The gambling elemental is not as genuine as those two series I linked above because the MC, Tokuchi, is a God in what he does. His name is Tokuchi Toa and he is a gambler.
How he is introduced into baseball is explained in the first three episodes which, to be utterly honest, not worth watching. You can safely skip those three episodes.
Basically, Tokuchi loses a bet to Kojima. The bet was Tokuchi’s throwing arm, and he is willing to let his arm go. Kojima, in return, asks him to join his baseball team which has been on a serious decline in recent years, Saikyou Saitama Lycaons.
The owner of Lycaons, Saikawa Tsuneo, couldn’t care less about his own team winning as long as the team generates healthy profits.
The Japanese professional baseball league has no promotion or relegation, meaning no matter how poor his team does, there is always a guaranteed amount of income. He has no incentives to invest and improve his team.
Thus, when Kojima introduces Tokuchi to him, naturally he is highly reluctant to offer any contract. After all, it’s his money, and he feels there are enough in his team already.
Furthermore, Tokuchi has no record at all as a professional baseball player. He doesn’t even have any record during amatuer days, either. There is nothing.
Therefore, Tokuchi makes an offer. He does not want a normal contract. He suggests a performance bonus only.
Just to make it easier to understand, 5 million yen is about 45k USD. So, when he scores an out, he gets 45k. But, when the team loses a point, he has to pay 450k.
The president accepts because his team sucks ass. The dude is all smiles when his team, without Tokuchi, loses 8-0.
He thinks he will earn tens, if not hundreds, of millions. No matter how good of a pitcher Tokuchi is, he can’t possibly make his worst team win. Even if he inspires his team to win, it will be likely that Tokuchi will need to pay instead of being paid.
After all, Tokuchi has to score 10 outs to mitigate losing a point. So, if Tokuchi partook in a recent game where the team lost by 8 points, he’d need to score 80 outs just to break even.
A baseball game has 9 innings. The absolute maximum outs he could get would be 27 outs. Any way you look at it, Tokuchi is bound to lose.
Or so we thought.
Tokuchi turns out to be once in a millennia kind of pitcher. Actually, his ability as a pitcher is questionable because the dude cannot throw any kind of fastball and curve. All he can throw is slow straight balls.
What he does have is an insane ability to read batters’ minds and extreme fine controls of how slow he can throw at which RPM which makes his throw either go up or down right at the batters’ bats. I reckon this is not possible in real life.
Basically, batters have to make up their minds at the moment he throws and hope for the best because human reaction speed won’t allow making the decision when the ball is at their bat.
But it’s not just his pitcher’s abilities. He eventually drags his deadweight team to an awakening. They were once decent players but, after years of neglect, they became content with just playing and being paid.
He instills a winning mentality into them gradually, and his deadweight team gradually begins to perform. Tokuchi basically becomes a player-coach.
This anime shows the progress while Tokuchi beating other teams almost single-handedly.
This anime is surprisingly addictive once you get into it. Tokuchi is so good in what he does that it makes one wonder what he really is thinking at times of dire events.
I wouldn’t say this is a gambling series. It’s more of mind games, but there are money being bet on, so in a strict sense, it is a gambling series.
There is also manga which is the original source. It sheds a darker tone than this, and the gambling aspect is clearer. Between anime and manga, I’d recommend anime which is more relaxed and easier to watch and get into.
Until next time.