|Genre Sports, Drama|
Published by Shogakukan
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday
|Written by Takuya Mitsuda|
Original run 1994 – 2010
Major is a sports manga series by Takuya Mitsuda. It has been serialized in Shōnen Sunday and has been collected in 78 tankōbon volumes. In 1996, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen.
- Kindergarten ~ First grade
- Little League
- Junior High
- Kaido High School
- Seishu High School
- Minor League Baseball
- Baseball World Cup
- Major League Baseball
- Return to Japan
- Main characters
- Supporting characters
- Other characters
- Season one
- Season two
- Season three
- Season four
- Season five
- Season six
- World Series
- Differences between the manga and anime version
The manga series concluded in the 32nd issue of Shōnen Sunday for 2010, while the 78th and final volume of the manga series was released in the middle of December 2010 together with a special original video animation (OVA).
The series has been adapted into an anime series produced by NHK and Studio Hibari titled Major (メジャー, Mejā) (using katakana instead of the manga's English characters). The first episode aired on November 13, 2004. The series ran for six seasons and the final episode originally aired on September 25, 2010. An animated film telling the story between the first and second seasons of the anime was released on December 13, 2008. Two OVAs were released on December 16, 2011, and January 18, 2012. They deal with The World Series chapter, which was skipped in the TV series.
In 2015, Shogakukan published under the name of Major 2nd, a sequel series featuring the life of Gorō's son Daigo.
The story of Major follows the life of Gorō Honda, from kindergarten to being a professional baseball player, seeking and overcoming tremendous challenges.
Note: There are several plot differences between the manga and later anime adaptation.
Subsections are divided according to how the official website split the story.
Introduction Saga - Contains: (manga) volume 01 chapter 01 - volume 14 chapter 05; (anime) first season : episode 01 - episode 26
Kindergarten ~ First gradeContains: (manga) volume 01 chapter 01 - volume 03 chapter 06; (anime) first season : episode 01 - episode 06
Gorō's father, Shigeharu Honda, was a pitcher struggling between the major and minor teams of the NPB. Nonetheless, Gorō looked up to his father and wished to be a professional baseball player just like his father. Gorō's mother Chiaki Honda died from an unknown disease when he was younger. Aside from his father, Gorō was very close to two other people—Momoko Hoshino and Toshiya Sato. Momoko was Gorō's kindergarten teacher and especially watched out for Gorō because there are no other kids of Gorō's age at the kindergarten. Toshiya was another kid in the neighborhood, the only one Gorō could find of his own age and to whom Gorō taught baseball.
The father and son were struck a cruel blow when Honda's arm injury prevents him from continuing his baseball career as a pitcher. Gorō was especially shaken by the fact that his father would not be able to continue as a baseball player anymore. To Honda, his son and baseball are all he has left in his life; his wife had died 2 years ago. For his son's sake, Honda took up his best friend's advice, revived his batting instincts, and successfully transformed into a slugger. A midst all this turmoil, Momoko was drawn deeper and deeper into the family's life. Eventually, Honda proposed to Momoko.
Right when Honda established himself in the major team Yokohama Marine Stars, the Tokyo Giants signed a contract with the American MLB player Joe Gibson, famous for his huge physical build and fast balls. When the Marine Stars with Honda and the Giants with Gibson finally met on the field, Gibson struck out every single Marine Stars batter, except for Honda. Honda managed to touch the ball on his first at-bat, and at his second at-bat hit a home run off Gibson's 100-mile (160 km) best pitch. After Honda's home run, the Marine Stars coach launched a series of bunt attacks, scoring additional runs, and psychologically shaking up Gibson who considers the tactic unsportsmanlike. When it was Honda's third at-bat, Gibson has completely lost mental focus, and accidentally pitched a 99-mile (159 km) dead ball hitting Honda's head. The umpire immediately called Gibson off the mound, though Honda quickly got back onto his feet and continued with the game. Honda's excellent play made him the headline of major newspapers. The next morning Honda died due to internal bleeding in his skull, leaving his heartbroken son and fiancée behind.
Little LeagueContains: (manga) volume 03 chapter 07 - volume 14 chapter 05; (anime) first season: episode 07 - episode 26
Three years have passed since Momoko Hoshino, unmarried, adopted Gorō as her own son upon Honda's death. When Gorō reached fourth grade he was finally old enough to join the local little league team, the Mifune Dolphins. However, the local kids were mostly interested in soccer, and Gorō had to get new friends he made at school to join in order to have enough members to keep the team from being dismantled.
