|“||Someone hired me to kill you. ...But I'm not here to kill you. I thought I'd protect you.||”|
"Play Ball" is the first episode of the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens anime.
Xianming Lin visits an apartment looking for a man named Takashi and tricks his girlfriend Akemi into letting him in. Once inside, Lin kills Akemi and corners Takashi, who attempts to bribe Lin with money he had stolen from the organization backing the nightclub he works for. As a professional hitman employed by that organization, Lin goes through with his job. Afterward, his boss Zhang calls, giving him the job of killing a police detective, but Lin arrives at Detective Takeda's home to discover the man already dead and his death ruled a suicide.
Zenji Banba and Hironobu Shigematsu are meeting in a park, discussing the detective's death. They are sure that Takeda, an organized crime investigator, was murdered, and prior to his death, had sent his evidence to Shigematsu, his junior. One photo shows Mayor Shoutarou Harada and Reiko Asakura in a meeting, and Banba determines that Reiko is a hitman in the mayor's employ.
When Reiko has finished her bodyguard duties, she meets her associates Ryuuji Munakata and Shinohara, who inform her that another of their associates has killed the detective Takeda and staged it as a suicide. Munakata receives a call from Yusuke Harada, the mayor's son, who asks him to take care of the body of a woman he has killed.
In the Tokyo offices of Murder, Inc., Kazuki Saitoh says goodbye to his coworkers before being transferred to the company's Fukuoka branch. He arrives in Fukuoka with apprehension, worried about being in the same business as the 3% of the population that are hitmen.
Ivanov and Shinohara remove the woman's body from Yusuke Harada's bedroom while Reiko reprimands him. Seeing him watching a video of his friends beating up foreigners, Reiko demands his friends names. In Bar Babylon, one of the foreigners is requesting the help of the avengers in getting revenge of the group of university students who put his friend in the hospital, and he provides the avengers with the name of Jun Murase. Jiro Tanaka gladly accepts his request. At the same time, Saitoh is given his first assignment - to kill a student named Jun Murase, and his new boss warns him to look out for the killer of hitmen, the Niwaka Samurai.
Banba meets Yamato Igarashi at Gen-chan, where Yamato identifies the place where Detective Takeda's photo was taken. As he leaves, Yamato spots Lin and steals his wallet, only to receive a punch to the face in return. Banba heads to Club Miroir to chase the lead. Saitoh, meanwhile, buys equipment to kill Jun Murase and waits for him in his apartment. When the bell rings, he answers the door and is met by the avengers Jiro and Misaki Tanaka, who abduct him, believing him to be Murase.
Munakata informs Mayor Harada of his son's activities, and Harada suggests purchasing trafficked women to avoid missing persons reports.
Lin, angry about being cheated the money from Takeda's death, confronts his boss, Zhang. When Zhang refuses to pay up and gives Lin the job of killing Banba instead, Lin goes on strike. Banba returns home that night to find Lin waiting in his apartment. Lin introduces himself as a killer hired to assassinate Banba, but he has decided to protect Banba instead.
In order of appearance:
Xianming Lin: "Once I accept a job, I have to follow through. I'm a professional hitman, after all."
Enokida: "You think there's anything I can't handle?"
Banba: "I wonder why the spider's got a red back, though. A normal black spider would just blend right in."
|Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Anime|
5. Tryouts 6. Pinch-Hitter 7. Lead-off Hitter 8. Trick Play