AniMAY is always a month of educating myself on the medium and its sub-genres, so please enlighten me: Is this show typical of a sports anime?
This is definitely the first sports one I've watched after brushing off Free, Haikyuu and any number of basketball related shows in the past.
My first impressions after two episodes are that it's very light in tone and likely will be throughout, it's somewhat routed in reality (in the sense that there's no magic, shakra etc. it's more about skill and maybe the odd Limitless big brain moment) and the story doesn't appear to have any major overarching goal or villains.
It just feels like a slice of life show wanting to emphasize passion and emotion over action and consequence. I'm just curious if that's what they're all like? To clarify, I don't dislike it, not everything has to be doom, gloom, grow, BOOM! It's a welcome change of pace.
Going back to my 'routed in reality' comment, I got a good chuckle out of Shadow using firecrackers as a distraction tactic during the race, something about that felt quite child like and wasn't used to inflict damage but to deter his opponent, granted his arm got busted up but shhhhhhh!!!
There's always something humorous about characters with incredibly distinct features like cherry blossom pink hair or a ginger mohawk (Groose from Skyward Sword vibes anyone?) putting on a little make up or something as basic as a mask covering their mouth and suddenly they're completely unidentifiable to the rest of the world outside of the S tournaments LOL ~ Especially when all the extras in the series are as generic as it comes. It's unspoken and so weird when you think about it!
Shadow's day time persona being a soft mannered flower shop assistant actually caught me off guard and it's perfect. I can't wait to see any scenes where he goes in to Shadow persona but with the center parting hair do 😂
THE EXCHANGE STUDENT
As soon as Langa introduced himself as being from Canada I just about story boarded the first episode out before even seeing the picture of tiny 2 year old Langa on a snowy mountain. Can board, can't skate, does skate, wins. It was incredibly predictable in that regard..
The training montage was also a little strange too due to the fact that Langa was trying to learn to Ollie using the traditional method but had the disruption of foot hooks / holders on his board, I never quite understood that. It felt like they wanted to go down the mountain board route to facilitate his past experiences and then bailed on the idea FAST.
SUGAR AND SPICE
Once we start getting to know the characters and their rivalries a little more it makes the toon art shorts that I assume take you in and out of the ad-breaks when televised all the more enjoyable to watch. They immediately establish that pinky and greeny (the chef) don't like one another in a real Sanji vs. Zoro vibe then short animations like this emphasize that rivalry in a lighthearted way. That's sweet.
The spiiiiiice though, which if I had a drink in my mouth I'd have spat all over my screen was the declaration from Shadow that he'd force his victim/loser to tattoo the words "Dumpster Slut" above his girlfriend's name and I did NOT see that coming!!
Same goes as well for the none-nonchalant mentioning that women can be put on the line in a race... What in the human trafficking is that about?
IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS
It's clear that the creator of this story has a huge passion for skating and that's one of the charming qualities of this show. It takes the time to compare the similarities and differences between Skateboards and Snowboards, there's simple acknowledgements of Goofy stance, relevant trick names mentioned (they could've gone overboard reeling off move names to prove they know what they're talking about but it's barely one or two per episode) and they even delve in to the technicalities of how to Ollie. Like, literally, they lay on the school's rooftop oggling over a Tech Deck and doing finger flicks, it's so wholesome.
It wasn't necessary but taking the time to show the ticket collection method for attending the S events by having a hood up, shades on, slight of hand pass in the street was actually really cool. It added to the grandeur and exclusivity of this event. They never touch on why it has to stay so secret and so far there's been no police-break up scenarios but maybe that'll come?
They're not exactly keeping a low profile either.. These races only take place at night and seem to be broadcast online for people up and down the mountain to view (maybe it's a closed network, who knows). It's well lit, with giant speakers and even bigger JUMBOTRON PROJECTOR SCREENS. That place must be a lighthouse in a quite place like Okinawa!!
I'm clearly overthinking this but I'm somebody that enjoys lore and thinking about the wider world in these series, it's some harmless fun.
KEEP ON ROLLING
This show for me moving forwards will be a background watcher. I'll switch to dub over sub so it won't require my full attention and I can enjoy glances of it whilst doing boring adult admin work.
My biggest take away from Sk8 is that one franchise that's mindblowingly not tapped for even a manga, let alone an anime, is Jet Set Radio.. That fast paced action, fighting 'the man' and whacky array of characters seems like the perfect source material and it seems SEGA have never let it go beyond that.. I mean c'mon, there's even a bloody Splatoon manga.
Anyways, I could rant about Jet Set's wasted potential all day.
This show was fine but I'd love an answer to my original question about how it ranks among sports anime as a whole. Maybe we'll squeeze another one or two in this month.
Apologize about the delay on this review and in turn, the fact that tomorrow will be a double up but life gets busy sometimes.
There's a new Discord chat channel specifically for AniMAY so come and debate / review stuff in there with us
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