Gorō showed himself to be an extremely gifted baseball player. So much in fact that the Dolphins coach hated to see Gorō waste away his potential with the other uninterested Dolphins players. The coach recommended Gorō to join the nearby Yokohama Little team instead, which has better players, coaching, and resources. When Gorō visited, he discovered that not only was his old childhood friend Toshiya at Yokohama Little, but his own father, Shigeharu Honda, had been a member of the Yokohama Little with the current coach when they were younger. Gorō was torn, because if he were to follow his father's footsteps, that meant he would be abandoning the friends he asked to join the Mifune Dolphins. Gorō had a big fight with Momoko over the issue, and Momoko sought advice from Hideki Shigeno, Honda's old friend and teammate. While meeting with Shigeno, Momoko coughed up blood and was hospitalized. While it turned out it was just a gastric ulcer, it made Gorō realize the living people are much more important than the dead.
At that time, Joe Gibson had just returned to the MLB after pitching in Japan for three years. He sent an all-expenses paid invitation for Gorō to travel to America and watch the MLB All-Star game, where Gibson was going to be the starting pitcher for the National League. At the game, Gibson declared to the American League's player that he would only pitch fast balls. Gibson threw 18 strikes, not a single slugger of the AL's top rotation could touch Gibson's pitch despite knowing what was coming, and Gibson earned a standing ovation from the audience. This was Gibson's own way to show Gorō how great a slugger Honda had been, since Honda had hit a home run off Gibson's best pitch in a duel of only fast balls. After the game, Gibson allowed Gorō to throw a hardball at him, wherever Gorō wanted to, if it would make Gorō feel any better. Gorō responded that he would postpone this "punishment" until the day he could pitch as well as Gibson, which was Gorō's own way of acknowledging Gibson's greatness.
Back in Japan, with renewed determination, Gorō led the Mifune Dolphins through various trials and practice matches, intending to defeat Yokohama Little, the best team in the region. In the end the Mifune Dolphins do defeat Yokohama Little but Gorō gets injured for a few months. At the end of the season, Gorō's adoptive mother marries Hideki Shigeno and the new family plan to move to Fukuoka when Shigeno is traded from the Marine Stars. Gorō, unable to tell his teammates, leaves without a goodbye thus leaving them heartbroken.
Kaido Saga - Contains: (manga) volume 14 chapter 06 - volume 46 Chapter 10; (anime) second season, episode 01 - third season, episode 26
Junior HighContains: (manga) volume 14 chapter 06 - volume 24 chapter 02; (anime) second season: episode 01 - episode 13
Tournament arc: Gorō moves back to Mifune when his stepfather is traded back to the Blue Oceans and finds his little league friends grown up and attending Mifune East Junior High School. He surprises his friends when he tells them that he has been playing soccer and doesn't plan on playing for the junior high baseball team, revealing that he had destroyed his right shoulder out in Fukuoka. Gorō in the end reveals to his friends he had switched to being a southpaw pitcher. This influenced Yamane, who was third baseman before he destroyed his elbow, to also switch arms. At first, Gorō was not interested in playing baseball because he wanted to play with a hardball not rubber. During a match where Mifune East Junior High faced Mifune West Junior High, Gorō took to the mound once again seeing how insulting Mifune West was being to his friends. In the end, they created a comeback win. Together, Gorō and his friend Komori Daisuke rebuilt the junior high baseball team. The team becomes strong enough to enter the regional junior high tournament and once again he found himself playing against his friend and rival Toshiya Sato, who plays on the Tomonoura Junior High School team. Mifune eventually beats Tomonoura in a very tight game. Their friendship went a bit downhill because Toshiya decided that he would go to Kaido for his grandparents to pay back his debt and Gorō didn't want to go to Kaido at all, but since a kaido scout wanted Gorō to enter kaido (and Gorō refused the offer as "as long as Toshiya goes to kaido, i won't enter kaido"), the scout told that Toshiya should quit applying for kaido as they decided they wanted Gorō. Then Gorō and Toshiya had made a bet where if the team they were on loses, either Gorō or Toshiya was not to go to kaido. After Mifune East won, Toshiya didn't want to go to kaido because he and Gorō had decided to take down kaido together in a team after Toshiya lost to Gorō in the match,only for Gorō to change his mind about not wanting to go to kaido, due to him and his team which lost to kaido's team with a score of 19–0. However,Toshiya is soon convinced by his grandfather to join kaido with Gorō. It was also Toshiya who told Gorō his pitching had a fatal flaw and made Gorō understand he could pitch even better.
