They’re the best Anime that 1991 to 2000 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Metal Fighter Miku, Seupideuwang Beongae, Midori no Makibao, and more!
26: Metal Fighter Miku
English: Metal Fighter Miku
Japanese: メタルファイター MIKU
MAL Score: 6.03
In the near future, the sports world is dominated by Neo Wrestling, a new spectacle in which Metal Fighters challenge each other to be named champion.
The story follows the girls of the Pretty Four; Miku, Ginko, Sayaka, and Nana, as they face off against the current champions, Team Sapphire. With a burnt out drunk named Eiichi Suo for a coach the girls must not only contend with problems in the arena but also unforseen circumstances that arise in day to day life. Only through protecting their friends, understanding their enemies, and eventually challenging their idol Aquamarine, can Miku and the girls understand Eiichi’s purpose and the shady secrets behind Neo Wrestling.
Taking place in the near future, wrestling is not what it use to be. Gone are the days where two opponents would get in the ring, and fight each other hand to hand until the other was pinned. In this era fighters have now dawned metal suits, which strengthens their moves ten times over, thus calling it “Neo Wrestling!” Going into this anime, I was kind of expecting the whole “wrestling idea” to play more of a side story, thus making the anime feel gimmicky. But no, in truth it actually concentrates on the wrestling theme quite a bit…maybe even too much! So what you see is what you get, the anime follows this formula to a T. In center stage we have little Miku, star of the all female fighting team called the Pretty Four. The main bulk of the story follows the girls as they take on opponents (which usually happens at the end of most episodes) until they can make it to the top, all along meeting new friends and fierce rivals. What makes the anime fun is it’s mix of funny bits, drama and action. It doesn’t surpass anything while it does this, but is there none the less. Determination and team work plays key into each fight, as matches take place in a “four on four” tag match. Now because of the metal suits involved, don’t expect to see much in the way of authentic looking wrestling moves. Most of them are exaggerated, what with super jumps, power punches and the like (if you have ever seen Angelic Layer, then they look something like that). There are a few plot twists that take place near the end that can be quite unexpected too. Most opponents don’t play fair in the very least, and you will see quite a bit of cheating and underhanded deals going though. The main characters transform into their metal suits much like you would see in your tradition magical girl anime. While the story does remain very strait forward with it’’s idea, it also doesn’t do it in a repetitive manner either. As each episode spotlights a new problem for the team to over come, whether it be stopping the underhanded deeds done by their enemies, to simply encouraging one another to stay strong. There is little to no romance in this, and the ones that are present are handled very lightly. One of the problems I had with this anime, is with it’s actual ending. Which takes place in a “1 on 1” match, which I found to be odd since the overall anime is centered on teamwork. As a whole, some viewers might find it’s linear wrestling plot to be too strict to the source to enjoy, but I think fans of action anime may want to check this out, as many of the fights are fun to watch.
Metal Fighter Miku shouldn’t contain anything that viewers would find offensive. There is no blood in this, nor is there any fan service. Of course there is violence as far as wrestling goes, but it’s only done in a mildly over the top manner.
Taking into consideration that this anime was made almost 19 years ago, it goes without saying that it doesn’t live up to anything by today’s standards. However for it’s time it really is a well detailed and colorful series. Fights are animated smoothly, with hardly any kind of re-hashed scenes used over and over again (battle suit transformations aside). Backgrounds are the only thing that don’t live up to the rest of the art, they can look quite simplistic and dull at times. If you have ever seen a series called “Cat Girl Nuku Nuku” then you will notice many resemblances between the two.
Nice tracks play throughout the series, they feel quite dated, but still have catchy beats to them. The opening and ending tracks don’t feel quite as old however, both are pretty high up beat tunes that match well with the girls personalities. Both are sung by the same vocalist too. As far as the background tracks go there really isn’t much to say. They do their jobs for what is going on in the anime, but lack any kind of really memorable tunes, with the exception of the main track that plays when the girls are about to enter the ring. Good voice overs through out the series, though the dub version does leave a little to be desired.
They are a mixed baggage. Most of them are well thought out and do have a “wrestler’s attitude” about them (a good thing). The character that ended up intrigued me the most was the coach–Eiichi. He was quite the hard individual to figure out at first, they don’t actually try to hide his past from the viewers, but they do hide enough of it to make most people tilt their head in interest when they see him. Miku has everything you would want in a leader. She doesn’t show boat, works hard at what she does, and always gives it here all. As the story progress you will find out that she does have her weakness that must be overcome, which is nice as far as character development goes. The other girls were a little more disappointing, they never really molded past their whole “teamwork” idea, and some such as Sayaka, you never get any really knowledge of at all. The rivals and enemies can suffer from the same thing, with the exception of a few of them, who actually do show their true selves to the audience later on. The characters who were important to the story were great, it’s just a shame that some never got the attention they deserved.
Despite it’s strait forward plot, “Metal Fighter Miku” serves up just the right amount of action that should keep most viewers satisfied. Fun characters, interesting battles and a nice mix of wrestling and dialog are all part of this package. Because of it’s linear storyline though, not all will be able to stay interested, and while it may be not pin any of the competition out there, it does put up a very good fight in the ring.
It kind of reminds me of Sailor Moon, how Usagi was ridiculously clumsy and stuff for awhile but then she grew into her role. It’s also similar in that respect to Kaleido Star. Sora wasn’t the best until she worked at it. So is Miku 🙂 I definitely recommend it to any who are looking for that type of anime 🙂
The story is straight forward. It’s about a group of pro wrestlers by the name of The Pretty Four, who enter a tournament to be the best.
The plot is easy to follow. The girls fight their opponents, and in some episodes face deeper dilemmas. It’s nothing ground breaking, or complex, but it is entertaining, and something light to watch.
There is one episode that strikes me as out there (I just didn’t think it fit with the rest of the series), but the other twelve are good.
The pacing is pretty fast. I would have liked a little more depth, and more build up, but that’s just my personal tastes.
I like that what little romance is present takes a back seat to the main story. There are a few hints that a character might like another, but it’s never expanded upon. The only time that actually happens is used more for plot and character development.
There is some decent characterization in this anime (not as good as some other titles, but decent).
The title character Miku is likable. She is not perfect, nor is she annoying, and she has some character growth throughout the series. Ginko has some good character development, making her one of the more interesting cast members. However the other two of The Pretty Four -Nana and Sayaka- are pretty forgettable.
Yoko serves a strong and respectable antagonist. Her father, however, comes across as two-dimensional-I still don’t understand his motives.
Still, the character I find to be the most developed of the bunch is the coach, Eiichi. I find him to have the greatest depth, an interesting backstory, and a believable personality.
I found the art to be decent. It was standard for its time, but it may not hold up to the art of today’s anime.
I do like the use of color.
The action scenes are fast-paced and fun to watch.
The art is nothing spectacular, but it serves its purpose.
The opening song is catchy. It’s light-hearted and upbeat, perfectly matching the show itself. The ending song is also rather enjoyable. There is also a song that the girls sing (yes, they are singers in addition to wrestlers), and I think it’s a cute song.
The voice acting (at least with the English dub) is average for some characters and less than impressive with others. I wasn’t blown away by voice talent with this one.
I did enjoy this series. It is fun, it’s easy to understand. For the most part, the main characters are likable. There is some good comedy thrown in to keep it from being a serious drama. There are plenty of cheesy moments as well, but I think that adds to its charm. Mostly, it kept my interest, and I was curious to find out what would happen next.
I like the anime, and I’m glad that I stumbled upon it while looking for something else. There is action, drama, and a good bit of comedy. Some parts are corny, but in a good way. If you want something that is fun and easy to watch, I recommend this one.
25: Seupideuwang Beongae
English: Wings of Dragon
MAL Score: 6.11
Lightning Khan and a group of elementary school students compete against another team in a game of rollerblades and RC car racing as they plan to attend the National convention.
24: Midori no Makibao
English: Green Makibao
MAL Score: 6.54
Midori Makibao is a small white racehorse. Compared to other thoroughbred horses, he looks more like a donkey with wide nostrils; however, with his guts and speed as his weapon, Makibao wins in every big race.
In the beginning of his career, Makibao had a trouble making his debut as a racehorse, because of his appearance and various disadvantages he had. But Makibao had reasons to overcome his difficulties; there was a lifelong rival horse called Superhorse Cascade, that Makibao needed to defeat. Plus, he was determined to win back his mother, a horse that had been taken away for pay back the debt on the farm.
There are many hardships that Makibao has to overcome, but he thrives in the series of races to become a great racehorse.
The story was great. A typical underdog character that works hard to succeed his dreams of meeting a beloved one. The story consists of more on comedy than drama.
The art was a little bit shocking. WIKIPEDIA confirmed that this is a shone anime but yet the main character, Makibao , is practically showing his pubes. Maybe the art is designed with naturalsm.
The art is depicted with a particular style that is hard to describe. Know shin-chan? Maybe they’re related.
The sound was okay.
The characters blended wall. A protagonist, antagonists, a heroine and supporting characters. This is one of the rarest shows that make the leading role an animal. But it did not matter anyway for the harmony was smooth.
I really enjoyed their antics but no overpowering was done.
Overall I say that this is a good normal anime (good,normal? what’s that?) It is worth killing your boredome.
23: Bakusou Kyoudai Let’s & Go MAX
Japanese: 爆走兄弟レッツ＆ゴー!! ＭＡＸ
MAL Score: 6.59
The story follows the life of Retsuya and Gouki, two brothers with the same objective as Go and Retsu, to race and win championships!
The two new brothers are faced with various traps set by an evil organization…together, along with other friends, they try to enjoy their races as much as possible, showing off their competitive spirit and taking down any kind of evil that might put the sport they love so much at risk!
I might be exaggerating, but although the season is fun overall, there’s only a handfull of episodes with some actual cool racing scenes, out of 51.
This season takes place in a time mid/post WGP, where all the kids, besides de protagonists, are running with cars copied from the “pros”. You can actually tell which specific cars they are copying and even their names are adaptations of their idols. (For example “Victory Champ” is a copy of “Victory Magnum”.)
The last 2 episodes feature some nice moments, but still nothing compared to that S1 and S2 brought.
Did I mention the protagonists names? Gouki and Retsuya? Gou? Retsu? Really? And yeah, Gouki also has a straight-focused blue car, just like Gou’s Magnum. Although Retsuya starts with a car like Tridagger, he will also end up with a car like Sonic. Zero originality.
Overall, the whole season seems like a 51-episode filler, with some cool moments here and there.
22: Moero! Top Striker
English: Top Striker
Japanese: 燃えろ! トップストライカー
MAL Score: 6.69
Hikaru Kicker is a 13-year-old boy who loves football. He has grown up playing with a football at all times ever since his father’s friend gave him one when he was still only a baby.
Hikaru goes to Italy to learn the sport. He first joins a strong team at Genova, but soon quits this team to join an extremely weak team named “Columbus” with his female friend Anna.
Experiencing many hardships and difficulties, their team gradually becomes stronger and stronger, and finally they defeat Margerita, one of the strongest soccer teams in Genova.
Soon Hikaru hears that Genova will stage its first soccer tournament. Throughout the tournament, Hikaru and his teammates confront many rivals and develop increasing maturity.
Can Hikaru score a goal and which team will win the championship?
(Source: Nippon Animation)
21: Kinnikuman: Kinnikusei Oui Soudatsu-hen
Japanese: キン肉マン キン肉星王位争奪編
MAL Score: 6.73
Kinnikuman has proven himself worthy to be crowned the next king of Planet Kinniku. But at the ceremony, five other Kinnikuman’s arrive, all claiming to be the true prince of Planet Kinniku. Now, a Royal Survivor Tournament is being held to decide the true successor to the throne, and with the help and support of his friends and with his recently acquired knowledge of the Ultimate Technique (The Muscle Spark), Kinnikuman fights for what is rightfully his.
The dramatic moments will make your heart heavy and the fight scenes are violent and the attacks performed are so out of this world that it would be impossible to try to pull off in real life.
and as silly as this sounds, it seems that this anime does a better job of talking about friendship and teamwork ALOT better than any other 4Kids dubbed anime
bottom line, REALLY good anime.
20: Bakusou Kyoudai Let’s & Go
MAL Score: 6.78
Based on the manga by Tetsuhiro Koshita, Bakusou Kyoudai Let’s & Go!! has two main seasons evolving around the Go brothers and the TRF Victorys. The third season, Bakusou Kyoudai Let’s & Go!! MAX evolves more around two new main characters, but the primary idea is the same… Racing!
Let’s & Go!! focuses on Retsu and Go Seiba, two young brothers who receive racing cars called “Mini 4WD” by Dr. Tsuchia. From there on, the series portraits those two boys, training and customizing parts to later on participate on Japans Cup, where all of Japan’s racers enter to be the best of the best!
This anime is one of the first I’ve encountered; in fact, some of my earliest memories involves this anime. I remember the days I used to stroll through the flee markets with my mom, looking at toy race cars, wanting one but never having enough money. It definitely will have its place in my heart forever.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend this anime to everyone. It isn’t a great anime, something everyone would enjoy. It’s more of a kids’ anime. The themes and storyline is simple and repetitive, easy for kids to understand. Yet it doesn’t lose its excitement (from a child’s perspective), though all 100+ episodes are basically the same (including the other seasons). Perhaps teens would think that this anime is too predictable or childish, but as a child, I really truly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I assume not many children under 12 are viewing this forum.
In the end, I am writing this review because I want people to know about this anime, as it has shaped parts of my childhood; at the same time, I know that it won’t do the same for you, especially if you live in North America (I’ve not seen one toy racecar here…).
19: Goal FH: Field Hunter
English: Goal Field Hunter
Japanese: ゴールFH (フィールド ハンター)
MAL Score: 6.83
The story is about Hikaru Tatsumura who came from Brazil to fulfill his dream to be a great soccer player because he met a great player once who was admired by all people. However Tatsumura is a very cheerful person and easy going except when it is about soccer. He becomes serious and strong. He also gives a unique performance such as doing a funny dance with his buddy after he makes a goal. Tatsumura will face a lot of challenges with his team while aiming for success.
Football Chronicles, Chapter 1: Goal Field Hunter
Year: 1994. The World Cup was being held in USA… and again, Japan couldn’t make it to the biggest event. But, the interest in soccer couldn’t be bigger: just two years before, the j-league was created (replacing the little amateur league), and with that, things could finally be serious (and it actually happened: from 98, Japan got to every world cup, and is getting better and better every time). And in this big furor was created Goal Field Hunter. And to make things clear, this one is a few months older than Captain Tsubasa J, so this isn’t a cheap rip off like a lot of people say. No, GFH has its own style…
Story: Hikaru Tatsumura is a japanese teen living in Brazil, and has great talent in football (but a big way to go). Hikaru’s a pretty nice guy in general, but he’s also a proponent and selfish player, and in the end he’s kicked out of his team. And not only that: his ex- club president told the other presidents (and managers, and coaches) to not let him play in other teams, for his discipline problems. Very annoyed for this situation, Hikaru did the opposite way of the legendary Tsubasa: with the (involuntary) advice of his friend Takuya, he decided to go and play in the reserves of the Shimizu S-Pulse. There, he will meet with lot of teammates and other people, but everyone think in the same things: first, win the reserve tournament. Second, play in the first team. And, of course, the final objective: join the Japan national team, and classify to the France World Cup.
