Ace of Diamond, also known as Diamond no Ace, appears to be just another sports anime at first glance. It contains all of the ingredients required to recreate the sports-anime recipe that every sports anime fan is already familiar with. A loud and overconfident protagonist, a quiet but powerful rival, a team full of players who embody specific quirks, similar opponents, hype-filled matches, and so on. But, believe me, when I say, this series is so much more. While it has all of the aforementioned elements in its story and characters, it manages to stand out as one of the best sports anime I’ve ever seen, earning its rightful place in my Top 5 favorite anime of all time.
To begin, I’d like to discuss the protagonist of Diamond no Ace, Sawamura Eijun, because he is one of the main reasons I enjoy this series so much.
Sawamura Eijun is a straightforward character. We can tell right away that he is passionate, loud, and optimistic, that he values his friends, and that he will go to any length to achieve his goals. I’d describe him as a typical shounen (sports) anime protagonist. While all of this is true, the show’s writing truly brings out his character. During his first season, he is treated as a nuisance by almost everyone on the team; no one believes in him, and all of the attention is focused on his rival, Furuya Satoru, the monster rookie’ who has attracted all of the attention due to his raw talent as a pitcher.
Nonetheless, Sawamura perseveres. He practices nonstop with the goal of becoming the team’s ace, unconcerned about his chances of succeeding. He makes mistakes, but he always apologizes. He fails many times, but he keeps trying without giving up. His journey to becoming an ace is fascinating and will hold your attention throughout.
The other characters are also intriguing. Aside from Sawamura, I can’t really pick a favorite character because the series makes sure to give everyone something unique, making it extremely difficult to choose between them.
But I can’t go on without mentioning the team’s coach, Kataoka Tesshin.
Coach Kataoka is one of the best, if not the best, coach figures I’ve seen in any sports anime. His coaching methods are strict, but he treats all of the players fairly and respectfully. He pushes everyone to their limits in order for them to become a better version of themselves. As a result, every member of Seido’s team recognizes him and follows his orders. Plus, as a big Sawamura fan, I couldn’t ignore the fact that he is one of the few people on the team who actually values Sawamura.
The plot of the show isn’t anything out of the ordinary or something you haven’t seen before. We have a school that wants to compete at the national level. It’s all very simple. However, there are some significant differences that should be highlighted.
First and foremost, unlike in Ookiku Furikabutte, our main team is not just starting out as a baseball team (another amazing baseball anime series you should definitely watch). It’s a well-established powerhouse of a school that is well-known throughout Japan for producing strong players. This, of course, raises the stakes even higher because all of the team’s opponents are also powerhouse schools. Essentially, you end up with matches between baseball titans, which makes the show even more enjoyable to watch because the hype levels can skyrocket depending on the matchup.
Another distinguishing feature is its unpredictability. Many unexpected events occur in this show. Certain decisions, injuries, wins, and losses are all possible when discussing Diamond no Ace. This makes you wonder what will happen next, and while being predictable in a sports anime isn’t necessarily a bad thing (Kuroko no Basket is another of my favorites in the genre), you appreciate it when a show of this genre can catch you off guard at times.
Finally, I’d like to speak briefly about some technical aspects of the show.
Production I.G. and Madhouse did everything they could to bring this to the small screen, and while it’s not a great production in terms of animation, it’s pretty good for its length. Personally, I enjoy the music, as repetitive as it appears most of the time.
The voice acting is one of the main reasons I enjoy the anime adaptation. Ryouta Oosaka brings Sawamura to life in a way that I adore, and she is unquestionably the best choice for the part. Takahiro Sakurai also gets a nod for his Miyuki Kazuya impersonation. Those two were made to play those roles. The rest of the cast is also fantastic, as one would expect.
I’m afraid I don’t have anything else to say. Diamond no Ace is the pinnacle of the sports anime formula, with memorable and fun characters, exciting matches, and an overall enjoyable experience. Give it a shot. I’m confident you won’t be sorry!
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