Kaido High School selection arc: After the tournament defeat against Kaido Junior High, Gorō decided to go to Kadio High in order to improve his pitching to the level of Mayumura. Gorō, his friend Komori, and Toshiya decide to try out for the baseball team of the prestigious private high school, Kaido. Komori is disqualified in the Kaido baseball club test and is forced to go to Mifune High. Gorō and Toshiya get through the first round of the test. After the test there is an academic examination which Gorō also "succeeds in" as it is a test of determination.
Kaido High SchoolContains: (manga) volume 24 chapter 03 - volume 33 chapter 02; (anime) second season: episode 14 - episode 26
Immediately after they graduate middle school they are sent to Dream Island where they undergo 6 months of hard training. He meets new friends there and even helps them through their tough times. He then proceeds to the Atsugi campus where he defeats the scholarship team despite the anger of the 2nd team director. Gorō and Toshiya make the junior varsity team and spend a year and half together as teammates. However, in their second year, Gorō reveals that his true desire is to challenge the excellent players of Kaido instead of playing on the same team as them. His friend Toshiya is hurt by Gorō's decision, but respects him for it. The season ends with Gorō leading the junior varsity team to victory over a scrimmage against the varsity team, and with Gorō quitting Kaido High School to play for another team.
Seishu High SchoolContains: (manga) volume 33 Chapter 03 - volume 46 Chapter 10; (anime) third season: episode 01 - episode 26
Gorō has returned home after quitting Kaido.On arrival, his mother voices her dissatisfaction with the fact that he did not consult with her about his departure. She insists Gorō to be accountable for his actions and accept the responsibility to pay the application fee at any school that chooses to enroll in. Gorō's enrollment had been rejected by several schools due to the Kaido assistant coach (Egashira) threatening to sue other schools. Gorō was finally able to avoid Egashira's interference by enrolling at Seishu High School. Having been a girls school until just two years ago, Seishu did not have a baseball team. Gorō enrolls, determined to create a baseball team from scratch.After he had enough players,Gorō and the team entered the summer tournament.Before the summer tournament however,Gorō and his new teammates got an exhibition match with the new second string players from Kaido,not only that,but it was accepted by Egashira who has a grudge against Gorō for quitting the Kaido baseball team.The advisor of Seishu had asked for the match against the Kaido players as he decided they couldn't play too low level teams,and the other stronger teams didn't accept his request.In the Kaido vs Seishu exhibition match,Gorō injures his foot because of a player who stepped on it by 'accident'.Injured,Gorō somehow struggles through to reach the quarterfinals against Kaido Seishu after 4 games.Despite extending the game into extra innings,striking out Mayumura as well as having 3 players injured, Kaido wins and moves on to Koshien when Gorō collapses from exhaustion.
Major League Saga - Contains: (manga) volume 47 chapter 01 - volume 78 final chapter; (anime) fourth season, episode 01 - Message OVA
Minor League BaseballContains: (manga) volume 47 chapter 01 - volume 54 chapter 02; (anime) fourth season: episode 01 - episode 26
Despite losing the match against Kaido, Seishū High school was the only team that actually put up a fight against the Koshien champion. As a result, Gorō attracted the eyes of many scouts, including the Yokohama Marine Stars and the Tokyo Warriors. However, upon learning that Joe Gibson is still pitching in MLB, and dedicated his 300-win achievement to his "young friend in Japan", Gorō lost interest in Japanese professional baseball, and went to America to try out for the Major League. Meanwhile, Sato is recruited by the Tokyo Warriors, while Mayumura is recruited by the Yokohama Marine Stars.
Gorō's 95 mph (153 km/h) fastball (99 mph in anime), while ineffective against Major League sluggers, allowed Gorō to start in Triple A instead of the rookie league. At first he joined the Cougars, but was soon released after a fight with Joe Gibson Jr. from the Oklahoma Falcons. Eventually, Gorō joined the Memphis Bats, an aggressive but defensively weak baseball team. It was during this time that Gorō begin seriously training to fully control his fastball.