Animation: Good for its time. It look a bit old now, but the animation is fluid and the characters are well done, and they’re different from each other (unlike Captain Tsubasa, which has a maximum of 15 faces in the whole manga xD).
Don’t expect super special effects, fire shoots, broken nets or impossible physics: here everything happens like in the real world. That’s probably the biggest appeal, or at least, the thing that make it different to many other shonen sports. This means, a lot of shoots go outside, the players get tired, no six kilometers courts, etc.).
Sound: Sorry folks, I have no idea how this sound in japanese. I watched the Latin-American version (which was pretty good, by the way. Bob Sponge was Hikaru’s voice actor xD).
Verdict: GFH is an interesting series. Back in the old days, the sports animes weren’t too close with the reality (things like Captain Tsubasa were the norm, or at least, those were the series that make it here), and a thing like this one was almost necessary. Yes, there’s less spectacular stuff, but more realism: it’s impossible to make a shoot (area to area) that destroy the net, shoots can be inefficient, even for the most skilled players, and there’s no replete stadium for a reserve match. Yes, there’s less emotivity, but there are rules: here, if you hit a rival with a flying kick (a reference from CT’s Makoto Soda, and others players too), its foul, and probably red card. To give you an idea, this series is closer to Hungry Heart (this one has a few flashy stuff, but nothing big) and Giant Killing than to Captain Tsubasa or Inazuma Eleven (this one is a utterly ridiculous, the characters only need ki to become Dragon Ball material).
The bad thing (in this is similar to Captain Tsubasa J…) is that it has an inconclusive ending… Yet, this is a very recommendable anime for any football fan out there, and also to a sports fan who doesn’t like the flashy stuff.
Crónicas Futbolísticas, Capitulo 1: Goal Field Hunter
El año es 1994. Se disputaba la copa del mundo de Estados Unidos, y nuevamente, Japón no podía clasificar. Pero el interés en el futbol no podía ser mayor: solo dos años antes, se inauguraba la J-league, la primera división de futbol japonesa (reemplazando a la liga amateur), y ahora las cosas si podrían hacerse en serio (y así fue: del 98 en adelante, Japón se clasifico siempre a la copa mundial, y su rol va haciéndose cada vez más respetable). Y es en este gran furor futbolístico que se estreno Goal Field Hunter o Goleadores, como la conocimos en Latinoamérica (en España no, la serie que ellos conocieron con ese nombre es Moero! Top Striker). Y para aclarar las cosas, este anime salió antes que Captain Tsubasa J (solo un par de meses), por lo que no es un plagio barato como muchos dicen. No, Goleadores tiene lo suyo…
Historia: Icaro (Hikaru Tatsumura), es un joven japonés que vive en Brasil, y que juega al futbol con gran habilidad, aunque le falta mucho camino por recorrer. A pesar de ser un buen tipo en general, Icaro es un bocón agrandado, prepotente y egoísta a la hora de jugar, por lo que termina siendo expulsado de su equipo por el dueño del club. Y no solo eso: este individuo le informa al resto de los presidentes de que no lo acepten en sus equipos. Muy enojado con esta situación, Icaro decide hacer la inversa de Tsubasa: por el consejo (inconsciente) de su amigo Rei (Takuya Miyamoto), termina yendo a Japón a jugar a las reservas del Shimizu S-Pulse. Ahí conocerá a diversos personajes, pero todos piensan en lo mismo: primero, ganar la liga satélite (así le dicen a la reserva). Después, subir a primera. Y obviamente, el objetivo final: jugar para el seleccionado japonés, y clasificarse al mundial de Francia.
Animación: Buena para la época, y aunque hoy parezca una serie vieja, la animación es fluida y los personajes están bien hechos, y son unos bien diferentes de otros (a diferencia de CT, donde hay un máximo de 15 caras en todo el manga xD).
Acá no esperen súper efectos especiales, tiros de fuego, redes rotas o física imposible: acá todo pasa como en el mundo real. Tal vez ese sea su mayor atractivo, o al menos, lo que la hace diferente de la mayoría de los shonens de deportes: es realista (o sea, muchísimos tiros se van afuera, tiros leves que se desvían en alguien entran, los jugadores se cansan, las canchas no miden seis kilómetros, etc).
Sonido: Las voces latinas son más que correctas, con una buena entonación y todo eso. Tal vez reconozcan a Luis Carreño, el seiyu que le dio su vos a Icaro, es también el mismísimo Bob Esponja (la segunda vos). Ni idea de las voces de España. La música no está mal, el opening es pegadizo y no perdona a las excusas ;), y cada vez que Icaro agarra la pelota escuchamos zamba. El punto negro es el audio: hay veces en la que se escucha muy bajo.
Veredicto: Goleadores es una serie interesante. Por esos días, los animes deportivos no estaban muy apegados a la realidad (siendo el máximo exponente Oliver y su grupo), y una serie así era casi necesaria. Cierto, acá no hay espectacularidad (que sí, es una palabra), pero hay realismo: es imposible hacer un tiro de área a área que destruya la red, si agarras la pelota de abajo va a salir para arriba y se va a ir muy, muy afuera, y si están jugando dos equipos cualquiera, las tribunas no están repletas como si fuera Real Madrid vs Barcelona. Tal vez allá un poco menos de emotividad, pero hay reglas: acá si le metes una patada voladora a alguien (lo digo por el señor Makoto Soda, de CT, entre muchos otros) es foul, y probablemente roja. Para que se hagan una idea, esta serie es más cercana a Hungry Heart (que tenía sus cosas, pero dentro de todo creíble) y Giant Killing que a Captain Tsubasa o Inazuma Eleven (en esta última se va todo al diablo, los personajes prácticamente tienen ki!). El punto malo (y acá si se parece a Captain Tsubasa J) es que la serie termina prácticamente en la nada… Así y todo, es una serie muy recomendable para los fans del futbol en general, y también para las personas que les gusta el anime deportivo sin mucha parafernalia.
18: Super Fishing Grander Musashi
Japanese: スーパーフィッシング グランダー武蔵
MAL Score: 6.86
Musashi lives with his father. His mother left them three years ago. Musashi believes she will come back to them. One day they move from Tokyo to a village in the countryside. Musashi hates living in the countryside and asks his father to take him back to Tokyo. He wonders if his mother will be able to find him in their new home.
Soon after moving to the countryside, Musashi happens to see a man fishing for bass with a decoy fish. Musashi is fascinated by lure fishing. He learns a lot from the man, and discovers that his mother’s father was a grand champion of bass fishing. Musashi feels that fishing could lead him to his missing mother. He shows a marvelous talent for lure fishing and takes trips to many places around the world in search of various incredible fish. Through fishing, Musashi comes to enjoy living amongst nature.
(Source: Official Site)
For a kids show of the mid 90’s, it not only had a layered and deep characters but also had riveting arcs to keep you hooked. The opening song pumped you for what was to come and the ending left you wanting for more. The art style was also not bad, but note the bias of my review might simply arise from the nostalgia of revisiting one of the first anime of my life.
Do give this show a shot with a grain of salt. I do not know if it has aged well, but it was popular in Japan and South East Asia in it’s time.
I will update this review in the future when I have more time. Thank you.
And yes, this is a somewhat mystical fishing anime with specially powered baits, rods, and fishing styles. It might sound cheesy, but it is tied together well in it’s presentation.
17: Battle Athletess Daiundoukai (TV)
English: Battle Athletes Victory
MAL Score: 6.87
Akari Kanzaki has just joined an all-girls academy in hopes of entering the University Satellite, an elite sports training facility. She wants to win the title of Cosmo Beauty – a title held years ago by her mother. It’s not an easy task for her as fear, doubt and peer pressure get in her way, but friends, rivals and fans slowly encourage her to overcome her obstacles and become the best of the Battle Athletes.
Our story opens in a training ground in Antarctica where a bunch of young female athletes are racing across an obstacle course while dragging giant steamrollers. It urns out that after an event that wiped out most of humanity, humans rebuilt and set up training schools to try and get the top athletes. The best students go to a satellite University to compete for the coveted “Cosmo Beauty” title. What I like about this series is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. It uses all the regular elements of a sport anime, but it uses them in a tongue in cheek way, mixes in sci-fi elements and just plays up their absurdity in general. So, while it is predictable, the comedic elements keep the viewer invested and keep the action interesting. That being said, the series has its problems too. The biggest being that it’s pretty racist. For most of the athletes, the series will give some specific country or place of origin: China, Osaka, Russia, the United States, a specific encampment on the moon and so on. There’s one character, however, whose area of origin is a continent. Her name is Tanya and her area of origin is “Africa.” Not like that’s a huge continent or anything. To make it worse, she’s a very… “primitive,” is unfortunately the most apt term, character. She’s superstitious, she runs on all fours, she’s simple minded to an absurd degree, she even howls at one point. Who knows, maybe the nations of Africa were too busy making artistic and scientific advancements, but they didn’t want to offend the rest of the world so they found the dumbest, but most athletic girl they could, made up a bunch of superstitions to teach her and sent her on her way. They bet on the rest of the world being too clueless to notice that Africa has multiple countries. Another issue is that the het romance, although there’s very little of it, is really creepy and involves major age and power imbalances. On the positive side, the yuri romance, which there’s a lot more of, is pretty cute and well handled. Was Hideyuki trying to actively encourage lesbianism or did he just figure people would accept the het regardless of how screwed up it was and, consequently, he didn’t bother trying to make it good? The world may never know but this is the writer behind Read or Die, so the former seems likely.
The major characters are, for the most part, decently fleshed out and developed. The major exception being the aforementioned racist stereotype. One nice little touch is that Akari’s development arc is pretty realistic. She goes through both good and difficult times with certain elements becoming prominent based on which end of the spectrum she’s on. Each cycle she goes through becomes demonstrative of her growth. She becomes better at handling both extremes with maturity and grace as things progress. I also really liked Akari’s love interest, Kris. She’s just amazing.
The art is nothing special. It’s pretty standard late 90s fare. About the most visually interesting it gets is towards the end when certain elements are introduced that I can’t really go into without giving spoilers. That being said, it is competent artwork.
The voice acting in this is really good. You have some really great actresses like Hisakawa Aya, Kawakami Tomoko and Itou Miki being among the biggest names. The music is pretty nice as well.
The ho-yay factor is a 6/10. Primarily because of Akari and Kris. Although Akari and Ichino have their moments as well. There’s also the dynamic between Lahrii and Mylandah.
And that’s Battle Athletes. To be honest, I rather liked it, in spite of its racism. It’s a fun series with some good characters, and one really bad one. The jokes are usually very effective, Akari and Kris have a lot of cute moments and it is an entertaining watch, if you can ignore or forgive its issues. Final rating: 7/10. Next week I’ll look at Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge.
What is this anime about?
Anime turns from light comedy into quite serious spokon with drama about girls who try to overdo their own abilities, with blood, jealousy, broken bones and rivalry until the end. Sometimes serious scenes are mixed with slice of lifecomedy parts.
Anime pays particular attention to such kinds of sport as running and swimming, and also pole vaulting, tennis, air hockey and so on.
Also near to the end you will be surprised by some entertaining plot twist.
Mankind was nearly destroyed 3000 years ago, but then Earth was recovered and humanity colonized Solar system. Sport became important part of people`s everyday life. Sport academies were founded on each planet to find the best athletes to attend the University Satellite.
There the best sport girls can take part in The Big Competition to become a Cosmo Beauty – the best athlet in the universe. Why only girls can attend this university you will find out when that plot twist happen.
Main heroine is cute and gentle Akari Kanzaki. Her mother was the legendary Cosmo Beauty who set lots of records. Akari will have to go through the hard way and turn from a weak girl, who hides from the troubles in the cardboard box with inscription “Akari house” to strong athlet to keep her promise given to her mother. I liked Akari so much actually.
All other characters have their own peculiarities too. Ayla and Jessie compete so hard that fall unconscious while swimming, Ichino starts envy to Akari when she becomes better that her, but fate punishes Ichino for this wrongdoing.
Anna does a terrible thing to her sister to attend the university. Chris torments between her religion and sport, and also she is a lesbian and loves Akari. Tanya is mischievous african girl who worships to totems.
Average for those years, but I liked it.
Nice OP song “Tsubasa” by Yukari Asakura. Also I liked voice of Akari`s seiyuu Rio Natsuki.
Sometimes sport competitions in this anime finish a little bit naive, nevertheless it was so pleasant to watch. I definately recommend it for people who like sport, drama, girls and the relationships between them.
One of these young hopefuls is Akari Kanzaki, who… Let’s just face it, is completely hopeless. She’s slow, fragile, and is just as clueless as to what she’s doing at the Antarctic training site as we are. Being the daughter of Tomoe Midoh, the greatest Cosmo Beauty in the history of the Great competition, she has the genetic make-up that any other competitor would kill for, but her athletic abilities, and her attitude towards training, make her long-lasting lock on last place feel even more painful to watch. While some of her fellow students may have a soft spot for the doe-eyed lump, others see her as an insult to everything they’ve dedicated their lives towards, and aren’t shy about letting her know it. But could the apathetic Akari be more than meets the eye? Could her exterior, which is about as threatening as a rag doll, be hiding an untapped well of talent that’s just begging to be discovered? And even going beyond that, is there some darker truth hiding behind the Great competition itself? As the competition heats up, and the champs rise above the chumps, the 1003’rd Cosmo Beauty may turn out to be the most important one of all.
For Battle Athletes victory, we return to AIC, or Anime International company, only this time we’re looking at one of their earliest works, which came out in the late nineties. The series will be 20 years old this October, and as such, it looks extremely dated. This was a time when the moe style was nowhere to be seen, anime had to work harder to look good regardless of budget, and character designs ranged from cartoony to realistic, while rarely ever straying away from believable human anatomy. Artwork was a lot less polished, and physiques were exaggerated a lot more than they are today. For the time it came out in, Battle Athletes victory looks really good… When it wants to. The animation in this title is heavily inconsistent, and it works for the most part. For athletic competitions that can’t be written off with cheap budget saving tricks(And a few of them definitely are), the animation can be straight up gorgeous. I’ve heard it said that one of the most difficult things to animate is character’s legs when they’re walking and running, and yeah, I’ve seen enough failed attempts to understand this.
