This spring, a new kind of sports anime is slated to premiere where baseball is turned into a meritocracy and salaries rely on perfect pitches. The show is Gurazeni and it’s based off a manga by Yūji Moritaka and Keiji Adachi. The show’s cast is also unique; the staff brought in former professional baseball players to voice some of the characters.

Former Yokohama BayStars second baseman Toshihisa Nishi, Yomiuri Giants, New York Mets, Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, and Yakult Swallows outfielder and current manager Mitsuru Manaka came into the recording booth to voice characters for the show.

Takahashi mentioned getting a bit frustrated while attempting to voice his role.

Singer Asako Toki is also debuting as a voice actor for the series. She said that she found the experience nerve-wracking. It was her first time voicing a character and she found herself surrounded by professional voice actors. She said she felt like she was being watched and so she found herself trembling terribly.

Toki is also singing the ending theme song for the series, “Shadow Monster.”

The series will premiere on SKY PerfecTV!‘s SkyPer! channel on April 6. Ayumu Watanabe (Space Brothers, Doraemon: Boku no Umareta Hi, If Her Flag Breaks) is directing the anime at Studio DEEN, while Hideo Takayashiki (Kaiji, One Outs, Rideback) is supervising and writing the series scripts. Kenichi Ohnuki (Major, Gundam Build Fighters, Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters) is designing the characters.

Fukushi Ochiai will play protagonist Natsunosuke Bonda.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun’s Mantan Web