In Triple A Gorō found a new rival—Joe Gibson Jr, son of Joe Gibson and an outstanding slugger. Junior blamed the death of Gorō's birth father as the cause of the tragedy that befell on his own family, and he challenged Gorō to a bet: If Junior hit a home run off Gorō, Gorō is to return to Japan and never set foot on American soil again; On the other hand, if Gorō can strike out Junior, then Junior will visit Gorō's father's grave and apologize for his insults. Gorō managed to strike out Junior with his fast ball, now at 100 mile/h (102 mph in the anime). In the last game, Gibson Jr was determined to hit a home run of Gorō. When the Bats were leading in the final inning, The Falcons had 2 outs but they had runners on 2nd and 3rd base with Gibson Jr batting. On Gorō's last pitch, Gibson Jr hit it in the centre of the bat but Gorō's pitch had so much power that he destroyed Gibson Jr's bat and the ball just flew up high. The catcher of the Bats caught it and the Bats won the Triple A playoff.
Baseball World CupContains: (manga) volume 54 chapter 03 - volume 65 chapter 10; (anime) fifth season: episode 01 - episode 25
After the baseball season was over, Gorō returned to Japan. Shimizu finally told Gorō her feelings for him, and they became a couple. On the other hand, Gorō learned from Toshi that there is going to be a Baseball World Cup the following year hosted in America, and for the first time, Major League players will be allowed to compete in it. Due to Gorō's impressive performances in the practice match between Rookies and the All-Star Japan team, he was selected as a replacement pitcher starting the second round of preliminaries. Gorō pitched as the closer against Venezuela and South Korea, earning a win and a save respectively. Then Mayumura earned a win, pitching as closer against the Dominican Republic, advancing Japan to the semi-finals.
Shimizu came to America to cheer Gorō on, and encountered Toshiya's younger sister, Miho Sato. The day before the semi-finals match against Cuba, Toshiya accidentally ran into his sister, and the traumatic memories of being abandoned by his parents 7 years ago were reawakened. Toshiya's body went into involuntary shock, and was temporarily hospitalized. Miho felt guilty about the incident, but Toshiya called her on the phone, and asked her to come watch the next game. By knowing his sister is somewhere in the audience, Toshiya felt he would be able to do his best. Toshiya made several excellent plays against Cuba's aggressive offensive in the semi-finals, and Gorō got the win as the closer.
After the Cuba game, Gibson Jr. revealed to the Team USA's manager as well as Gorō that his father, Joe Gibson, had angina pectoris. Junior hoped that the manager and Gorō might be able to dissuade Gibson from getting on the mound and potentially kill himself. However, with players mostly in an "exhibition game" mentality, Gibson got on the mound in the 8th inning in the USA vs Venezuela semi-finals, risking his heart to awaken the baseball spirit of his teammates.
The following day, Gibson collapsed during practice session, and Gorō rushed to the hospital to see Gibson. Gibson revealed to Gorō that in a chance meeting with Momoko 10 years ago, he asked her why she had not accepted any monetary compensation from him. Momoko smiled gently, and asked Gibson to remain a top-class baseball player until Gorō grows up, so that Gorō could be proud of having a father who hit a home run from such a great pitcher, and that would be enough for her and for Gorō. Momoko's kind words had been the pillar that supported and drove Gibson all these years, but he felt if he could not complete this Baseball World Cup, and play against Gorō on the mound, he would have failed Gorō and Momoko. Gorō comforted Gibson, telling him that he had done enough, and to just watch Gorō and Junior's showdown on TV.
The Japan vs USA finals game began with Japan taking a five-run lead, prompting Gibson to leave the hospital and went to the stadium to cheer his teammates on by their side. Japan had to send out Gorō in the 8th inning to protect their remaining 1-run lead, but Junior scored a home run off Gorō's 100-mile (160 km) fast ball. The game went into extra innings, and Gibson walked onto the mound again, determined to lead USA to victory. Gorō and Gibson kept a consecutive no hit innings until the 15th inning,in which Toshiya,when hitting the ball that Gibson pitched,his bat broke.The bat's flying sharpnel hit Gibson in the heart.Gibson catches the ball that the bat hit and dropped it,before getting up with all his willpower to throw a runner for an out.Gibson collapsed soon after.Gorō was then very determined to strike out Gibson Jr and vice versa.Despite pitching for 9 innings,Gorō pitched his fastest pitch in his life at 103 mph (166 km/h). However,Gibson Jr scored a home-run by hitting Gorō's pitch which destroyed his own wooden bat(that was made not to break in Japan) and made USA the World Champion.