A lot of work goes into the simple visual of feet hitting and pressing back off of the ground, which is why a lot of animation tends to focus on above the feet, if they’re not just resorting to bouncing the image of the character’s face. In spite of this, I’m not exaggerating when I say that Battle Athletes Victory makes running animation look easy. They can pull it off at any speed, from fast running that doesn’t give you time to analyze it, to slow-motion running that perfectly captures every single movement of the body to the point that I have to wonder just how much live action research they must have done beforehand. A lot of money clearly got poured into these scenes, because most of the other sports featured in this show aren’t really as impressive. That’s not to say they look bad, but there’s a lot of close-ups, a lot of short bursts of action, and occasionally even repeated animation cycles that are meant to give the illusion of physical activity, and thanks to some smart editing, it almost always works. About half of the action in this series is running, of course, so it’s still an impressive looking series.
Well, for the most part, at least. The budget gets spread too thin at times, and when they run into trouble with it, the quality just abruptly tanks. There are sequences, and a couple of entire episodes, that look less like a high budget show from the late nineties and more like a low budget show from the early nineties. A lot of the material between competitions is just characters talking, interacting and having the camera freeze on them during internal monologues, and this does worlds of good for the budget, but at it’s worst, even scenes like those wind up looking like ass. The character designs, while imaginative, don’t follow the most attractive color palette, making the artwork look kinda grungy at times, and since the characters are mostly designed to carry realistic human anatomy, there are only a few of them that can get away with deformed anime expressions… Some of the more serious characters, such as Akari’s rival Jessie, just look terrifying when attempting to do the same. The color saturation and use of lighting are beautiful, but there are too many instances where the artwork looks rough, and over-all unfinished.
The music, while pretty repetitive, is unbelievable. As with any good sports-related media, the story has a deeply emotional feel to it, and the music composed by Yoshikazu Suo was clearly designed to augment these emotions. Some of the happier moments between competitions will be played alongside the upbeat “There’s no Point Unless You Goal,” actual competition will be accompanied by the intense pounding beat of Battle Program, and for those more devastating and heart-breaking moments… Of which there is a surprising amount… We’ll get the violin track Adagio of Despair. Character themes were very thoughtfully put together and instantly reminiscent of the characters they’re attached to… Even when that’s primarily because they’re based on the races of extremely stereotypical characters, which i’m going to get to in a minute… But the highlight is Wings, the opening to the series, and easily on of my favorite of all time. Joyful and inspirational, and full of imagery that gives each character a fair dose of screen time while throwing in subtle hints about the series. Too bad you only get to see it once per disk… No, I’m not kidding. The same can be said for the sweet Honeybee, the closing theme.
The English dub is a bit hit or miss, but I still prefer it over the Japanese by a great deal, even if the writers made a few embarrassing mistakes in it, such as mistakenly writing a flashback scene as a current scene, or having Akari say another character’s name before actually learning it. I can kind of imagine mistakes like those happening in the old days, but it would be unheard of today. Hey, at least they didn’t try to crowbar in any pointless references to obscure current events, am I right? Anyway, the cast is full of Geneon actors from the late nineties, including the legendary Lia Sargent as the main character Akari, whom she plays very straightforward, innocent and full of heart, even as she grows from a spoiled and co-dependent slacker into a stronger, more confidant idealist, constantly changing while still sounding like the same person at heart. Wendee Lee plays the gruff Osakan native Itchino, in what’s probably one of my favorite roles of hers, as she balances the characters softer and tougher sides fluidly. Steve Blum also gets a small role as the University Satellite headmaster, Grant Oldman, although it’s not a very demanding role, his presence is still appreciated.
Bridget Hoffman pulls double duty as both the Chinese stereotype character Ling Pha, which she performs in a comedically exaggerated accent, and then in a much more dignified role as Anna, who… Like one of her more recent characters… Is a sweet, diminutive girl with a dark, potentially dangerous side that’s hiding beneath the surface. As a treat to any Trigun fans that happen to be reading this, Dorothy Elias-Fahn plays Kris Christopher, a strange but strong-willed girl who has a deep, unrequited crush on Akari. So it’s basically the Milly and Meryl pairing you thought would never happen. Also, as an interesting for Ghost in the Shell fans, two different Motoko Kusanagi actors… Mary Elizabeth McGlynn from the anime and Mimi Woods from the video game, play characters that never actually meet or speak to each other. They’re both good, but McGlynn is phenomenal at how she plays an emotionless character who finds emotion through competition. Julie Maddalena probably had the only bad performance, but I don’t really blame her, because she was playing an annoying and entirely problematic character, so she was probably doing the best she could with what she was given. Finally, we get Jamieson Price, and as much as I’d like to go into detail about why he’s so amazing in this, his character is unfortunately mired in spoilers.
So if you haven’t realized by now, this show is really freaking weird. It’s possibly even one of the weirdest anime I’ve ever seen. There are a ton of strange anime out there that just shove weirdness into your face until it hits diminishing returns and becomes passé, such as Hare + Guu and Excel Saga, but with victory, the weirdness is paced in a way that it can keep consistently shocking you, as each strange detail that gets added to the story makes it’s impact and then settles neatly into the reality of the series’ universe, becoming commonplace for both the viewer and the characters… Until the next kooky detail comes along. So what if one of the main characters has a pet cow that’s allowed to live in her dorm with her? That’s just Gyuube, don’t mind her. So what if an alien turns a girl into a car? those aliens are just like that. So what if one of the show’s only male characters needs a constant supply of chocolate to survive? So what if some characters have unexplained jewels embedded in the foreheads, while other girls don’t? This series takes place in a strange world, with a strange premise, and it seems to revel in the idea of completely ignoring your expectations.
To it’s credit, though, it’s not like it tries to trick you into letting your guard down for it. Victory lets you know right off the bat how weird it’s going to be right from the first shot of episode 1, where the athletes at the Antarctica Training Center are in the middle of an important assessment test, racing while pulling gigantic rolling weights behind them. They’re not just pulling these multi-ton items behind them unhindered, however… They’re moving over rough terrain, avoiding booby traps, and even using their weights as weapons against each other. The results are of course catastrophic, as them main character(Whose been in dead last nearly the entire race) accidentally launches into the air and takes out a media reporter’s hot air balloon. And if that’s not enough, right in the second episode, there’s a biking competition where the contestants are riding on a roller-coaster track, which is designed not only to go up and down, around curves and loop-de-loop like a real roller coaster, but which can even be moved and rearranged DURING THE RACE from a control room overlooking the action.
If you can get through episode 2 without picking up on the fact that this series will leave no shark unjumped, you must have been fiddling with your phone the entire time. Not everything got the sci-fi treatment, of course… We get more normal sports like racing, soccer, tennis and the like. But when it came to making up weird sports, this series goes balls to the wall with it’s level of creativity and imagination. Like a game of pool where the balls are huge, and you have to break them by bowling. Or zero-gravity lacrosse that adds several new dimensions to the game. Then there’s my personal favorite, when they play air hockey, but the puck is as big as a dinner plate, and it’s literally hovering in mid-air. There are others, of course, but in most of these events, the human limit is constantly being pushed and broken, even before we see runners that can accelerate fast enough to create shock waves, and there’s seemingly no rule against injuring your opponent in the middle of battle, as people being taken out with grueling injuries is seen as little other than an elimination.
I’d normally be tearing apart a show like this over how ridiculous it is, how little sense it makes, and how almost none of it could feasibly happen in the real world, even in a dystopian future. Hell, there ARE some plot details I can’t get over, but that’s just the thing… They’re plot details, not connected to the weird pieces of sports logic throughout the series. What ultimately saves this show from being too stupid to excuse is just how sincere it all is. Yeah, the featured sporting events may be ridiculously beyond human capabilities,
but to it’s credit, the athletes performing them are constantly TRAINING themselves beyond human capabilities, and the final story arc gives us an actual solid reason(albeit still just as ridiculous) for why they need to train to surpass conceivable human limits. It never feels like their abilities are undeserved, either… The characters train their asses off, and even when you don’t get to see them do so, you can easily tell from their attitudes what their approach is to training as well as just how serious they are about it. Those that don’t are considered ‘naturals,’ and are treated as anomalies.
So, ultimately, what saves this series from being laughable is it’s mastery over character writing. Every single character who gets even a mild level of importance is given a distinct arc, full of development and memorable moments. Akari easily gets the most of it, because in a way that’s almost reminiscent of Goku, every time she breaks into a new level of ability, there’s another major lesson she has to learn, and another serious challenge for her to overcome, and they all seem to make sense, despite rarely being predictable and once or twice relying on some shaky logic. I went into some detail about this in my review of Gunbuster last year, but throughout the course of the story, Akari is forced to evolve and grow as a character, from a whiny, spoiled little doll to a fierce competitor who can shave significant time off of her running speed just by reading a tip in a book. She has to overcome limits and challenges that are really more psychological than physical, and she’s not the only one. Everyone in this show has demons they have to deal with in order to grow and develop.
There’s a lot of ways to bring depth to your writing, and one of those ways is to have your story be about something. It can be a theme, it can be an idea, but it has to be consistent. Battle Athletes victory is a story about Truth. I don’t mean abstractly, like learning how not to lie, I mean deep, complex truth. The truths we hide from others, the truths we hide from ourselves, and even the truths that get buried throughout history. I said before that there’s a lot of character development in this series, but more specifically, every character has a hidden truth… Sometimes multiple… They they need to uncover within themselves in order to grow. An emotionless girl who’s been trained to be an athletic machine will be forced to realize that the only thing she truly cares about is beating her rival. A prideful overachiever will be devastated to realize there’s another plane of greatness she’ll never be able to reach. The goofball will realize just how much winning the competition meant to her, when she no longer has food or friends around to comfort her. You may train your best friend, only to be forced to acknowledge how much being better than them means to you when she starts to close in on you. Hell, the most dishonest character in the cast, Ling Pha, is arguably the only one who never really develops.
But the most important truth in the series, to me, is the one that rang true to me a few years ago. I’ve seen this series multiple times, and one of those rewatches happened when I was having trouble at work. I was slowing down, not really giving it my all, and after a while of it, I got called into the office. They asked me what was wrong, why I wasn’t producing results, and I said I didn’t know, claiming that I was busting my ass… Words I almost choked on, because even I knew they were bullshit. This all changed when I realized that I was doing the same thing Akari was doing. Whenever I was faced with a task that looked too difficult, I’d automatically accept that it was impossible, and I’d use that excuse to not try. I didn’t have a friend like Itchan to wake me up to this fact, but it was true, I was sabotaging myself, making excuses for failures that hadn’t happened yet. As soon as I realized this, I put a stop to it. I decided that no job was impossible, no matter how unreasonable. Ever since that day, I’ve never given up, I’ve never made excuses for myself, and I’ve continued to be employed as a result. It’s easy for a story to teach life lessons to kids, but when you can change the life and outlook of an adult viewer, there’s something special there.
Having said that, this series isn’t perfect. It has some flaws, and they go deep. There are constant logical derps… The true nature of the character Eric might have you pulling your hair out… But it’s biggest problem is it’s over-use of harmful and insulting stereotypes. The Russian girl is an emotionless machine, the Chinese girl is a dishonest cheater who’s always trying to sell stuff to people, the lesbian is a predatory lech who pays no regard to consent or mutual attraction(think the black girl from Pitch Perfect but not quite as bad), and the black girl… Holy shit, the black girl. Yeah, there’s a character here who’s from Africa, and her character is so racist that even Paula Dean would be insulted. She’s likeable, don’t get me wrong, but if this were an American cartoon, it would be one of the Censored 11. She runs around on all fours, uses her nose like a blood hound, is a “Natural runner,” and there’s an entire episode dedicated to her running around school in a tribal uniform, worshipping a totem god and painting everyone’s faces. There’s also a lot of lame jokes, such as the gimmick of a trio of hijackers, and… Okay, honestly, the whole episode that began the University Satellite arc kinda sucked.
It’s second biggest problem, right behind the racism issue, is the availability of the series. I mean, the lack thereof. Battle Athletes victory was available from Pioneer, which would eventually become Geneon, which would eventually go out of business. It’s been out of print for almost 20 years, and I can’t find any information about anybody trying to rescue it. If that’s not bad enough, the DVDs that it’s actually available on are pieces of shit, dated in all the worst ways. First of all, as I mentioned before, you only get the opening once per disk. That’s because it uses Dragonball Z’s marathon feature, only it’s not a feature, you don’t have a choice. Opening, three to four back-to-back episodes, closing. And the dubbers plastered white text over the opening instead of trying to avoid blocking the visuals. You can find these DVDs for fairly cheap online, and if you’re trying to get all 8 of them, you may even get lucky with a fifty dollar bundle on Ebay. The original OVA is also available stateside, but the manga is not. but seriously, if you’re reading this and actually have the right connections, PLEASE get this series rereleased. Discotek’s been into that kind of thing lately.
It’s not often that you hear about an anime changing someone’s life. They can turn you off from violence, help you to overcome prejudices, change your attitude towards your own life, make you appreciate your loved ones in new ways… Battle Athletes victory is a series that literally, tangibly changed my life, and I’m pretty sure I’d have lost my job and a significant portion of my livelihood without it. I won’t BS you by calling it a masterpiece, that’s not true… The visual quality is inconsistent, the logic isn’t always sound, it’s only black character is too much like Rob Schneider from The Animal, but if you’re able to get past all of that, this series is beautiful. It’s full of heart, has an undeniable passion for athletics and competition, and it’s always finding new ways to make you cry, without having to rely on any cliché modern day tragedy porn. There’s nothing manipulative about it, just genuine emotion and sincere sportsmanship. The sci-fi elements are also a blast, and while the final stretch may have jumped the shark a little too far… Even I’ll admit that… It’s very rarely unenjoyable, even then. It’s an obscure title, but it’s well worth the effort it’ll take to find it. I give Battle Athletes Victory an 8/10.
16: Shippuu! Iron Leaguer
Japanese: 疾風！ アイアンリーガー
MAL Score: 6.94
The Iron League: a place where teams of robots, under individual “owners”, play various sports and duke it out in tournaments. Mach Windy is a member of Dark Prince, a team that doesn’t play fair and fights dirty to win. Unsatisfied with the actions of his teammates, he defects against the will of Dark Prince’s nefarious owner and joins Silver Prince: the weakest team in the league. Alongside faithful companions such as Magnum Ace and Bull Armor, Mach Windy and Silver Prince will battle against Dark Prince in games of soccer and baseball, and aim for the top!
I feel that fans of this show are crazy fans even if they haven’t seen the show in years. I can only imagine the joy the Japanese fans felt when the show finally got released to DVD 10 years after airing.
