Ōkiku Furikabutte, also known as Big Windup! is a Seinen manga and anime series about High School Baseball by Asa Higuchi, that was animated by A-1 Pictures.The series, often shortened as ''Oofuri'', follows freshman Ren Mihashi—who despite being the ace pitcher of his team all through middle school, is a snivelingcrybaby with absolutely no confidence. Partly because of his personality and partly because they believed that he was only the ace because of nepotism, he was bullied for all three years of his middle school baseball career, which has left him even more of a neurotic, emotional wreck than before.When he finally leaves for Nishiura, he finds himself a new team with no seniors that's only switched to hardball that year. Better yet, he meets Abe, an analytical control freak of a catcher who actually appreciates his exceptional command and control. There, he rediscovers his love of the sport as he learns what playing on a team's really like and tries to overcome his emotional baggage.The baseball games depicted in Oofuri are realistically long, and Mihashi being the type of pitcher that he is, Nishiura relies heavily on strategy to win their games. It's also notable for Asa Higuchi's incredible attention to detail—even the other teams have hefty lists of named characters, with established relationships, height/weight statistics, and consistent positions in both defense and offense.The manga series won the prestigious Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for best creative work in 2006. In 2007, it won the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.Now has a character sheet which badly needs more contributions.
The series features examples of:
Abuse Mistake: In Season 2 Episode 5, Tajima calls Hanai out for bullying Mihashi, when Hanai was just trying to talk to the poor guy.
The Ace: Mihashi is the official "ace" of the team, but the real star player is Tajima.
Adaptational Attractiveness: In the manga, the team's field manager (coach) Maria Momoe looks quite intimidating with her wild, unkempt hair and fierce demeanor. So despite being only a few years older than they are, the reader never wonders why none of the boys on the team seem to think of her as attractive. She becomes much prettier in the anime, getting better hair, softer facial expressions, and even an increased cup size.
The trope also applies to virtually everyone else in the series, since the Oofuri manga art is... not very good, to say the least.
A Day in the Limelight: Most of volumes 16-19 of the manga are dedicated to Mushashino Daiichi, as is the DVD-exclusive episode 26 of season 1. Bijoudai Sayama gets their own in the DVD-exclusive episode 12.5 of season two.
All There in the Manual: The manga omakes and jackets have birthdates and weights and family structures, and also explain some things, such as why Tosei sings 'King of Glory' when they score (it's a Christian school) or where Mihashi's 9-zone pitching board came from (he got his dad to make it).
Always Identical Twins: The pitcher-catcher team for Kasukabe High. They cause Mihashi to panic at the opening ceremony when he thinks the No. 1 has been downgraded to a No. 2. Hanai is also shown to have twin sisters named Asuka & Haruka.
Always in Class One: Averted. Mihashi is in Class 1-9, and most of his other teammates are in 1-7 and 1-3. The only ones in 1-1 are Sakaeguchi and Suyama.
Always Someone Better: It really bugs Hanai that Tajima is better. Coach Momo encourages this feeling because she believes it will make both Hanai and Tajima better.
Anger Born of Worry: Part of the reason Abe yells at Mihashi so much is that he's worried he'll injure himself.
Apologises a Lot: Mihashi in the beginning because he believes everything is his fault. Also Daichi of Sakitama.
Asleep in Class: A deliberate part of Mihashi, Tajima and Izumi's lunchtime routine.
The Atoner: Mihashi is determined to make up for monopolizing the mound at Mihoshi by becoming a "real" ace this time.
Ren has an inferiority complex, cries easily and has weak velocity on his throws, but he has incredible control over his pitches.
Tajima is a Cloudcuckoolander who occasionally says inappropriate things and twice almost strips naked in public, but is the most accurate hitter in the team, and a baseball prodigy.
But Not Too Foreign: Rio (and Roka by extension) is a three-quarters Japanese ethnically, but is said to be only quarter-Japanese because his father is Japanese-Brazilian and his mother is half-Japanese, half-European.
Camp Cook: Coach Roka does all the cooking for Bijoudai Sayama. When Nishiura has a training camp, the boys do their own cooking.
Can Not Spit It Out: A chronic problem for Mihashi. This cost them a run in the Mihoshi game when he couldn't tell Abe his concerns.
Catch Phrase: Mihashi declares (to anyone who shows him some basic human decency) that is a ''Ii Hito''. He also has a tendency to call people "amazing".
Challenge Seeker: In the Tosei game Tajima is thrilled at the prospect of getting to hit lots of sinkers.
The Cheerleader: Several, male and female, over the course of the series. Portrayed more positively than most examples.
The Chessmaster: Momoe, so much. She deftly combines her deep knowledge of baseball with an incredible level of empathy that borders on mind-reading. Whether it's to motivate her own players or put the pressure on the opposition, she almost always knows exactly what to say or do.