After the finals,Gorō seems to have lost the desire to play baseball and almost quitted again,as he went back to Japan instead of going on his evening flight to Florida for the spring trainings.After seeing his old teammates play like kids in Japan,mifune baseball field however,he seemed to have rekindled the desire to continue doing so and therefore left for Florida for the hornets.
Major League BaseballContains: (manga) volume 66 chapter 01 - volume 78 final chapter; (anime) sixth season: episode 01 - episode 25, world series OVA and Message OVA
As the new MLB season began, Gorō performed extremely well for the Hornets in the exhibition matches. On his first official MLB match, he pitched a no-hit no-run game up until the 8th inning, when he suddenly lost control. On his second game, his pitches started to go wild by the 5th inning. Suspecting yips, his catcher Keene stopped Gorō from voluntarily stepping off the mound, gambling on the chance that Gorō can overcome his fears with a new success. Unfortunately, Gorō ended up throwing at the batter in the head, and was ejected by the umpire. In his third game Gorō was unable to retire a single batter. He was removed from the game in the first inning and sent back to AAA Bats until his situation improves.
Believing that Gorō's defeat at the hands of Gibson Jr. was the cause of his yips, the Hornets sent Gorō to Billy Oliver, a sports psychologist, for treatment. After Gorō recovers from his yips, he can't pitch like he used to due to having no more goal. His teammate Watts said that he would only be effective against really weak teams. Later on, Gibson retires after getting defeated by Gorō's home run and the Hornet's. In Gibson's contract, his departure was treated as voluntary retirement, but in reality he wanted to start from scratch and made a minor contract with AA Bulls. Gibson fights his way back up to the majors and is waiting for Gorō to challenge him again. The anime's last episode shows the Hornets losing to the Salmons and not making it to the World Series. Gorō heads back to Japan to take a rest and solidifies his relationship with Shimizu. By the end of the episode, it flashes forwards 8 years later where Gorō is brought out to close out the last game of the World Series where the Hornets face off against the Raiders. During the game it shows Shimizu giving birth to their first child. It also shows Toshi Sato as the catcher for the Hornets along with Keane on the Raiders team, Watts as the new Hornets manager and Mayamura as the Raider closing pitcher. The end shows Gibson Jr. against Gorō in one final face off with the ending credits showing a table with Gorō and Shimizu's wedding photo, a World Series ring and a family picture with Gorō and Shimizu having two children.
Return to Japan
Following Season 6, the Major OVA shows that Gorō, after 14 years of a splendid career, is forced to retire from the Hornets. He can no longer pitch due to an injured shoulder despite surgery and rehabilitation. He rejects some offers to be the baseball coach and decides to return to Japan and keep playing baseball as a player specialized in hitting (hitter), running and guarding bases (fielder). Before leaving, Gorō promise Toshi he will meet him again on the field as batting opponents in Major League, and Sato promises to wait for Shigeno no matter how long it takes. Shigeno takes two years to train himself as a fielder and a hitter. Afterwards, he joins the Blue Oceans, and returns to being a professional player and becomes a hitter, inspiring his daughter and his son much like his dad did. In the end of the OVA, the dreams of the Shigeno family are seen hanging on the tree of wishes. Izumi, the daughter, dreams of hitting home runs like her father. Daigo, the son, dreams of becoming a pro player. Shimizu dreams that everyone in the family is happy and healthy, and Gorō dreams to be #4 batter in Major League, making it his new goal so he can become a player who can do anything.
He later pinch hits in the game against Tomonoura so he could get a chance to play.
Differences between the manga and anime version
In 2005, sporting goods manufacturer Mizuno entered into a one-year agreement with Shogakukan to have their company logo appear in the baseball equipment used by Goro Shigeno and other characters in the manga series. Under the agreement, Mizuno would also use the Goro Shigeno character in other promotional events.
An article from the Boston Globe credits the manga series for helping increase the popularity of the gyroball pitch
In 2006, the anime series ranked 46th in an online poll conducted by TV Asahi on Japan's favorite animated TV series. A Celebrity List of the same poll placed the anime series at the 70th spot. Won the 41st Shogakukan Manga Award in the Shounen category in 1996.