This is definitely a special anime. It’s so goood that you can tell in 1993 or 4 or whenever that they’re never going to make something this good again or rather i wish they would! In other words, a true classic! I am calling this a classic because of the QUALITY not because it’s old or the first anime to do x. I wish people would stop calling boring old animes as classic because it’s old. I wish people would stop saying oh it’s the nostalgia or whatever to dismiss 90s/80s anime (it basically depends on the anime). For me i remember I loved watching a bunch of anime as a child and remember they were fun. But then i watched some of those again years later after I forget all the details and then after re-watching i went what ? that’s it? i realized at that point it’s ONLY really fun for children but not for me now. It’s not a bad thing necessarily. Some pass that test, some don’t. it’s pretty obvious whether it does or not. LET ME TELL you that this anime shines now and then. I would guess that when I was a child I wasn’t drawn to this anime… you know robots + sports screams shounen anime. I probably watched on a whim and then realized the show is actually REALLY good. I feel like there’s no such thing as I hate x genre in anime. I think it means you haven’t a seen a good anime in that genre. That’s another reason why I think it’s special. I hate shonen anime and this one is if you try to categorize it from the nature of the show but it’s so gooooooood. Whenever say ugh this anime went all shonen on me I mean that in the worst way possible lol… ie the end of kurenai. despite that there are “shonen” anime that I do like.
I feel like this anime could only be done via anime and that too adds to the specialness of the anime. If it was 26 eps, it wouldn’t be as good, if it was live action that would be really difficult lol… For nodame cantabile I was thinking how the animation is not that anime and so it’s not as expressive as iron leaguer when it comes to facial expression or any type of expression.. they kept the instrument playing animation to a minimum? for obvious reasons. I was thinking what’s the point of making this into an anime?? I thought the drama was better… I REALLY loved the facial expressions and other stuff they did for expression in iron leaguer so it made me think of this.
I love the message of the show. I love how it doesn’t come off forced or cheesy as it has in other anime shows especially the kids shows (wedding peach…) . i love how even though it’s a kids show it can definitely enjoyed by adults. few children’s shows can also be enjoyed by adults and this is one of them. There’s also mystery and surprises. There’s parts that I LOVE… those scenes where x finds about y’s secret or x learns the truth about y. While i was watching i was so curious as to how the character would react and what they would say and now that i’ve seen it, i want to see it again lol.
random thought while I was watching. I was thinking “hey since ryuuken is the karate leaguer he’s like asian so does he have the smallest eyes?” but his eyes looked big in this scene so eh to that silly theory.
I further confirmed the specialness of the anime when I read the interviews by the producers on the official site and how they had all this inspiration from real baseball players and more and were having fun and working hard to make it (like the animators). Also one of them said that this show is for children but they also want people of other ages to watch… he went on to say that overly making it from a child’s pov isn’t a children’s anime. rather, anime that can be enjoyed by adults and old people and children are true children anime. They had no CG back then 😦 but i wonder if the show would look like shit if they used CG…After i finished watching it i really wanted to read interviews. there’s interviews on the official website but I want more. I was thinking if they had interviews or something in anime magazines in the 90s… like i want to read those tooooo. also I felt like reading other fans thoughts… well the japanese fans.
there’s no romance but there’s bromance. in fact you could watch it from a a dirty yaoi fangirl pov lol. there are scenes or lines that could be interpreted like that. I definitely watched from that point of view from time to time lol. i also watched from a serious pov too. Magnum x windy forever ❤ ! lol. IRON LEAUGER is so much more moe than the anime nowadays that try so hard… AND FAIL. It reminds me of some of the realllly trashy american singers that think they’re “sexy” or they think they have to be trashy or almost naked (naked as possible) to be sexy.. they don’t seem to understand that that’s not necessary. I’ve seen time it and time again on immotral song or even in k-pop that it’s possible to be classy and sexy at the same time. it’s so oversexualized in america.
there’s comedy too. it’s smidge of comedy but when they put it in here and there with the animation or situation or a line that put a smile on my face or made me chuckle. it’s so well done because of the characters/character designs and the whole set-up. there isn’t a lot of comedy, BUT none of the comedy fails. the point of the show isn’t comedy anyway but the comedy in it is 5/5 lol. The just completes the show~
so in that way there’s cuteness and moe ( I moed out sometimes lol). the animes now a days try way too hard to the point where the show is boring as hell unless you’re a creepy otaku or they have NO class or it’s so obvious they’re trying so hard. I really want those otakus to watch this anime. for this show that kind of stuff is effortless and those little moments of moe and cuteness is to die for. I LOVED it when magnum winked lol. nowadays the moe is getting really creepy or boring or way too maniac or plain tasteless or too… much ie borderline softcore porno/hentai/whatever you call it. i feel like the moe here occurred naturally or it came off naturally as a result of all the hard-work they put into show rather than like using moe to cover their asses which is a noticeable trend in anime right now. I like the word bromance more than yaoi and i don’t know what yaoi really means anyways (how far do they go lol). they’re robots anyhooooo. so i feel like the bromance is all innocent and fun and if you want to think all twisted and whatnot draw weird fanart go ahead~
I love the animation. the character designs kick ass. For example, the inning on magnum’s back is so CUTE lol. I gotta pause and stare at everyone’s designs lol. one time they zoomed into their shoes/feet. they were all so unique and cute lolz. no seriously i need to inundate this post with the ADORABLE CHARACTER DEISGNS. some of them are BADASS of course but I can still see the cuteness in the badass designs tooooooooo. that’s another reason why this show is so awesome. It has so much going on for it.
The human character designs are good. i was reading in the interview somebody drew the humans asked the producer or somebody is this alright. whaddya think? so i could tell they were being
particular with it. if you think ruri is ugly or whatever then i guess you can since she’s a normal girl. they show a movie star in one ep and that movie star was really pretty. so i think it’s fine ruri isn’t as pretty as the movi star. i dont’ tihnk ruri ugly though personally. I think the girl designs that are overly moed up are ugly actually if anything… .not to mention not a smidge of originality. it reminds me of south korean plastic surgery epidemic. NOSE, EYES, JAW-LINE, FAT-DISTRIBUTION. wtf
The action/animation was intense and exciting and they definitely planned it out well. The beginning of the series was sorta normal but as things progressed the animation got more intense. I really mean it as intense and exciting. that’s the only way I can describe it. don’t worry it’s not a mediocre sports/shonen (no seriously what is up with the crap people proclaim as epic being the boring shit in the world?) anime. the games are exciting, i was saying they’re screwed every other episode lol. that’s what makes it interesting. plus the episodes where the game should be most exciting really is exciting… you don’t have to worry about quality when it comes to that. It was awesome. I had a blast watching those episodes because there’s moments where I’m like omg what’s gonna happen/omg i can’t believe this happened/omg how’s it gonna end/omg i can’t believe it’s ending like this/ lol. it’s a lot of omg’s like every couple minutes??? I found it fun and enjoyable to watch… and that’s what makes someone want to recommend a certain anime to another person because you want to pass on your enjoyment and hope or think that they’ll enjoy it as well.
I love the facial expressions they did with the robots. it’s so expressive. When I was reading the interview, they had separate people for separate things like a person was in charge of facial expression, another for posing etc etc. so I totally LOVED that when I watched. It’s so well done and i could tell they put effort into minuscule stuff like that even before i read the interview. there’s stuff I notice or feel or whatever while watch and reading the interview just affirms that or explains what I was feeling and love how it goes both ways like that. i really really feel what the creators put in to this … their sweats, tears, soul, love for sports, etc,etc. going back to what i was saying i loved what they did with their eyes. I thought it was interesting how their mouths are pink inside like humans lol. Not to mention SUPER CUTE!!! one aspect of the show that seems sorta contradicting is what makes it so good and special and unique. that is how the robots are metal so they shouldn’t be humanly but actually they’re more human than the humans lol.
I also love how the thicklines add to the menace(?) /intensity/impact
The people who made this anime mentioned in the interview on the official website how they had trouble with consistently drawing the characters and robots the same in terms of their relative heights/size. I think they argued about it and got frustrated lol. I think it’s cute and it’s anime so it’s all GOOD. it adds to the enjoyment in my opinion.. spot the quirks!
I wonder if there’s a main character? Is it Magnum Ace? I mean everything is connected to him. If he’s not, then there’s no main character. Anyways I loved all the characters. They’re ALL likable and have their cute character designs. I loved the way top joy talked with the nes and the intonation. not sure if english speakers can tell that his intonation is a little off because i remember when i was wtaching lovely complex with zero japanese studying i couldn’t really hear a significant difference from the way these characters talked vs characters in any other anime but if i were to watch it now i would be like oh it’s so kansai-ben lol. Anyways I loved SEAGULL… the voice acting, the way they drew him, the angle, the pose, etc, and his story or whatever scene with him had me glued me to the screen. THEY utilized the side characters really well.
I loved all the voice acting. everyone fitted the character. MAGNUM’s voice is PERFECTTTTTTTT. I liked all the voice actor’s voices… like i gotta look up what other anime they’re in. I loved the recycling of the Voice actors too lol. like the voice actor of someone on silver castle ends up voicing the baddie’s ___ voice. it’s interesting. actually out of the gold brothers i liked gold mask the best because of his voice… but i like all of ’em so much! sometimes i wanted to know the voice actor of some really minor person in the episode but then when i chcked out the credits they credit main and minor but they don’t include e single character that was in the episode. so i asked on chiebukuro who did mihaeru’s voice because i loved her voice and they were like…well one person replied that it was this voice actor who plays another characteron iron leaguer… so maybe that’s why they don’t credit a character because they recycle the voice actors and we’re supposed to know which one did that minor character (sometimes the va is reall ygood at changing their voices to play different characters so it’s sorta hard. do they still do this practice now a days ? lol.
and of course i LOVEd THE BGM. when i saw them use the bgm in the first ep I was scared they might overuse it but they didn’t overuse it at all imo… and i watched eps in a row etc etc… you know how some tv dramas have something special going on for it especially the bgm like hanazakari no kimtiachi e or JIN or this… you can tell they’re putting their all into it the shows.
So I didn’t watch the previews till after i saw the episode because I want to be as surprised as much as possible. But after certain episodes I was thinking even if i watched the preview i couldn’t have predicted this lol. there’s some good surprises
The opening is awesome. it totally matches the show. It’s definitely good enough to be used throughout the whole run. as you watch the show you realize how amazing the opening song is. I was wondering for the part where they sing IRON LEAGUER with japanese pronounciation of aian riiiiiiiii gaaaaaaaaaa….it sounds like they’re saying eiennnnn leaguer. it doe snot sound like aiannnnnn riiiiiiii gaaaaaaaaaa like it should. in the show they say iron leaguer a lot and they aian riii gaaa. maybe they’re doing that on purpose cause you know eien means forever,eternal. I never reallllllly got why he’s saying it like eiennnnnn riiiiii gaaa.
the ending song is really goood, i love the message. i love hearing the seiyuu’s of characters sing the song. here it is ruri’s seiyuu.
the second ending song is silly lol. the lyrics are simple and fitting. i was gonna watch it once then i realized that they’re changing the lyrics up for the song. it’s so funny hearing magnum ace sing such a silly song.
they changed the animation for the op and let me say that the second opening is rather intense. in fact i couldn’t even tell wtf was going on at some parts because of the credits so i definitely gotta go check out the creditles version. yes they deserve their credit but we can’t see the animator’s work… thank god for creditless opening.
If I HAD to bring up the weakness it would be this certain arc … one reason is because after it was right after a couple REALLY REALLY interesting/INTENSE/EXCITING eps (it literally makes me go omg who knew sports anime could get this good……. ) . the eps were sorta filler-type but then they technically aren’t… and the way that arc ended was kickass AMAZING so that’s why i wrote if i HAD To bring up a ~~ but I still liked that arc as a whole. in this arc there’s eps that are better than others. another thing is towards the end, you’ve seen all the tricks they pull and whatever so it’s not as fresh as in the beginning… but you know the last game was exciting so.. no complaints. I never felt like the games were ever stretched out… perfect ratio of action/dialogue/announcer”s dialogue/talking to self time/robots communicating to each other via telepathy or technology or whatever.. stuff became more big and intense as it went on… i guess that’s the shonen factor but i LOVED IT. like i said before i hate shonen anime b.c. i instinctively hate shonen anime because i ain’t a shonen. but if it’s a really well-done shonen like this I’m all for it, i feel it.
but you know something i wished happened was there was more character development in the last 10-15 episodes as in OTHER characters but then i’m not sure if that would’ve taken away from the character they were developing during those episodes. But you know what i also wish they developed the character they were developing during those eps more like his _____s (I’m not gonna fill that in, those who watched know what comes before the s, hint PLURAL). they gave us something but i wish it was more. that’s selfish request that will never come true lolz.
a fine 52-episode anime that is WELL-DONE.!!! it makes me lament the animes now-a-days that are 13-eps and are suckfest from beginning to end or it could’ve been better if it was longer or try to “move” the audience even though they didn’t develop the characters etc etc. but i loved zetsubou sensei and i think 13 eps was fine for that since the second season was not as interesting and the third season was unwatchable. it all depends on the show and how well done it is etc etc etc.
so it’s completely subbed for chinese and korean (thank god for these lol). it’s done partially for english. This anime has HEART… It’s very HEART-WARMING.
oh and the ova is not good. i don’t know it has holes… i don’t understand the point of it.are ovas that are released after the tv series always bad…??
I was so sad when i finished watching the series. the ending is good and satisfying but i’m sad that’ it’s over. no i donn’t want to it to go on endlessly like naruto. that would make the show turn into 1/10… I sorta confirmed this with the OVA. The only thing positive about the ova I can say is they came up with some interesting robots with the designs (creative stuff… ) and animation of course. I think that’s how one feels after being absorbed and watching something really fun and significant. plus i can’t un-watch this. I gotta wait many years before rewatching lol…. i already know the story and surprises etc but like I said I LOVED some of those scenes. I don’t understand what’s the point of OVAs. i was thinking of the word masturbation with OVAs… because the only people who are going to watch it are FANS not people who you are trying to hoook on the show like with anime tv series. so the people making it know you want to see it or buy it and they know that you loved the series. so they probably can tell what you loved about the series and try to include it in the OVA but it’s not the same thing because that stuff was happening in the series while it was going on (in that atmosphere that was built from past eps and whatnot), while now in the OVA it’s happening after the series “concluded” so… it’s like… novelty effect is worn off and it’s NOT the same thing. as much as i love the characters and the world the anime is set in, I enjoyd it in the ANIME series and i’ll re-live it by re-watching the episodes instead of some weird OVA that’s trying to recreate that??? I want to enjoy the real deal 100% iron leaguer world, not some half-bajed iron leaguer world. but the thing is if the series is really good, usually a good story is told and the ends are tied. so if you gotta something afterwards, you gotta create some friction, and problems or introduce something new etc. otherwise it’s a filler episode of the series ?? so basically the OVA has the potential to destroy what the tv series has done because of what an ova is… something that concluded beautifully gets unconcluded with whatever new thing they come up with. but anyways i loved the series and i dont’ want to talk shit about the iron leaguer ovas. i’m saying, i loved the SERIES but i didn’t like the ovas. I was thinking after i watched the series or the OVAs of stuff I want to know more about with characters and whatnot… so I was thinking maybe the OVA could’ve been better if they told us about the details that fans want to know about the iron leaguers and the story. BUT THEN I READ that there’s some LD (what is that?) that was released and how they wrote the robot’s biography or something on it for all 7 main robots.