The very first thing she does in the series is to literally drag Mihashinote who only came to see what the baseball team was like onto the field and enlist him as a player, correctly deducing that despite his protests, the fact that he was there at all meant he would be interested.
Hanai, one of the players, at first doesn't want to play for her because he doesn't think a female coach can do the job properly. Instead of saying anything to the contrary, she simply picks up a bat and ball, executes a perfect catcher fly note which Hanai didn't think anyone could do, much less a woman]] and then offers him some juice — which she makes on the spot by crushing fresh amanatsu[[note]](a Japanese variety of citrus) with her bare hands.
In another episode she plays on Tajima's desire to be challenged to sucker convince him to take backup catcher as his other position. Still later she persuades him to be the lead-off batter and first baseman because of his injury. The other players even take note of how skillfully she maneuvered him into it.
Cloudcuckoolander: The aforementioned Yuichiro Tajima is slightly hyper, and picked the school just because it was closest to his home. This is because of an incident where his great grandfather was hospitalised, and his family left for the hospital without him because he didn't get home in time; he doesn't want to experience the feeling of being forgotten again.
Cool Loser: Hamada. Was held back a year for "stupidity" and gets no respect from his classmates, but he's the leader of the cheer team.
Flaw Exploitation: Bijoudai Sayama mercilessly exploits Nishiura's flaws, especially Abe's control-freakness, to win in the fifth round.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: Although everyone on the Nishiura team eventually gets their turn to shine, the story tends to focus on the four members in the page image. Tajima is sanguine, Hanai is choleric, Abe is melancholic, and Mihashi is Supine. Even before watching the series, you could almost tell just by looking at their expressions in the picture.
Guilt Complex: The show follows Mihashi as he slowly grows out of this.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Mihashi's phenomenal pitching ability is only the result of him practicing far beyond anyone else's expectations. In fact, he keeps doing extra training after being specifically warned not to. Similarly, it's strongly implied that Hanai and Abe's superior skills relative to most of the team have more to do with experience and diligent practice rather than inborn ability. Even Tajima's talent is shown to be surpassed by his dedication.
Heavy Sleeper: Mihashi sleeps like the dead after the Tousei match.
Heroic Self-Deprecation: Mihashi. Even after he helps the team advance in the Tosei match all he he can think about is how selfish he is.
Hope Spot: In Season 2, Sakitama gets one against Nishiura when Daichi finally gets to bat... only to go out. Later on Nishiura gets one against Bijoudai Sayama in the 5th inning when they score 2 runs and look set to tie soon.
Huddle Shot: Happens a few times, common in promotional material.
Humble Hero: Mihashi is willing to give credit to just about anyone except himself.
Hypocritical Humor: At one point in the manga Tajima gets the others involved in a heated discussion about sexual fantasies, only to be shown a few pages later standing off to the side commenting on how perverted they are.
Ineffectual Loner: Abe starts out thinking that he can personally ensure victory simply by imposing his own will on the insecure Mihashi and essentially having him pitch like a puppet under his command. Momoe sets him on the path to learning that a catcher and pitcher are dependent upon and receive support from each other, and he grows to realize that the bond he forms with Mihashi is the key to the true strength of the team. They lose the Summer Tournament in the fifth round because Abe fails to learn this lesson in time.
Innocent Cohabitation: Mihashi's relatives don't believe in this, so if he had stayed at Mihoshi Academy he would have moved into the dorms.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Justified in the fact that this is baseball, and baseball clubs in Japanese high school (as pointed out by one character) can have more than one hundred members who didn't get a number. Considering that, the author lets us off easy with just ten players on the main team.
Love Bubbles: Usually by Mihashi, although never romantically.
Lovable Coward: Although you're supposed to find Ren's backstory sympathetic and serious, his nervous tics are mostly played for laughs.
Averted by most teams when they lose. When Tosei loses, for example, almost all the team seems to be crying after getting eliminated from the Saitama Summer Tournament.
Nepotism: Part of the reason why Mihashi got to be pitcher at Mihoshi Academy. Deliberately averted by Roka of Bijoudai Sayama, who refuses to recruit his younger brother because he doesn't think Rio is good enough.
Nervous Wreck: Mihashi is this by default. The rest of the team has moments like these, and a big part of their training is trying to avoid this.
Never My Fault: The perceived nepotism from Mihashi's previous team was only partially true. More precisely, Ren's talents weren't obvious things like speed or form, but only become apparent with team support, which they wouldn't give him because they thought he didn't deserve his position as ace pitcher. Thus, they lost every game while shifting the blame to him.
Only Six Faces: In the manga. When they have helmets on, most characters are indistinguishable from one another. According to the Japanese Other Wiki, the author has outright admitted that several characters have the same face model, e.g. Haruna and Coach Momo.
