Though virtually unheard of in North America, Kajiwara Ikki's (Ashita no Joe, Tiger Mask) baseball series Star of the Giants helped lay the foundation for sports anime/manga and the role of baseball in Japanese pop culture.
With a mix of high melodrama and a real team in the Yomiuri Giants, Star followed the often brutal struggles of the son of a pro-player forced to retire after being injured in World War II. As such, but in terms of tone and context, it was definitely a series of its time, making a commercial campaign for au by KDDI's smartphone service a bit of acknowledged comic juxtaposition.
The irreverent spots, which have been running throughout the year, put Hoshi Hyuuma, the aspiring pitcher of the title, on au's team, with his friends, teammates/rivals and tragic father along for the ride. The series cast is also joined by young model/actress Ayame Gouriki.
Starting with the latest, here's a look at some of the year's commercial spots.
Especially worth seeing if you've never heard of Star of the Giants, some of its iconic images:
Ayame Gouriki was named au's director for a day in March