The story it takes place in a future where all the sports are played by a team of robots. in this context there is the Silver Castle the worst team in the soccer league, but the fate of the team changes drastically when Magnum Ace, a misterious leaguer, join the team and recruites other strong leaguers to battle Dark Prince, the strongest team in the series.
The story sounds simple and cliché, the pace of the series is very unstable and one of the critics that i have is that 52 episodes is a lot for a simple plot. Aside this the plot have some of misteries that is revealed at bits, the story is divided in 3 arcs the inicial arc that introduces the world the teams and the characters, the second is the stray league arc that goes on another story that it gives the show a nice breath of fresh air and the third arc the world cup tournament.
Its the typical 90’s artstyle and for me its was good but it isn’t anything groundbreaking. Some episodes is really good and others is fine at is best, in general there’s consistency.
The sound is mediocre at is best, there just 2 or 3 song that i can say that i like aside from the opening, the rest is very forgetful.
First the VA/Seiyuus the cast is really good, famous names and voices that are remarkable. saying that most of the characters have their own personality specially the main characters but there are a little to none development, this the classic what you see is what you get. All that aside every characters have their moments and their time to shine with all of then being likeable.
I can say that i enjoy this anime, mostly because i feel attracted to this 80’s/90’s obscure animes. But i can pointed that this is a decent and well built show and if you want to watch a light, simple and fun anime this a excellent choice.
Iron Leaguer is definitely not going to be a show for everyone. You have to be very open-minded to old-school animes. You have to be patient because some episodes don’t advance much to the plot. The theme can represent what the 90’s was for the anime industry (a decade very experimental for anime plots). It may get a bit repetitive and be far from perfect, but the solid characters and a fun and easygoing feeling can turn this show a very fun and pleasant gem.
This is my first review in the MAL so i expected to make a decent job.
It’s probably fair to say that at no point in its life was this show a chart-topper. From its.. interesting robot designs and continually subpar animation to its repetitive and often limited soundtrack and aggressively corny plot beats, Iron Leaguer is clearly not the cream the of the crop. It never received an English release, so the vast majority of its English-speaking viewers have been given the opportunity to see it thanks to the efforts of fansubbers Alpha Numbers and Silver Castle. I think it’s pretty telling, then, that most reviews here from those that have watched the whole show have given it a better score than those elements perhaps deserve.
On a surface level, this is a weird combination of a half-assed sports anime that’s more about sportsmanship than actually playing sport, and a sentient mecha show that dips into the ethics of robotics. Kinda. If you like the talking, feeling kind of robots, this is going to be very up your alley.
The run-of-the-mill sports championship content of this show is underpinned by a deeper, weirdly darker narrative about old robots being retired and used for war. Perhaps inadvertently, this intrigue is coupled with a surprisingly effective framing of our enigmatic protagonist Magnum Ace that starts suspenseful, turns into something deeply interesting, and is concluded with an arc that breaks open the consequences of that mystery and interrogates his character, using him as a metaphor for the moral basis of the show. Iron Leaguer is not well written on a moment-to-moment basis, but over its 52-episode run this throughline is bewilderingly well-executed.
The rest of the main cast, for the most part, spend their focus episodes being interesting and endearing and then fade into the background as soon as they’re over. The plots often alternate between being cheesy and outright ridiculous, and so much of this show is unintentionally funny that it makes an amazing drinking game.
The show sucks. But it has a driving plot that works, enough interesting characters at any given time to support it, and most of all – elevating it above other lackluster old animes, imo – it has heart. Give it a chance and if it’s for you, you’ll see what I mean.
15: Grander Musashi RV
MAL Score: 6.99
Sequel to Grander Musashi. A young but experienced fisherman named Musashi Kazama and his two friends travel around the world in search of seven mysterious objects of fantastic power called “Legenders”, each one in the form of a fish. Legenders are said to grant anyone who catches them the power to change the world. Unfortunately, Musashi ends up competing with several other fishermen who share his ambition of capturing a Legender.
14: Dragon League
English: Dragon League
MAL Score: 7.00
Tokio and his father Amon go to the soccer country of Elevenia where they see a parade of the strongest soccer team of that country, the Winners. Amon challenges the team captain Leon to a soccer battle and, when Amon loses, Leon turns him into a miniature dragon. Tokio sees the fight and decides to challenge against Leon so that Amon can become human again.
The story itself is your typical adventure story with overpowered skills in this case their soccer skills.
In my opinion, the story could have been developed in fewer chapters and given a better emphasis to the final soccer game. The end of the series, which I saw when I was 6 years old, did seem good to me.
As a curious fact, this anime was only broadcast once on Peruvian television and there were no repetitions, as it usually happens with other animation series.
13: Red Baron
MAL Score: 7.02
In the future, the “Metal Fight” games are the most popular televised sport in the world and many robot contestants compete for the title of Best Metal Fighter in the World. Kurenai Ken, along with teammate Saeba Shoko (who was, at first, adamant), pilots the Super Robot Fighter, Red Baron and enters the contest with dreams of becoming its champion. He must, however, face an army of other rivals from around the world including Kaizer (who is, in fact, Shoko’s supposedly “lost” father, Tetsuo Saeba), the Tetsumen Tou (“Iron Fist” – a reference to the original Red Baron TV series) doctors, Tiger and ShinRon.
If you know nothing of Red Baron, at least check out the opening please.
It can be viewed if you search Baron Rojo Japones opening on youtube. From what I know, Red Baron is also dubbed in Spanish and Cantonese. Both available on youtube.
This is the best mecha anime to ever exist in the world. Its mecha fights captivated me, and the achieve the dream, never give up theme is done better than any other mecha anime.
Better than Lagann. Better than Kill la Kill, and Better than Koutetsushin Jeeg. In fact, I’d say Lagann probably copied Red Baron. Look at the resemblance. Why do you do this to Red Baron? Red Baron should be the one with popularity!
Our hero is charming, spirited, and daring. He is charming cause he looks so handsome with his ponytail. Google image Red Baron anime and see for yourself. He has the spirit of a martial artist. Well he is a martial artist, but his fighting spirit burns like fire. And he is daring, backs out from no challenge, and extremely brave.
He started off with nothing, but determination. It can be seen in his fiery and passion to acquire his own mecha and win the tourney. And that’s where he fatedly meets the girl, the owner of Red Baron.
The anime is amazing, remarkable, and stunning. It is old school and has comedy, action, and excellent soundtrack. It is absolutely perfect.
I pray that everyone will have the opportunity to see a real mecha anime.
On these days I fight searching something instead of 3 or 4 episodes of this anime, but i can’t find. Most subs PT-BR who tried to revive this incredible anime don’t know where to found more RAWs for it.
There’s nothing so much I can say about this anime, because I was too young when I watched this. I don’t remember nothing, but one thing I remember, this show used to be awesome on my age.
Please, God if u exist, please bring Red Baron again, I can’t die without rewatch this serie.
12: Princess Nine: Kisaragi Joshikou Yakyuubu
English: Princess Nine
Japanese: プリンセスナイン 如月女子高野球部
MAL Score: 7.15
Keiko Himuro, Chairman of the Kisuragi School, puts together an all-girl baseball team led by Ryo Hayakawa, daughter of a legendary pitcher, in hopes of proving that girls can compete just as well as boys. Their goal: Koshien Stadium, where only the best teams get the opportunity to play.
Art: I’d have to say the art isnt something to fancy and isnt something to plain. its just nice and fits nicely with the show.
Sound: The voice actors and the characters i personally think matched perfectly with each other.
Character: You see quite a bit of character development through out the minor characters each with an episode or more introducing them and showing their own problems that they receive help from their friends. There is one character how ever, the main character of the show you really see her and her emotions come into play expecially when one event occurs to her and her attitude takes a complete turn of course you would have to watch the show to have a look at what event im talking about. The romance between the boy and the girl isnt as in depth as some anime’s are but you can see their relationship grow and change through the show but as i said before its mainly focused more on the development between team members.
Enjoyment: I really liked this show expecially the idea of what boys can do girls can to and shows the true power of girls when we work together true we may be weak when we’re alone but thats why this one is amazing as even when their alone they still have the determination and attitude.
Overall: This was a good show story was amazing as far as i can tell i would recommend every girl to atleast try this show even if its the first few episodes.
I had my reservations when looking at the cover, but figuring it was probably just made in the late 80’s, I picked it up. My estimation was roughly a decade off. The great character designs attempt to hide this fact, but unfortunately my sympathy vanished when the story began to circle the drain.
The series begins promisingly enough, the first 8 or so episodes are decent, and in fact the last few are too. The fact that i don’t remember the middle of the series is indicative of its poor quality.
I personally am not a fan of anime that cut every possible corner and have repetitive filler episodes, though most people seem to like them. If you are one of them I recommend you buy this series right away, surely there is no shortage of people trying to get rid of their copy.
If you insist on watching the anime, I would suggest that you watch the first disc and the last disc, then seal it away so it can wait in anticipation for its next victim.
While having a likeable cast though, Princess Nine does have some pretty significant issues. The series apparently dug into shoujo anime cliches in setting up its plot, the biggest hurting the series being its melodrama and romantic predicaments for its second half. Princess Nine has a big habit of greatly exaggerating on a number of the dilemmas faced by the characters throughout the title’s run, which tend to get rather overbearing at points. The romantic developments on the love triangle that are focused on in the second half prove to be the biggest setback to the use of melodrama in this series as it has no major relevance to the main plot on the girl’s baseball team and is rather bland due to the exaggerated dramatics that the series pulls with the whole thing, which even lead them to affect the girls at points during their baseball games and take away from that aspect to the plot. Also, the Koshien tournament’s depiction in the anime is rather underwhelming with only one or two episodes devoted per game on ir and much of the romantic melodrama dominating the storyline by that point.
In terms of presentation, Princess Nine sports standard quality visuals with reasonable detail and subdued color tones on character designs and scenery. The animation has its rough moments with character designs usually getting off-model and reused animated frames coming from a number of baseball scenes. The soundtrack consists of dramatic and upbeat tracks that do their part at trying to enhance the melodrama of the series, but are rather forgettable and don’t match up to the epic scale they attempt to portray.
While the girls among the team are a likeable bunch and get some solid developments, Princess Nine’s melodrama and romantic developments get way too much emphasis as the series presses on, eventually getting to a point where they are more prominent than the struggles of the girls being recognized as well as the boys’ teams. While having its solid moments, I don’t think I’m hopping back to this series anytime soon.
11: Ganbarist! Shun
Japanese: ガンバリスト! 駿
MAL Score: 7.20
First-year high school student Fujimaki Shun has a dream of becoming an olympic gold medalist as a gymnast. Having no previous training, Shun trusts his passion, boldly joins the gymnastics club, and sets out to pursue his goal.
Along the way, he meets his share of entertaining and supportive upper classmen, develops a romantic interest in his classmate, and learns about the happiness involved in devoting yourself to a sport.
Even though the art is a bit old, however i very much liked the art they did for the gymnastic stunts in the?! the character development is somewhat slow paced, however it is perfect for this anime?!
i knw i might be biased since i loved this anime so much and there might be other animes that are much better!? However i really liked the story so much!? at the end of the story it made me somewhat teary?! 😛
try it out!? and see for yourself!? you might like it, enjoy it or just wnt to kill time?!
just have an open mind while watching because there might be some parts of the characters you might relate too?!
enjoy it 😛
Pretty straight forward. Shun joins the gymnastics team as a beginner and works his way to the top. Add light romance into the mix and MC with plenty of determination. Heavily overdramaticized.
Ok at times but not nearly enough effort put in even for the 90’s in my opinion. Possibly had a low budget. Some scenes you can tell they put more effort while others the faces and proportions are whacky.
Can be redundant as they continue overplaying the same tunes to death.
While nobody is perfect, I am blown away by the team’s overall mentality to give up and not even wholeheartedly try until literally their last performance. Some of the character’s personality and actions just about drove me crazy.
Summary: Enjoyable and still worth watching for comedy, however it is way too overdramatic and drags on too long. Anime is fluffed up and sparse at times with many flaws but comedy is its redeeming factor.
Japanese: Ｈ２[エイチ ツー]
MAL Score: 7.26
Hiro has two loves: baseball and porn, but due to an elbow injury, gives up baseball, choosing a school with no baseball team. His childhood friend Hikari attends a different school with baseball ace Hideo. The two of them wish that Hiro had not given up baseball. Hiro joins the soccer team and meets Haruka, a very clumsy girl who is also the daughter of his father’s boss. Haruka is the manager of the unofficial baseball club at Hiro’s school. When the soccer team challenges the baseball club to a game, with hopes of humiliating them, the baseball club nearly loses until Hiro, disgusted by the soccer team’s arrogance, switches to the baseball club.
Yes once again it’s about high school baseball, yes it’s about another overpowered pitcher and his struggling team, and yes it’s all about getting to that mother effing Koshien, Japan’s nationwide high school baseball finals. This time around its Hiro and Noda’s battery that take center stage as they help their newly established baseball team out of the rut.
Now here’s the problem, despite the 41 episode count, H2 in my opinion wastes a lot of time, roughly the first 10 episodes or so of not so great character building and generally dilly-dallying around. With Hiro’s broken shoulder and Noda’s broken back, their doctor instructs them to never play the game again or risk permanent damage. So the two are practically drifting for 10 episodes doing much of nothing and the story not progressing at all. For a while Hiro is just getting bullied by the soccer club with the story at a stand still until his very first baseball game.
When the story does finally get into gear, things are great, fantastic even. The victories wholly satisfying, the losses saddening but hopeful. The baseball side of the story is great and equally the romance is sweet and innocent. I love it, devoid of any modern anime cliches, just a bunch of baseball loving teens discovering and growing into their love interests.