Opposing Sports Team: Averted. Nishiura have faced Mihoshi, Tousei, Sakitama, Bijoudai Sayama and Musashino (ongoing in the manga) so far, but none of them have fit the usual villainous characteristics of this trope.
Parental Favoritism: Abe's mother prefers his younger brother Shun and will always go to Shun's games if her two sons have a game on the same day.
Performance Anxiety: Most of the players have suffered from this at one time or another. The saddest example is probably poor Nishihiro at the end of Season 2.
Pool Scene: The Nishiuras get to use the pool in their training camp right after the summer tournament.
Porn Stash: The first thing Tajima looks for when he enters Mihashi's room. He later lends Mihashi a mag from his brother's collection.
The Power of Friendship: Despite frequent reassurances, Mihashi's three years on a team where all the other players blamed him for their losses note (meaning all their games, basically) lead to him believing that every setback during Nishiura's games is always his fault. His long road to discovering Team Spirit and finding out that the other players trust him (and learning to trust them in return) is one of the primary themes of the series.
Put Me In, Coach!: Subverted in Season 2. Nishihiro shows exactly what really happens when a newbie who wasn't expecting to play is suddenly thrown into a game halfway through.
Refusal of the Call: In a more mundane example of the trope, Haruna and Tajima and several other players apparently refused to be scouted by Bijoudai Sayama.
Retcon: In the early manga and anime (eps 1 and 2), Tajima is said to have been on a Little League Seniors team. In Season 2 this is retconned to make him part of a Boys' baseball team (Japan-only youth league). Presumably this was done to explain why other characters like Haruna and Sakaeguchi didn't know him.
The Rival: Tajima, to Hanai. And vice-versa, but only because it's more fun for Tajima that way. Mihashi also expresses the fear that he won't be able to beat Tajima if the latter ever takes up pitching for real, but fortunately Tajima is only interested in batting.
Sempai Kohai: Averted by Nishiura High because the whole team is made up of freshmen. Played straight elsewhere, and Abe and Izumi are called cheeky for not respecting their sempais Haruna and Hamada respectively.
Series Hiatus: Asa Higuchi took a 1 year maternity break from 2010 to 2011.
Serious Business: High school baseball. There are war movies that portray the job of a fighter pilot or a front line sniper as dull compared to the excitement generated by some of the plays. It's understandable, the setting is Japan, after all.
In the match-drawing episode, Rio wishes for a player named Kazu to get hit by a car and die right before the big game. This is the same way and same timing for Uesugi Kazuya's death in Touch.
Junta's internal monologue before pitching to Tajima in the 9th inning also mirrors Uesugi Tatsuya's internal monologue before throwing the final pitch of the game in the second Touch movie.
Shown Their Work: Higuchi's knowledge of baseball and player psychology is impressive. So is her ability to balance the presentation such that baseball fans will appreciate the nuances yet total newcomers aren't left wondering what's going on. If you don't know anything about baseball or sports psychology, you will after you watch this series.
Shirtless Scene: Players change their undershirts frequently, so there are a few of these every match.
Sibling Rivalry: Consciously averted by Abe's parents, who make him and his brother Shun play in different Little Leagues.
Abe is a master of reading an opposing batter's body language to learn their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. By the late stages of the game he is able to play lesser-skilled opponents like a violin, knowing exactly how they will react to whatever pitch he tells Mihashi to throw.
Momoe qualifies to an even greater extent. Abe strategizes to win a game; she plans ahead to win the entire tournament. She's an expert in sports psychology and is more aware of what her players are capable of than even the players themselves - which means she pushes them just the slightest bit beyond their comfort zone so that they keep getting better, but never so much that they crack from the pressure.
Tan Lines: Shinooka shows hers off at the Tosei game.
Tareme: Abe and Shun, Abe's little brother. Rio and Oda.
The Tell: Allows Hatake to hit Mihashi's fastball and Tajima to tell the difference between Junta's pitches and pickoffs.
Training from Hell: After Nishiura is immediately matched up with the previous year's champion in the summer tournament, Momoe states that the chief difference between good teams and great teams isn't just the quality of their practice, but also the quantity. Therefore, to win, they have to train like their opponents do. Because their home field has no lighting, the only way to increase their practice time is by tacking on extra hours in the early morning and having the players be at school as soon as the sun rises. This routine quickly drives everyone to exhaustionnote to the point where they spend most of their lunch break sleeping day after day until the time of the tournament arrives.
Invoked by Momoe when she points out that although Tajima is supernaturally accurate, he just doesn't have the build to be a power hitter. In one episode he also plays soccer and the irrelevance of upper body strength in the other sport makes him a very good player.
Same goes for Mihashi. Mihashi's pitches are considered slow compared to other pitchers in the tournament, but his strong control and variety of breaking balls make up for it.