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Over the last decade, anime has seen a steady rise in the number of slice-of-life series with mundane settings. Still, even when set in the real world, anime tends to operate under very different rules from reality.

Or does it? In a story that sounds like something out of a manga for teen boys (or girls, provided you draw everyone with wavy, pastel-colored hair), police in Tokyo are forcing members from two rival, frequently rumbling gangs to get along by forming a sports team together.

The two gangs have been feuding since roughly two years ago, and last August decided that it was time to settle the score. To make things as dramatic as possible, a total of 29 teens gathered at a shrine in Tokyo’s Fuchu City, and their intention wasn’t to quietly pray and peacefully work out their differences, as evidenced by the fact that one side showed up with metal baseball bats.

▼ And no, shrines in Japan don’t have attached athletic fields.

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Noticing they’d brought their knuckles to a bat fight, the unarmed side fled before the brawl could start in earnest. Nonetheless, you can’t form a quorum of two dozen-plus would-be combatants in Japan without somebody noticing, and the police eventually picked up the leaders of the two gangs, plus one other member, before filing reports on the three with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

As minors, though, and since no violence actually occurred, locking both groups up until they’re too old and weak to physically hurt each other wasn’t an option. Still, the police realized something had to be done before tensions and tempers boiled over again, and came up with a unique plan.

Whereas one gang had seen the other carrying bats and thought, “Let’s get out of here,” the police apparently thought, “Hey, these kids already have half the equipment they need, so let’s play some softball!”

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Since the goal is for the two groups to learn to get along with each other, the gangs won’t be playing against each other. Instead, they’ll be formed into one large team that’ll face off against a squad of police officers in a game later this month.

The police say they hope this will not only lead to the youths letting bygones be bygones, but hopefully will also lead to the dissolution of the two gangs themselves. Cynics may argue it’s unlikely that both of those will happen, since losing might lead to finger-pointing and squabbling among teammates, and winning may just make them realize that if they join forces, even the police won’t be able to stop them.

But hey, since the first and second acts of this chain of events already seem to be taken word-for-word from an anime script, we guess there’s still hope that the game ends with everyone laughing and smiling, right before the ending theme starts playing and someone suggests that everyone get together and hang out for another 13 weeks sometime.

Source: NHK via Jin
Top image: Yimg
Insert images: Wikipedia/Saigen Jiro, Ena City Tourist Organization