And ultimately here’s the major problem. It’s unfinished. All ongoing storylines, whether baseball or romance are just unresolved. Not sure of the circumstances, but I can just assume it caught up to the manga at some point and just had to end abruptly. So sad.
facts, developments, thoughts, emotions are brought to the audience in a very unique way. mainly through the dialogues the viewer could grasp quite a rich world around this baseball boys and their girls. these dialogues are far from being mainstreamed. open, doubting, unclear – freely, the protagonists are communicating. together with the excellent use of some other rather complex literary methods, like leaving the important unsaid, using details to unfold the complete a.o.; and the clever split of the medias to create wrong predictions or also intend contradictions between the heard and the shown, the told and the thought; this show could entertain on a very fine level at all. often was served a nice sense of humour even using smartly still the silliest stereotypes.
the way how its told opens the possibility to enrich it in your own way. unfortunately to open such possibilities is not a guaranty and the loss of decidedness and clearness may discomfort the laisy-minded.
Compared to touch (another work of the manga) h2 feels a bit more mature as the characters have better traits to them. The characters of h2 are witty, strong willed and don’t get pushed around whereas the characters of touch were wishy-washy, casual and undignified. The romance in touch was frustrating to say the least. The romance in h2 is at the starting point in terms of drama, for more the manga has to be read.
The atmosphere in h2 is good and the show is enjoyable with good pacing. The comedy scenes especially of one of the characters is hilarious.
Honestly this should not have ended abruptly whatever the reason may have been.
9: Honoo no Toukyuuji: Dodge Danpei
Japanese: 炎の闘球児 ドッジ弾平
MAL Score: 7.26
Danpei Ichihgeki is the son of Daijurou Ichigeki, a great dodgeball player. As his father, Danpei gives all he has for this game and so it shows in every match.
i watched this anime several times and now i’m willing to give it a deserved review.
First of all,
Story: it’s a sport anime, so anyway shouldn’t expect a mind-blowing story of some sort. Danpei Ichigeki, a red-flame-haired 12 years old boy who inherited from his dead father the love and talent of Dodgeball game. he dreaming to become the biggest star of the Dodgeball sport. with the help and support of his mother and friends.
The Anime aired in the early 90’s, but the art, drawing and animations all looks so 80’s. and i’m completely loving it. how the city, skies, beach, stadiums drawn are all so beautiful and giving the right view. i watched many 70’s, 80’s and 90’s anime, i do admit the love the style of these eras more than the modern ones.
if something made me in lust of this anime is the BGM of it. no seriously, it has one of best anime soundtracks i ever heard (followed by G Gundam and Grendizer ones)
i usually spend my days humming its music, its OP and ED all the time.
i would pay loads to buy its BGM disc, but unfortunately it’s never released -_-
i love the idea of each character has his own theme, whenever a one make an epic entrance or doing the signature shoot, an exciting, intense, music plays on.
The OP song is my number 1 favorite anime song.
The ED song, is silly in lyrics and nice to listen without caring for the meanings.
This anime is loaded and filled with close-to-heart characters, you might end up loving the entire cast. there are soooo many varied characters, each character has his/her unique interesting characteristics and each has some interests to look on.
Arashi, Ricki , and many others are so cool to see everyday.
Did i say that this anime has one of best characters designs ever ?
Yes, i enjoyed it totally. the Dodgeball matches, the fast-paceness, the Voice Acting (Arabic) , the music with each character, the character developments, story progresses, and everything in this one i enjoyed it deeply. i still watch it to this day, everyday picking few episodes to rewatch and no boredom yet recorded.
only the first few episodes, where it was just showing Danpei getting into the Dodgeball sport. they feel like more childish and silly. might turn off some viewers quickly tho.
and the last episode, felt extremely rushed , a bit of disappointment to me.
but it’s because the manga wasn’t catched up to the anime, the manga ended 2-3 years after the anime, making it have the complete the story instead.
Thank you for time reading my humble review 🙂 .
8: Captain Tsubasa J
MAL Score: 7.27
The first 33 episodes are a summary of the previous series. In the first new episodes a new character, Shingo Aoi, (playing in Italy) is introduced. After that the world cup begins, this time with extraordinary, new countries like Sweden, Thailand or Uzbekistan. Unfortunately the Anime ends in the middle of the world cup after the match Japan-Uzbekistan.
Story: 7 (Tipical story, but not bad at all)
Art: 5 (Lousy visuals)
Sound: 5 (Kind of annoying)
Character: 9 (The strong point of the show)
Enjoyment: 8 (Repetitive but has it’s moments)
Overall: 6.8 (Your tipical sports-shonen anime)
Now, from episode 35 on is pure bliss, because the character development of this fantastic newcomer, Shingo Aoi, is well done. If you can get a dub or sub, do it, since the dialogue is actually pretty important. This is unlike the original, which could have had no dialogue whatsoever and still been pretty much understood (except for a hilarious backhand smack that NEEDED dialog for effect, but I digress).
The entire series is only 46 episodes long (45 in some dubs; I’ve seen the Arabic and Spanish ones), which means only a dozen new episodes total. But that dozen is absolutely fantastic- namely the internal feud at training camp and the epic match vs. Thailand.
The music, in an absolute sense, is great, but compared to the original, it’s somewhat disappointing. You just don’t get the same feel. For comparison, if the original is DBZ, than Captain Tsubasa J is DBGT on steroids. Make of that what you will. The animation, however has me torn. It’s different than the first series, but it’s more pronounced (crisper) in both a good way- brightness, lack of blurriness- and a bad way; the original is easier on the eyes. I gave it a 7/10.
All in all, this is great marathon fodder. It does leave you at a sort of cliffhanger, though, which is universally bemoaned, but at least it’s good while it lasts. Here’s hoping the next remake (aired 2001-2002) clears up that distasteful part of this anime for us.
Looking at this series, you’ll find yourself a little in those and you’ll find, part of the manga story that is written in those years.
The first 33 episodes are a remake of the ‘elementary arc’ of ’80 with some original anime content.
In this series you can find also Taro Misaki’s story, exactly like in the series of ’80, in a completely new guise .
In the second part you will find the first part of ‘Captain Tsubasa World Youth’, the part written by Yoichi Takahashi in ’90, with the arrival of new characters, which will be fundamental to the story.
The only problem is that, this series, stops abruptly just when the game starts to get really interesting and leaving many fans with a bitter taste.
You will wonder why!?
Because the Japanese national football team, at that time, failed to qualify for the ’94 World Cup in U.S.A .
In fact, ‘CT’, is the only anime/manga whose destiny seems to be boundlessly linked to the fate of the Japanese national football team.
The graphics are really better than the 80s version, like the music too.
Aniway ‘Tsubasa & Co.’ are always the same!
As a teen I loved it!
7: Future GPX Cyber Formula
MAL Score: 7.33
14-year-old Kazami Hayato is the youngest driver of Cyber Formula, a Grand Prix in which each vehicle is equipped with computers to aid in racing. With the help of Asurada, the most advanced cybernavigation system, and team Sugo, Hayato races to become the winner of the 10th Cyber Formula Grand Prix. Along the way, Hayato will have to learn what it truly means to be a racer and that victory cannot be achieved simply by driving the best machine. In addition, Kazami will have to gain the respect of the veteran racers, thwart those who attempt to steal Asurada, and participate in races outside of Cyber Formula.
In a nut shell, Cyber Formula is about car racing (Grand Prix), but there’s a catch. It takes place in a near future, where the technology is more advanced. All cars are equiped with a computer system that aids the racer in many ways such as giving advice and tips, detecting dangers ahead, and basically fulfilling drivers’ wishes. The computers understand human languages and can somewhat intereact with people.
This TV series was first aired in 1991, so it’s considered as an old school anime I guess.
It is 2015. Kazami Hayato, a 14 year old boy gets involved in an unexpected event that eventually leads him to becoming a driver in Cyber Formula Grand Prix. Racing cars are equipped with advanced computer navigation system that can interact with its driver to aid and fulfil driver’s needs. With “Asurada” a racing machine that was created by his father, Hayato and his team take on the world’s best drivers in order to become the youngest champion in the history of Grand Prix.
In a sense, it has a story of typical sport anime. A main character tries to become the best at what he does, in this case it’s car racing. You will definitely see a lot of car racings in this anime. What makes racing unique in this anime is that each round takes place in different parts of the world with many different and difficult obstacles that racers have to face. It’s not your typical “just go around in circle” car racing. This series also shows us what kind of hardships and challenges that racers face while striving forward to their goals. What makes Cyber Formula shine are all the intense dramas that take place, complimented by some timely humour and heart warming moments.
Well, it’s an old TV series and considering when it came out, it’s not too bad. There are some inconsistencies in that some scenes are flat coloured (one tone) while some scenes have shadings (two tones), but it didn’t bother me too much, maybe because I’m used to a lot of the old school anime series. Character designs are quite nice looking and I felt that the designs suit the personalities very well. The highlights of this anime are the racing machines, designed by one of my favourite artists, Shoji Kawamori. The racing machines look very unique, but believable, which is always important to me. Oh, did I mention they have boosters?
I really loved the soundtracks in the anime. They do have that 90’s nostalgic feel to them, which I enjoy a lot. Intense moments, sad moments, heart warming moments… They are all complimented well by great music (rock music is quite prominent). OP and ED songs are great. I’ve been listening to them since over a decade ago and I still enjoy them to this date. Finally, voice acting isn’t flawless, but it’s very solid as expected like most other anime. I think they found right voices for all the characters.
No story is great without good characters and Cyber Formula has them all. There are some characters who are just like us, who we can relate to. Then there are characters with unique personalities, which strengthens the enjoyment of the show. Another charm to this anime is character developments, mostly the drivers who face obstacles and hardships that they’ve never faced before. I could personally feel for them and sometimes I found myself really rooting for someone who I didn’t think I’d be rooting for before.
I’m not a racing fan and I don’t watch racing. However, Cyber Formula really takes it to the next level not only because it is futuristic, but you can see all the dramas that take place during races (unlike TV broadcasts). I think this anime has great replay value.
I remember when I was a little kid, I’d come home from school and was hardly able to wait for Cyber Formula to play on TV. Not only can kids enjoy this, but I think many grown ups will still find this series quite entertaining. If you can get over the fact that this is an older anime, you will be hooked (especially for sports/mecha fans). There are OVAs, which are sequels to the TV series. They have more mature feel to it, along with skyrocketed art quality!
As I have a special nostalgic attachment to this series, I’d personally give this an overall score of 10. However I know I’m little biased and just objectively speaking, I’d give a solid 8. It’s a fun, unique anime that’s filled with excitement and heartwarming moments. So if you have some time, give this anime a shot!
Never heard of this show until I saw an Artize Music video with footage from one of the OVAs. Found the entire series with English subs and I went to town! Very fun series that feels grounded in how they take physics and engineering then exaggerate it for special moves.
The fact that the legendary Shoji Kawamori was the mecha designer explains how gorgeous the Cyber Formula cars look even after 15 years.
Without spoiling too much, the main characters and racers are a joy to watch. Even though mostly five racers have the most characterization, the show never feels bogged down when it comes to drama. Since it’s a 90s show, lots of old tropes especially in regards to childhood romance or rivalry are here.
The races themselves are surprisingly tense but also believable enough that you don’t feel cheated by the results. The filler episodes that allow Hayato to display his and Asurada’s skills or tools aren’t that engaging but, since this was aimed at kids, I can forgive it.
All in all I was very glad to watch this series. I look forward to the OVA series and I’m glad to have found a simple and fun racing anime.
6: Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
English: Blue Legend Shoot!
Japanese: 蒼き伝説 シュート！
MAL Score: 7.40
Inspired by Yoshiharu Kubo’s phenomenal performance that led Kakegawa High School to a miraculous victory in a soccer tournament, Toshihiko Tanaka decides to enter the same school as his idol and join the soccer club, hoping to become as successful as Kubo.
Now a high school freshman, Tanaka is devastated as his expectations suddenly start falling apart. Kubo—the captain of the club—is absent due to illness. To make matters worse, the freshmen are not allowed to practice alongside the sophomores or become regulars on the team. The final nail in the coffin is the reluctance of Tanaka’s friends, Kenji Shiraishi and Kazuhiro Hiramatsu, to join him in the club. Although Tanaka and his friends were once known as a deadly soccer trio in their junior high school days, Kenji and Kazuhiro have both quit soccer for personal reasons.
When Tanaka starts to lose hope, an encounter with Kazumi Endo—a girl from his childhood—becomes the unexpected key to his freedom from despair. The disappointed Kazumi wants to see the trio reunite, so she takes matters into her own hands in her mischievous way. Thus, Tanaka’s high school soccer career prepares for the kickoff.
Which if you didn’t know is probably the greatest sports anime ever. That aside, if you’re into friendship, teamwork, dramatic love for both a person and sports this is one roller coaster ride you wouldn’t want to sit back and watch other people ride.
Onto the actual review: Story possibly 9 gonna say 8 though some parts are very cliche and predictable, but that’s what makes it normal, but it has it’s moments where it absolutely shines and just tugs on your heartstrings.
Sound: 10 I love every single song from the anime *spoiler* the best being the Kazumi Endo Ending, my god it still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.
Character: 10 Toshi who is the main character not only as a futbol/soccer player does he level up, but as a man and person but he helps everyone around him to grow aswell.
Additionally, the visuals are while standard of 90s anime, charming with the painted backgrounds and manner of how the characters are designed, an aesthetic that gets more endearing/nostalgic as time goes on. To end on this, the soundtrack is banging and one I feel I can listen to many a time over.
MAL Score: 7.48
High school student Yawara Inokuma lives a completely happy and ordinary life. She aspires to an average lifestyle as a delicate young lady with a handsome boyfriend in the near future.
Unfortunately for Yawara, she has an undesirable prodigious talent in Judo, a modern martial art that is neither feminine nor fashionable. Moreover, Yawara is the only granddaughter of the seventh dan Judo master Jigorou Inokuma, who expects her to become a Japanese Judoka superstar of the ’90s.
Yawara cautiously hides her strength from everyone to maintain a normal reputation but is often pushed to situations when she must exercise her Judo skills. Observing Yawara’s immense potential from the shadows, Kousaku Matsuda, a sports reporter from a substandard paper, is willing to do everything he can to bring her into the limelight.
This is the whole plot of this anime. It is said in the description on many websites that it is a sports anime but in my opinion it is a shoujo’ish slice of life anime with the touch of sports in it. The plot moves along the same track over and over in an eternal loop, “She dislikes Judo, she is going to stop, something happens, she does it, and she wins.” Then the circle starts again. The sport Judo is not the focal point, it is the reason. At the end of 124 episodes you are left with the impression that she doesn’t hate the sports that much anymore but that is it. That is all the real satisfaction you get out of the whole plot of a 124 episodes long anime.
The art reminded me a little of Itazura na Kiss. I am not a giant fan of that style but I don’t hate it either. At least they do have “real” bodies and no matchstick limbs with watermelon sized chest area and giant heads with triangular noses. All the characters are distinguishable and no two characters look the same.
