks just to see Eijun throw his first hardball) Ace of Diamond also delights with its 'fish out of water' comedy. Eijun's coarse country upbringing often places him at hilarious odds with his newfound big city brethren, while his lingering doubts about leaving home add the occasional poignant moment.

Yuji Terajima's original Ace of Diamond manga has been running in the pages of Weekly Shonen Magazine since 2006, its collected volumes ranking amongst the top-selling series in Japan and winning the creator the 2008 Shogakukan Award. The anime is a departure in style for director Mitsuyuki Masuhara, whose previous series include the adorable Chi's Sweet Home and the sedate, surreal Polar Bear's Cafe, but with Marvel's Blade also on his résumé, he has created a style that captures all the facets of humour, drama and action inherent in Terajima's work.

Ace of Diamond is streaming on Crunchyroll.com.

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