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Old 2007-07-21, 17:44   Link #1
AVPlaya
なんでやろう?
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
The 89th Summer Koshien High School Baseball Championship Thread

Being a Japanese baseball fan and an anime fan, I thought I'd make a tread like this for those who are interested. The idea of this thread basically came from Lucky * Star. The High School of the girls are based on the real life school of the manga-ka, Yoshimizu Kagami.

The school's real name is Katsukabe KyoEi High School, an elite private school built right in the middle of rice patties near Katsukabe City, Saitama Prefecture. It's a part of the KyoEi Gakuen school system, a historical elite high school in Tokyo. Katsukabe KyoEi pride itself for being an elite private high school known for both Academics AND sports activities, a rarity since usually baseball schools don't do that well academically. Katsukabe KyoEi can boast that they get to send a number of seniors to Tokyo University, while their baseball team contend for a Koshien berth every year. Their Swimming Team is also the best in Japan for the last 2-3 years.

For a high school in Japan, there's no greater glory for the school than to have played in the Summer Koshien baseball tournament. Sine 1915, two high school baseball tournaments are played every year, one in the Spring and one in Summer. The Spring Turny is invitational so there are less school participated, but the Summer Turny is open to every high-school level school in Japan, making it much harder and more prestigious. Over 4,000 schools participate in this single event every year, so the odds of winning are very slim, unless you work hard at it. A boy's dream, as it was said, is to shine during the Summer Koshien. A hero of the Summer games becomes instant celebrity in Japan, and usually becomes highly-paid pro player shortly after. Every single Major Leagues Japanese player, including Ichiro and Matsuzaka Daisuke, was a Koshien hero in their teenage years.

Usually every single shonen manga mag in Japan will feature at least one high school baseball manga. Many of them has been adopted to anime as well, such as H2 and Torch. The star of these manga is usually a Super Ace picture, who carries the team to Koshien glory. This is because Super Aces exists in the real Koshien; last year's Hero of the 88th Summer Koshien was the Ace of the Waseda Jitsugyo (Tokyo West) HS, Saito Yuki. During the Championship game, he pitched over 1,000 pitches in 3 days to beat the perennial favorite, the KomaToma HS of Hokkaido. Mr. Saito, known as the "Handkerchief Prince", became instant celeb, worshiped by everyone in Japan for his calm demeanor and dominating pitching. Yuki Saito was also mentioned in Lucky Star anime.

There's also a great link to Haruhi-fans. This tournament was named after the Koshien Stadium in Nishinomoya City, birth place of one Suzumiya Haruhi. Nishinomiya is THE baseball holy city in Japan, and the stadium is as sacred as Yankee Stadium. Although we're not sure if North HS ever played in the tournament, one thing we know for sure is that the night which Haruhi had her epiphany about her insignificant happened during a Henshin Tigers game which took place in Koshien Stadium (Only pro games are played in the evening). So one way or another, the story of Haruhi is linked to this stadium and baseball. That's perhaps why there's a baseball segment in the story line.

I am making this thread ORIGINALLY to keep track of the games played by the Katsukabe KyoEi HS, a major contender in the Saitama Regional this year. However, unfortunately THEY LOST THEIR FIRST GAME to a no-name public school. I was highly disappointed. But I still love the game and perhaps some other people may want to follow it too, so I'm making a thread anyway. I will be following some of my favorite schools, mostly from the Kansai region, and the home schools of some pro players like Ichiro. If you know if a school you'd like to follow, I'd be happy to report on their progress. But realistically, this thread is probably just for me to post about my own feelings about the games.

The Regionals officially started few days ago, and some regionals are finished. I'll be posting next on the progress of some of schools I'm keeping track - powerhouses like Osaka Toin, PL Gakuen, Wakayama Chiben, WasedaJitsu, and KomaToma.
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Old 2007-07-21, 18:23   Link #2
AVPlaya
なんでやろう?
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
A Taste of Koshien

Here's a clip of the final at bat for the last year's finals game between WasedaJitsu and KomaToma of Hokkaido. The background is this: Tomadai Komatomai HS of Southern Hokkaido has won the LAST TWO Summer Koshien based on the arm of one man: Tanaka Masahiro. He's a tall, brusing pitcher who like to intimidate batters and he helped his little known school in Hokkaido into a High School baseball perennial powerhouse. TomaKoma is also favored to repeat last year. But along the way came a respected yet low-key school in Tokyo: Waseda Jitsugyo. They are a elite private high school under the Waseda Uni system, and they usually have a good team. With a storied background and numerous Koshien appearances (only winner of a regional goes to Koshien), they have never won a title out right, and they have not been in the Summer games since 1996. So when this kid Saito Yuki started to pitch shut outs people are a bit surprised. When they beat the team I was following at the time, Osaka Toin, I was shocked at how polished and poised the kid was. Having watched both Tanaka and Saito pitched, I was convinced that Saito was the better pitcher.

As fate would have it, they meet in the Finals. Tanaka versus Saito, the pitcher duel of this young century. And it was an epic battle, as they ended the First game in a tie (HS baseball games must end in 9-innings, or they end up in a tie and PLAY AGAIN THE NEXT DAY). So in game #2 of the Finals the very next day, WasedaJitsu jumps to a 4:3 advantage by the 9th inning as both pitchers threw over 1,000 pitches in 3 days and are a bit tired. So when it comes down to the FINAL AT BAT for TomaKoma, and you can't even write this in an anime, is Tanaka himself. Takana versus Saito for the final out of the SUMMER.. It literally became a game between two super pitchers. And what happened next? Well watch this clip and witness one of the most dramatic ending in Japanese baseball history. Waseda is in White and TomaKoma is in gray. The pitcher with the young face is Saito, while the big batter is Tanaka:



Just check out how this thing ended. And his last pitch is still over 140 km/h. That's your Super Ace.
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Old 2007-07-23, 22:02   Link #3
Kaoru Chujo
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Thanks for that clip of the "handkerchief prince," lol. I know a guy who went to Waseda University, so it meant something. The big Hokkaido guy and the smooth-faced nobleman were perfect for their roles.

I don't know any particular schools in Japan, but I wonder if there is a source for names of schools on which the schools in various anime are modelled. I'll let you know if I find one, but my first attempt came up dry. If there are places I feel closest to, they are Kyoto, Nara, and Uji -- which I don't expect to be the homes of baseball powerhouses.
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