All I can say is, it didn’t bother me. There was nothing outstanding for me, no piece of music I started tapping my foot to or started mumbling the words unconsciously.
If I tell you they annoyed the hell out of me to the point where I started assembling assassination plans for imaginary drawn people, it is an understatement.
Inokuma Yawara: Is the main protagonist. She is a whiny, indecisive, weak and a not very smart girl who wants to have a boyfriend and thinks she cant have one unless she doesn’t do Judo. She gets older but does not really evolve in my opinion during the whole 124 episodes.
The Grandfather Yawara: A manipulative old Judo “God” whose only objective is to gather certain medals through his grandchild. Said grandchild could be Male, femaie, plankton or alien. He is not really prejudiced. As long as that holy Judo family genes and -name bearing being practices Judo. To meet his objectives he is not above or below anything that could help this purpose. Admittedly he does provide a comedic relief now and then.
The mother and the father: Each a piece of work. Father up and left. We really do not know exactly why, even though there are two theories, both Judo related. Apparently he is a wimp and a wuss and a sore loser. He left, either because a five year old bested him once or he lost a practice match to one of his friends/rivals. ONCE. After that, he left his wife and daughter and vanished. He is like yeti, they hear stories about him but he is always elusive. And the mother is the yeti hunter. Whenever there is a story of the yeti-father the mother runs to check it, and doesn’t come back until she knows more. This could be a day, a month a year. Who knows. We don’t.
Love interests.: There are two. One is a playboy, the other is a fan-boy. The playboy gets engaged to the rival. And lo and behold, the Miss goodie 2shoes-protogonist doesn’t really see anything wrong still going out with an engaged man and hanging on to him. The fan-boy gets at some point a bo..bie-wonder attachment, a co-worker who decided they are in love. The guy doesn’t really like her. He says he likes Yawara, but doesn’t really tell the annoying co-worker off, they go on dates, but hey, the guy likes the main character. Same goes for the playboy by the way. But at the end of the day they are both very lukewarm in their pursuit of the girl.
Friends are more or less interchangeable. the main rival is annoying and repetitive at best. And there is no real tension in the air, because she is too mediocre and too lukewarm to be a real villian and yet she is too villainous to become a friend. Oddly enough the only characters that evolve in my opinion are the ones from the judo clubs. Both High school and the College one. But the main characters and the first string supporting characters are always the same. Yawara is whiny, Grandpa is manipulative, mother is a doormat, father is, well, I don’t have a polite word to describe him. So think your own words. The rival and the lover-boys also are always the same. Really, I could go on this raging negative review for 50 pages and I would still be annoyed. And this is coming form somebody who actually got over middle-aged looking middle school boys with supernatural tennis shots and glowing, flying bodies for over 178 episodes with giant plot holes.
In episode 1 Yawara is in high school. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she has a few friends. She is real good at Judo and she wants to quit Judo. 124 episodes later: Yawara is in college, she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she has a few friends. She is real good at Judo and she is kinda sorta maybe ok doing Judo. 124 episodes. And that is all that there is.
Altogether, this is NOT a sports anime. This is a shoujo, slice of life, useless personal angst and drama anime, where sports play a role. I am guessing at the time they were trying to create a hype for the upcoming Olympics in Barcelona but apart from a countdown and an honorable mention at the final arc (About 30 days before the Olympics they START training to join the team. Yes you read it right. I said 30 days and start)
That all said, before I got this anime I checked all around and there are more glowing reviews of this anime than not. I am apparently odd ball out here. Still, if you are searching for a sports anime, watch the first couple of episodes before obtaining the entire series. You know, just to be on the safe side.
Wait! Come back! Before you dismiss “Yawara!” on the basis of its silly title and sports premise, remember this is Naoki Urasawa we’re talking about! While he did write “Yawara!” early on in his career, you don’t need to look hard under the hood to see the interesting details that distinguishes “Yawara!” from a typical lengthy sports anime.
In many ways, “Yawara!” is a subversive take on the sports genre. A typical sports anime would start off by introducing some total n00b that gets attracted to some sport, and it would turn out that The N00b(TM) is immensely talented in the said sport. Early on, The N00b(TM) would meet a rival who is far ahead in terms of skill level, The N00b(TM) would be inspired to work very hard to catch up with The Rival(TM) and they would form a rivalry that runs throughout the show. Etc.
Well, “Yawara!” mostly dumps this formula on its head.
Yawara, the titular character, just wants to be a normal girl. Unfortunately for her, she comes from a family of elite judo athletes. While both her parents are alive (which theoretically puts her in a better position than most anime protagonists), they’re both AWOL so she’s being raised by her grandfather (which effectively puts her in the same position as most anime protagonists). Her grandfather, being a famous judo champ, has trained Yawara hard from a young age in the hope that she’ll also be a champion some day and even win an Olympic gold medal. But Yawara would much rather go shopping and date boys than do judo, and the story essentially revolves around her grandfather and a bunch of other people pushing Yawara towards greatness in spite of her reluctance.
The first thing to note is that this is not a zero-to-hero story: despite not having participated in any tournaments, Yawara’s power level at the start of the show is well beyond even those of a typical rival character in a sports show. Rather amusingly, the show then proceeds to find a n00b rival who has to catch up to Yawara! You can even say that “Yawara!” is a sports show in name only: it takes about five episodes before we even see the protagonist participate in a proper fight. And while the matches are well animated and executed in their action sequences, they’re often over quickly, rarely dragging its feet across multiple episodes as sports anime are wont to do. To top it off, the protagonist doesn’t even like judo, and spends most of the series trying to get away from it.
So what do you call a sports anime that’s not very sporty? In the case of “Yawara!”, I’d probably call it a sitcom. Like all good sitcoms, “Yawara!” provides good entertainment value and comfortable viewing; its comedy brims with warmth and its characters quirk and charm. I find Yawara’s grandfather Jigoro to be especially amusing: a lot of the show’s running jokes involve him, such as his habit of inflating his judo rank and his tireless and shameless promotion of his book. What tickled me the most is how unexpectedly far the anime managed to take his habit of ending all his sentences in “ja”. Amusements aside, many characters of “Yawara!” are also infused with depth, with “Beanpole” in particular going through an incredible amount of development in the course of the show.
Unfortunately, the generally strong and endearing cast of characters only ends up highlighting Yawara herself as rather unlikable. Her constant rejection of judo is taken so far that the show can be teeth-clenchingly frustrating to watch. That said, it does end up providing a lot of food for thought: for the longest time, I couldn’t make up my mind whether the anime’s views about women are progressive or outdated. After all, not only does Yawara harbour no ambitions of becoming a champion, her own lofty dreams consists of going shopping, finding a boyfriend etc, and one of the reasons she rejects judo is because she thinks it makes her less feminine. Also, considering Japan isn’t exactly a shining beacon of progress when it comes to attitudes on women’s role in society, and it’s easy see “Yawara!” in a cynical light. On the other hand, the female characters of “Yawara!” tend to be more successful than their male counter parts, and it’s the men who are playing the supporting parts. For an anime to make this role reversal in the 80s – or arguably even now – it has to be making a pretty powerful feminist statement, right? Is Yawara’s lack of ambition perhaps meant as a critical reflection on a society that nurtures women to do nothing beyond dress prettily and start a family? Whatever the anime’s intentions, this is the aspect of “Yawara!” that fascinated me the most, and I find myself continuing to ponder back on it long after I finished the show.
“Yawara!” also has other aspects that sets it beyond a light-hearted sitcom. Not dragging out judo matches means that the show actually ends up covering a lot of ground in its characters’ lives over the course of its 100+ episode run. Yawara starts the the show in school, then goes to college, then ultimately graduates into the job market. Along the way, the anime takes its characters down surprisingly mature routes such as job hunting and parenthood. Judo may be the topic, but “Yawara” is at least as much about its characters’ hopes and fears, dreams and ambitions, and general lives. However, with so much development going on in so many areas, I was all the more frustrated with the fact that the only notable aspect of “Yawara!” that settles into the status quo is the main romance.
Don’t get me wrong: Yawara’s romance thread isn’t exactly bad, and there are even pockets of tenderness worthy of a great romance anime. The problem though, is that in the big picture, the main romance is locked in a boringly familiar dance of two step forward, one step back, then one step forward, two steps back, never quite going anywhere significant. This displays in stark contrast against other side characters’ love stories, which, like the general trend in “Yawara!”, go further and faster than what you would expect.
It’s a shame, really: the main strength of “Yawara!” is built on its quiet, thoughtful, delightful unconventionality. But the few aspects that remain conventional is what holds “Yawara!” back, and ultimately those are what end up preventing the show transcending from merely being very good to being great.
Personal rating: +1.5 (very good)
The Story talk about “Inokuma, Yawara” a 3rd-year high school girl, She has been practicing Judo since childhood with her grandfather. However, she never played a real judo match ever, so no one knows about her. Until one day a reporter called “Kousaku Matsuda” for the Daily Sports Newspaper discover her talent by accident, and he wants her to play judo and won a gold medal in the Olympics. In the other hand, Yawara does not like to judo, she wants to be a normal girl, having a normal friend’s normal job and most importantly normal love. So the story is about Yawara’s life between judo and having a normal girl life.
The anime aired at 1989, at that time this is the best you can get, however, we are in the present now so it pretty old, the animation is not amazing, however in few episodes you will get used to it, the girls’ characters are not that cute the guys are not so handsome. However, I have to give some credit to the amazing judo fight spatially for Yawara’s fights are so exciting and fun to watch.
The sounds are good, it is an ok sound for both voice acting and the music. The voice acting was done perfectly for the main characters and somewhat fine for the supporting characters. The music is all classics, and it fit the anime moment so much, the opening and the ending were ok, nothing is so amazing but it works.
Characters are the main strong point for this anime, all three main Characters “Inokuma, Yawara”, “Inokuma, Jigorou” and “Matsuda, Kousaku” are well developed throughout the series, Yawara changed a lot in the anime from an average teenage girl to a wonderful woman the you will feel so attached to her. And the way the main love interest in the anime developed was fantastic. When it comes to The supporting characters there are the really good ones that have a great development, and some bad annoying and useless ones.
The main enjoyment of this anime is not the judo but getting to know the characters and seeing their life throughout the series, yes it is a Slice of Life anime that focus on Yawara’s life and how every step she makes lead to a happy or sad outcome. The attachment to Yawara’s life, her school life her friend’s life, her love life is what makes this anime so fun to watch. So if you looking for a good slice of life anime with some romance Yawara is for you.
4: Ike! Ina-chuu Takkyuubu
English: The Ping-Pong Club
Japanese: 行け! 稲中卓球部
MAL Score: 7.54
When the Inaho Junior High Ping-Pong Club grows apathetic about an upcoming tournament, their new manager, Kyoko Iwashita, boosts their morale with something they cannot refuse—a “sex pass,” a voucher that grants the best player on the team unadulterated access to her body for a whole month. This is just one of many ways that this peculiar ping-pong club exceeds the realm of normalcy.
Among the Ping-Pong Club’s six members, Maeno proves to be the most troublesome, discovering bizarre ways to distract the team each day. With the others contributing to these mischievous acts, Takeda—the captain of the club—tries his hardest to put up with the team’s antics. But when popular vice-captain Yuusuke Kinoshita is being swept away by girls, he instead finds himself receiving support from the stern but resilient manager, Kyoko.
With the ever-present risk of their team being dissolved, Takeda and his friends find themselves having to overcome numerous obstacles. While Maeno often appears to put the club in jeopardy, it is usually he who devises schemes that are just so crazy that they have a chance of working. Can Maeno and his ludicrous stunts help his team persevere, or will they continue to just be a nuisance to the Ping-Pong Club?
The animation is not well mannered and without any cute intentions, even crappy… strange, after i called it that i still gave it a high grade, yes i did because that crappy animation gives it that funny feeling.. it just perfectly blends with the mood and the characters… I mean did you see their faces? the guys look like a bunch of losers and perverts, and guess what, they really are like that.
The voice acting is very good, and the Bg music is well blended with the comedy part… I’ve also noticed the Op themes which are very very funny, just like Maeno’s "Propeller" song
Well the bulk of the anime lies in the story and characters… well it’s not a plot driven anime, not the kind that focuses all it’s power on a goal reached at the end, nope it’s the kind of story that i like to call "lifestyle story" cos it shows the day to day routine and problems the characters get into…
..and belive me when you have two perverts with loud mouths and tons of energy who do nothing else but exagerated practical jokes to other people like dressing-up-games, bullying, blackmail, stealing money, farting and all sorts of stupid plans (Maeno and Izawa.. they are one of the most original and best couples out there) … then you have the sickest most twisted and perverted little quiet type of guy (Tanaka)… a big and really good-inside person that has the worts BO (Tanabe)… a Casanova kinda guy (Kinoshita), two evil teachers with some psycho problems, a secret Loosers Club organization with the sole purpose of making the hole school look bad so all the kids can be as stupid as the members of the secret club… and a love story between a counscios guy and a sadistic girl which has some anger management problem (Takeda and Kyoko)… well what more could you want? some sado-masochism, cross-dressing, nudity and lots more.
Value and Enjoyment:
Well don’t worry this isn’t a hentai and it could never bee since the show is about everything it can be exept romance… but still i wouldn’t recomand it to kids.. this is more of a "toilet comedy" like American Pie… but for a teenager with a sense of humor this is a real goldmine… and can be rewatched over and over again just for the humor.
It’s just strange how few people have seen this one, well since the animation isn’t good and the girls aren’t really cute i guess that the bulk of anime viewers didn’t try it, since they were looking for cute panty shots and lots of cute girls falling in love with one spineless normal guy.. people can be soo shallow… lol but then again how can you call a guy that enjoys this???
Good and Bad points:
+funniest show ever (in a carefree but twisted perverse way)
+some of the most original characters ever (like no other you have ever seen)
-bad animation (although i found it apropiate)
-has tons of offensive and grows out material for the sensitive ones (not that i cared)
Well i laughed soo hard at this one that i couldn’t keep my ass on the chair and i developed some agonising abdominal pain.. i recommend this to all the insensitive guys out there who wanna just laugh…
Every single one of these characters are brought to life and, whether their personalities are more or less demented, they express it perfectly as they go on with their daily affairs neglecting each and every moral law that is known to man.
Routine is simply a concept that maybe it hasn’t reached that small room where the PPC spend their days doing everything else than practicing Ping-Pong.
Reaching the more technical part, every series needs a couple of technical characteristics that support the action. PPC, albeit not being generously gracious on what it does, both the sound and the art do their job. The art is raw and contributes to the dastardly look of the show, keeping the ambiance set. The models are fairly well animated tending to the date of the show but don’t expect any jaw dropping material. Also don’t expect any moderation on part of the animators. There is alot of explicit material and nudity (it literally flashes through your eye, as the animators tend to focus alot of attention on letting you know that that those contents are there). The sound is, in itself, quite catchy, especially the first opening scene, and it responds well to the ravaging acts of rampaging perversion and, here and there, soft, tender, moments. All in all contributes to an even greater experience.
