Posted in Inspired By Anime

One Outs – Learning From Tokuchi

Disclaimer: Many spoilers in this post, however, I will indicate the episode number for each point. Not sure if it will help at all but perhaps if you’re halfway through the anime you can read the points that are from the episodes you have watched. Of course, my points are made in order of when they are brought up in the anime. I recommend you just finish the whole anime before reading this though.

One Outs is a pretty old anime which I’d heard a lot of good things about so I decided to watch it. It was a pretty good anime where the main character was constantly exploited his opponents psych to mess with them and take them down. However, I honestly feel that there’s a lot to take away from this anime.

Although, as the title suggests, most of my points will be made based on what Tokuchi has said and done during the course of the anime series.

1. Know your weaknesses (Episode 2)

Even if you don’t think anything about your weaknesses be it due to the lack of time or ability to change, knowing what your weaknesses are could potentially help prevent them from being exploited.

2. If you want to do something professionally, go all out (Episode 4)

When Tokuchi was asked why the pro baseball team he joined never managed to win a championship, he said this, “Because there is no sense of urgency. They believe that as long as they practice hard, they will be forgiven even if they lose.” After which, he continued to say that “A professional baseball player’s job is not just to play baseball. Their job is to win.”

I have personally tried doing a wide variety of things, but nothing that could be considered an attempt to go pro. By go pro, I mean, making a career out of it. The closest I’ve got that comes close to something like that is my blog. But as you guys probably know, I don’t do a very good job. Every time I fall into a negative spiral I end up posting unprofessional and self-pity posts that no one wants to read. In the end, I just continue posting on my website continuously thinking, as long as I post something frequently, I’ll be forgiven for the lack of quality.

Honestly, phrasing it this way really makes me feel like a real idiot. If I really wanted to make a sizable income from something like blogging, I’d have to go all the way and blog the “right way”.

Writing about what my readers are most likely to care about and filtering out my personal negativity, only leaving the best and most researched content. After all, changing Tokuchi’s quote into one about blogging, you could say that a blogger’s job is not just to write posts, but to write posts that people want to read and would pay for. In other words, informative content with a dash of personal opinions.

3. A low possibility means that it’s not zero (Episode 4)

Not much to say about this one but basically, even if you have a low chance of achieving something, thinking about it optimistically, the probability of you achieving it is not zero. In other words, it is still possible no matter how improbable it is. Thinking optimistically and working to increase your chances of achieving what you want is a lot better than simply giving up.

Of course, assuming that you really want to achieve it.

4. Do it for yourself, not others (Episode 5)

Okay, I’m aware that this kind of contradicts what I said earlier but I guess you need to find the right balance. After all, if you aren’t doing something or like in my blogging comparison earlier, writing something that you really want to write, the quality will suffer. You need to put your heart into whatever you’re doing and not think too much of what others would think.

While Tokuchi did talk about the purpose of professionals being to win earlier, it should not be because of what others expect of them. Rather, it should be because winning is something they should strive for as they would fail as a professional if they lacked the strong desire to win.

Tokuchi said, “The team, the batters and the audience are all irrelevant. You should be pitching for yourself.”

After all, if you really feel that it is something of importance to you, you should follow through to make sure you do the best job you can.

5. Focus on the present opponent not past data (Episode 5)

While everyone was worried based on the past statistics of their opponents, Tokuchi observed the condition of the opponents on the day itself. After all, everyone has good days and bad days. Not everyone is consistently the same on a daily basis.

While I must acknowledge that past data is not completely irrelevant as Tokuchi seems to imply, it is not something we can always rely on either. The world is constantly changing and trying to predict it’s course is something that certain people are paid to do by extrapolating data. However, none of that is 100 percent accurate. In the end, it is kind of like gambling but backed with certain theoretical calculations.

While I admit that there are some things that we can only try our best to predict to prepare for, there are many other things that are far easier to simply face head on in the present moment. Instead of worrying so much about what the future holds based on the past, we should be focusing on the present to ensure we can claim a better future.

6. Never reveal your full hand till you truly need it (Episode 6)

Sometimes, people like to show off all their abilities to others for self-validation. However, it could potentially backfire as it would be revealed that they have already reached their limit. With their limits exposed, it becomes easy to exploit their weaknesses. However, if you keep your trump card till the very end, you can turn the tables on those who had lowered expectations of you.

7. Reality is harsh, when you win, it means some else loses (Episode 7)

This was one of the points from my post on Kono Oto Tomare but this anime makes it a lot darker rather than sadder. Why?

This is how Tokuchi phrases it, “Winning a game is not dependent on surpassing your opponents with your strength or waiting for lucky breaks. Conquer the opponents, crushing them and stepping over the fallen ones ruthlessly. Winning means dominating over countless dead bodies. There’s nothing pretty about it. It’s actually a cruel thing.”

Honestly, I can’t completely agree that winning is not dependent on surpassing your opponents with your strength or waiting for the right opportunity to strike. After all, if you’ve watched enough anime, it’s basically been ingrained into us that to surpass your opponents you need to train and work hard (or some friendship power-up but let’s not go there).

However, I can’t deny that it isn’t the only way to win. If you really want to win even when you lack the strength to directly overpower your opponents, all you can do is learn more about your opponents. Exploit their weaknesses and bring them to a level lower than yours. If they can’t handle it, it simply means that their willpower or mental strength was not sufficient.

I don’t really know how Tokuchi is always so fixated on winning that he can easily adopt this kind of mentality but while it is cruel way to win, you can’t deny the sheer ability of Tokuchi to read his opponents and break them down so easily.

8. Sacrificing others for personal benefit is just asking for trouble (Episode 8)

Of course, the way I phrased it makes it an obvious fact. However, there are too many people who believe that if it is for the “greater good” (which would benefit themselves as well), an individual would willingly sacrifice themselves.

I’m going to go off the rails a little and talk a little bit about “Weathering with You” the movie. (Ending spoilers ahead, skip the following paragraph if you haven’t watched “Weathering With You”)

My cousin is always complaining to me about how immature the main characters were for subjecting the entire city to terrible weather just for their own love. However, if you really think about it. We are all self-interested individuals. Even if you say something like, “it’s for the greater good”, there are few people who are selfless enough to just give up all that they cherish for others who they do not care as much about or don’t care at all for.

Back to One Outs, Kira was being sacrificed for the team’s reputation to improve. However, at the same time, doing so would result in huge consequences for his future as a pitcher. So obviously, he rebelled and started attempting to make the baseball game a no game (a game that doesn’t count).

After all, who wants to be the only one losing when the rest are winning?

9. Don’t downplay others achievements (Episode 8)

When we work in teams, the main purpose is to designate tasks to each individual’s strengths. The product, should be the combination of each individual’s hard work in different fields. Even if some things may be flashier and easier to see than others, everyone’s hard work should be acknowledged equally. Not doing so would simply reduce the merit of the other individuals to work as hard as they have been. After all, no one wants their hard work and effort to go unnoticed.

10. To take responsibility is to take the pain onto yourself (Episode 9)

When people make mistakes, most of the time, they apologise and they try to change for the better. In the end, everyone is okay. However, when people in leadership positions make mistakes that were detrimental to those serving under them, they need to learn to take responsibility. Instead of simply giving a verbal apology, they need to take action to right their wrongs. They need to, as Tokuchi says, “bear more pain than what others felt because of your (their) mistakes.”

Of course, this is only when the fault obviously lies in their leader. If it was a collective effort where the leader did their best with those he were leading in mind, I don’t think those working under him or her would feel the need for the leader to apologise or “take responsibility” in the way Tokuchi describes.

11. There is no such thing as a 100% guarantee (Episode 12)

Theory is theory, in the end, in reality, no matter what it is you are talking about, there are usually too many different factors that come into play. Nothing is ever as consistent as it seems. Together with point 3 where I talked about how a low possibility means it is not zero, this would mean that you can always look for a way to get the result you want.

After all, if there is no such thing as a 100% guarantee, there that means that the possibility of getting your desired outcome is never zero.

Well, at least that is the positive way of looking at it. If you think of it as the possibility of you failing is never zero, that means that there is also a chance for you to fail. In the end, all we can do is work to address every flaw in our own theories that we can find to bring about the best possible outcome.

12. Even the easiest thing can become difficult if there is enough pressure (Episode 14)

In the anime, the example given was this, “Suppose there is a 10m balance beam that is 50cm wide. Typically, it would be fairly relaxing to go across. But if the same balance beam is placed between two 100m tall cliffs, can it be crossed?” Of course, it can be crossed but the fear and pressure would be entirely different than if it were just placed on the ground.

Likewise, we are often faced with situations that, even if we may be good at something, we fail to bring out our best when we need to. For example, most people do better at training rather than an actual match for sports because of the lack of pressure. Although, I won’t deny the fact that some people perform better under pressure. For many of us, pressure makes things difficult. When taking academic examinations, I’m sure many of us have experienced a blank-out where we suddenly forgot everything that we have studied due to the extreme stress.

This is especially true for major examinations where failure would be detrimental to our future.

In the end, we need to learn to cope with stress and pressure if we want to perform well in critical situations.

13. It’s only cheating if you get exposed (Episode 16-17)

Okay, I’ll be straight, I don’t really like this way of thinking. Usually, in sports anime, the team that tries to injure the opponents or do “unfair” things in hopes of beating their opponents, they would get a lot of hate. However, in the One Outs, Tokuchi straight up says that he doesn’t mind if his opponents are cheating because it makes things more interesting.

Even after he revealed to his teammates that their opponents were cheating (as well as how they were cheating) and they got angry, he told them, “You guys mentioned that what they’re doing is cheating and despicable. But in a world where there’s only winning and losing, it’s only called cheating or violating if such behaviour is exposed. Once a game has ended, it’s no longer cheating or violating. It’s justice. It’s your stupidity which has allowed them to cheat.”

In other words, if they can cheat without anyone finding out how, Tokuchi would acknowledge it as strength. However, if he can figure out how they are cheating, it is no longer a strength but something to be exploited.

In the end, he doesn’t think in terms of fairness, but rather in terms of how smart (and stealthy) they are in doing what they do.

Rather than worrying or getting angry about how others are cheating,we need to sharpen our own senses to prevent others from deceiving us.

14. Success built upon cheating is bound to fail (Episode 23)

Picking up from point 13, I did say I disagreed with that way of thinking and the anime later proves me right. Over-reliant on cheating, the assistant manager could do nothing but continually use the misinformation he was being fed while hoping that it would work sooner or later.

It takes skill to cheat. Even then, a one-off cheat is far less susceptible to being exposed as compared to continuous cheating. I mean, it is only obvious because the longer you cheat, the more opportunities arise for others to expose you.

In the end, cheating is not something you can reliably do to succeed again and again. What you truly need is skill and perseverance to achieve true success.

That’s it!

Hope you had a good read this time. Haven’t had any quality posts in a while so I think it was about time to do a good one.

Are there any points you disagree with? Or anything you want to elaborate on? Leave it in the comments below πŸ™‚

– K.A.L.T

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My thoughts are always fleeting. Writing is the only way I can remember all the things that once crossed my mind.

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