So how does this show pull it off? It does it quite smoothly actually and with a rythm that from the start lets you know what to expect. To the unsuspected innocence right before you watch the beginning right down to the series of laughs goes a small step. Down to the end, its a fantastic experience and you will miss this bunch of perverted, maniac, shutdown-in-their-own-world, ping pong players (that’s the best i can do and it does not fit them at all).
So now if you excuse me I have to move along cruising on my panda car. Pee pee po pee pee po po.
A path could not exist without any obstacles; don’t let the first few series to fend you off.
You will encounter the worst imaginable and very perverted, eight-grade type of humour combined with crappy animation and little no storyline.
You just wait.
Ping-Pong is the only title where you will laugh about the farting jokes for 26 series straight, regardless of your education, background or social status.
Ping-Pong is the only title with absolutely realistic school girl and absolutely anime-cliche school girl sitting together in one room.
Ping-Pong is the only title where a totally perverted (and sometimes just plainly wrong) joke could be followed by one the best and natural romantic scenes you will ever encounter.
Ping-Pong is the only title with LITERAL character development…In many ways.
Ping-Pong is the only title where by the end of each serie you think you’ve seen it all just to be proved wrong the very next serie.
Ping-Pong is one of the few titles where there are no bad series; all 26 are amazing.
Ping-Pong is like Paris. You either like it or you don’t. Anyway, you just need to watch it at least once.
3: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
English: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
MAL Score: 7.56
In the year Future Century 0060, the many countries that once comprised Earth’s surface exist as separate colonies floating in space. Their home planet now uninhabitable, the ruler of all of the colonies is decided by their unanimous participation in the intergalactic Gundam Fight Tournament—a series of battles between the champions of each colony to determine who is most fit to reign over them all.
Neo-Japan’s champion is Domon Kasshu, a man who accepts the role with some ulterior motives. Domon searches the galaxy for his brother, a criminal who allegedly murdered their mother and made off with the Devil Gundam, a highly advanced weapon with the power to unleash mass destruction across the galaxy. In his quest to bring his sibling to justice, Domon travels from colony to colony, meeting many of the fighters who will become his allies and enemies in the forthcoming Gundam Fight Tournament.
Armed with the strength of the Shining Gundam, Domon battles to uncover the truth behind his tortured childhood, suffering great betrayal and crushing blows on his quest toward personal and national triumph.
The presentation of the culturally diverse cast is of course where the Ring ni Kakero influences come into play. Certain portions of the characters are stereotyped or portrayed in what Americans would find not politically correct. I mean, the Russian is a prisoner? The Japanese portrayed as righteous? The American portrayed as strange and arrogant? And the list goes on. If you’re not offended by that kind of stuff, then you’ll probably laugh because it gets to you in that kind of way. Because the Japanese are oblivious to the concept of political correctness, they can of course get away with doing something like this in their own country. In addition all religious referenes such as Domon’s future Gundam, known as the God Gundam, or G Gundam for short is changed to Burning Gundam; and the Devil Gundam would be renamed to the Dark Gundam.
I really enjoy the characters because of their personalities and they each bring in different elements to the show. Domon is the quiet and anti-social super powered guy; while someone like Chibodee is the obnoxious loud mouth comic relief character. Even some of the minor characters like Alleby have their own contribution to the advancement of the story as well and has some touching moments that I don’t want to get into because it would be a spoiler.
Along with a whole new set of story, setting and characters, you also get new Gundams. For traditional purposes obviously, a huge majority of the Gundams will stick to the grill face, have either the green and yellow eyes, and still maintain the iconic red, white, blue, and yellow color scheme. But they add new details to certain Gundams to make them look more culturally authentic to each country. Like Lumberjack Gundam of Neo-Canda is literally meant to resemble a Candian lumber jack. The Gundam Spiegel piloted by Schwartz has a skinny frame to give it the agility and speed that gives blitzkrieg-esque assaults.
The human characters on the other hand were really meant to have the old school style of design from the 1970s mech anime. The character’s slim builts, the pointness of the chins and faces, the shapes of the eyes, the hairstyles and side burns, and some of the clothing designs gives some indication of that. Plus, it’s not Gundam vs army anymore. Prior to Gundam, mech anime was always the main mech against another bad guy’s mech of the week and G Gundam’s story was meant to present that kind of narration so they bring in all of these Gundams for one one one battles which I will now get into.
The battles are also distinctive because it’s not about lazers, guns, and beam saber fights. It’s hand to hand combat and as Daigouji Gai from Nadesico would say, that a mech is most idealistic for such kinds of battles and is the best means of proving who is the man. Granted certain Gundams are bulky, but the heavy blow action makes up for it. While the smaller Gundams like Spiegel and Nobel Gundam have speed and agility and they move like Spider-Man. So you’re getting martial arts mixed with mech. Despite the lack of convenient war fare weapons, the Gundams of course have special powered moves. Like Domon’s finishing move is the shining finger where he turns gold Super Saiya-jin style and then emits a large beam of light to his opponent.
Of course there are also times we get to see the pilots fight outside of their mechs. Afterall, you need to be a legitimate accomplished fighter to be legible to compete in the tournament. The fights are DBZ-ish with the speed but not of course where they power up and fight for a long time and do fire balls. The fights are still intense and fun. So, the art and animation of G Gundam for it’s overall unique use of character and mech design and intriguing battle.
Tomokazu Seki also happens to play the main character Domon Kasshu who has played other notable roles like Keisuke from Initial D, Miyata from Hajime no Ippo, and Kenichi from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. He uses a rough and loud voice, but not high pitched. He can make the character sound cold and calm when he’s not in battle, and yet sound crazy when he’s in a fight. Speaking of the dialog in fights, I just love how dynamic the acting and dialog is in the middle of battle. Like before a fight starts, to officially commence the fight, the fighters have to say “Gandamu faito!!! Rediiii Goooo!!” It’s something you can say is as synonomous as John McCarthy’s “Lets get it on” when he signals to start a fight in the UFC. It’s just that awesome.
And it’s real funny in the Japanese version, Chibodee, played by Hochu Ohtsuka, the voice of Jiraiya in Naruto and Yazan in Zeta Gundam brings a funny tone to his voice and really brings the comedy out of him with his Engrish and how he calls Domon “Japanese.” And Saisaici is played by Yamaguchi Kappei, the voices of Ranma and Inuyasha, and the voice of L from Deathnote. So the Japanese version has a top notch voice cast. As for the dub, I have not seen it in years, but I just feel with the Japanese version, you’re getting the accurate dynamic delivery you need to most enjoy it because I don’t think this anime isn’t fun without the silly Engrish.
The music itself is pretty good. The opening themes Flying in the Sky and I Trust You Forever are really good songs that have a type of passion and feeling to it. Though it doesn’t have a warriors feel like Ring ni Kakero’s or Ashita no Joe’s, the songs still reflect on its semi-unintended campy nature.
G Gundam was mixing old school Shounen Jump, old school mech, and the moderninzing of Gundam all into one. It brings its own unique story that excellently mixes a diverse cast of characters in not just culture, but in personalities; top notch unintended comedy if you’re not Japanese; and high octane action
But simply being different isn’t enough to be good and that doesn’t change the fact that the end result is nothing short of a nonsensical battle shounen that thinks an excessive amount of plot twists and shouting equates to actual quality.
The story can be split up into 2 parts, the first being a revenge tale and other a long winded battle tournament. Set in the future where war is abolished and a new system is put in place, each nation takes part in a battle royal to determine who will obtain supremacy of the universe and the other colonies. These fights are carried out by a Gundam pilot of their choosing and is the driving force behind most of the show’s conflict. It’s through this battle royal that we meet our core group of characters, with our lead obviously being Japan’s representative Domon Kasshu. Using the battle royal as cover Domon’s true objective is to find and defeat his brother Kyoji who has come to poses Dark Gundam, which objective is (you guessed it) to destroy the world.
Now the core story itself isn’t bad on paper but where the problem starts is how it’s presented. Being that it takes a shounen approach, it should come to no surprise that it also obtained the issues commonly found in the shounen demographic. Containing everything from poorly conceived asspulls and powerups to questionable plot twists, G Gundam’s storytelling is just all over the place. Another glaring issue is it’s regurgitation of needless exposition and plot conveniences. And despite the constant bombardment of nonsense like a mermaid, a mummy and windmill Gundam or gundams going super saiyan, it still ask of the viewer to take it seriously. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was going for a self-aware satire but sadly it never took that route. What we get instead is a show trying too hard to angst and too hard to be cool while coming across as a laughable concoction that you’d think up as a child while playing pretend with your toys.
Now if there was ever an area where G Gundam deserves recognition it would be with it’s production values. The Gundam franchise has always been proclaimed to being ahead of its time, with titles like Zeta Gundam that was leagues ahead of other anime titles of it’s era in terms of cinematography and choreography. But with titles like Double Zeta and Victory Gundam it had seemed that the franchise was finally losing it’s luster. But G Gundam brought on something like a Renaissance for Gundam, bringing with it the familiar levels of animation quality found in OVAs like War in the Pocket and Stardust Memory.
Being that the story focused on mecha fights a great deal of effort was placed into making all the battles to feel grandiose when called for it. And with a introduction to a new way of piloting the mechas by body synchronization, the aesthetics and easy to read body mechanics were ahead of it’s time. The attention to detail really made it an entertaining watch that never felt hindered by the time period it was made. It even looks good for today’s standards. But of course corners were cut with reused scenes and still shots but given the effort placed into everything else it’s easily forgivable.
NOW the same can’t be said for the mecha designs. To put it bluntly half of them are beyond idiotic. Everything from a evil clown to a windmill, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the poorly thought up designs. It’s like the artists all got drunk and doodled up any nonense that popped into their heads. But given the cheesiness of the story they may just help heighten your B-movie experience.
“so bad it’s good” is the best phrase used to describe the voice acting of G Gundam. This is schmaltzy over acting taken to a new extreme. Every one liner is delivered with so much ham that you can’t help but chuckle as they’re delivered. That said I highly suggest watching this dub to optimize the effect. The soundtrack itself works well with the show’s content. Delivering the right amount of “oomph” when needed and adding to the overall 90s vibe.
The characters all felt like they’ve been ripped right out of the pages of cliches. With a spiky hair protagonist that think yelling and “talking with your fists” is the only way to solve problems, it borderlines obnoxiousness at times. The rest of the cast follow the same 1 sided personality with one predominant straight that forces them to be marginalize as typical archetypes. May that be the pretty boy “man of honor” or the strong dumb brute, all of them exhibit the behaviors of easy to write and even easier to read characters.
But being typical characters aren’t necessarily bad per say but the way the writers go about using them is where it really becomes a problem. Everyone is flimsily handled to the point where their personality can flip flop from friend to foe with no proper build up. It’s like they were manipulated in order to serve whatever objective the plot was going for at the time. This result in too many role reversals to be taken seriously and also a sad attempt to try to add depth and complexity to a cookie cutter cast that were only surface deep.
Now without a doubt G Gundam is entertaining. Due to many factors but mostly contributed to the time period it was made, G Gundam has aged into a campy b-movie romp that offers cheesy one liners, laughable plot twists and hammy moments throughout. This b-movie experience is even heightened further if watched dubbed, with a vast array of schmaltzy voice acting performances that deduces genuine bouts of laughter. It’s truly among the pinnacle of cheesy 90s entertainment and those simply seeking dumb fun should look no further.
G Gundam is the ultimate 90s cheese experience. Idiotic plot twists, nonsensical mecha designs and over the top voice acting. It’s the pinnacle of anime cheese but a face palming journey that can’t be forgiven. For everything it had going for it, it always took 2 steps back. It was an experimental attempt to do something different with the franchise that led to half-baked results. For fans of Gundam this might be a fun time waster but this isn’t a something recommended to any newcomer trying to see what the franchise is all about.
The story takes place in an alternet setting, not Universal Century. This new world is called Future Century. In Future Century, nations from around the world leave their homes and begin to live in space, in the newly formed space colonies called the Neo Nations. Even though many have left Earth, it’s still a vitial resorce, and to prevent any further wars the Nations declare that every four years there is to be a Gundam Fight. The Gundam Fight determines which Neo Nation will take Earth into their hands. After each Nation selects one of their best fighters and locks them down on Earth, the battle begins.
In this story, it is now the 13th Gundam Fight. A Martial Artist from Neo Japan, Domon Kasshu, is sent to Earth. With his newly earned title of King Of Hearts, he brings fear upon his opponents, but Domon’s true intensions is to search for his brother, which mysteriously disappeared after an incedent in the space colony of Neo Japan. Now the only remaining member of his family is his father which has been frozen as pusnishment for actiing against the Neo Japan Government. And to release his father, Domon must fight and win the Gundam Fight.
Eventually Domon realizes that he’s not the only one that is willing to go the distance as he meets many formidable foes. Chibodee of Neo America, George of Neo France, Sai of Neo China, and Argo of Neo Russia all have their reasons of fighting within the tournament. They soon become friends after facing a menacing foe known as the Devil (Dark) Gundam.
The story is pretty good. It’s not what I really expected from Gundam, and it was a completely new twist to things. I can rewatch it a few times and still enjoy it. Although, the birth of this series pretty much brought an unnecessary evil to the Gundam Franchise. With all the spoofs of Gundam Wing, Gundam War X, Gundam Seed, and a few other Super Gundam legacies, I can’t help but get mad that because of this one show it had made Gundam into a Super Hero Five show. In the long run, its an okay show, not one of my favorites of the Gundam series, but Gundam Seed wasn’t any better. So if you really want to see what started the Gundam Wing and the Five Gundam concept, this is what you are looking for.
2: Initial D Second Stage
English: Initial D Second Stage
Japanese: 頭文字〈イニシャル〉D SECOND STAGE
MAL Score: 8.13
Accumulating an impressive series of victories with his AE86, Takumi Fujiwara has imposed himself as street racing’s newest rising star. However, his newly found confidence of winning at his home turf of Mount Akina has been put in jeopardy by a new Emperor team exclusively using a car model favored by most professional racing pilots: the Mitsubishi four-wheel drive Lancer Evolutions—also known as Lan Evos. The Emperor team leader, Kyouichi Sudou, looks down on Takumi and regards him as an inferior pilot for driving an antique car that lacks the makings of a true modern race car. Kyouichi’s elitist philosophy is also the reason why his team is only made of Lan Evo drivers.
Will Takumi be able to keep his perfect track record intact against the highly skilled and mechanically superior Emperor team, or does his hot streak end here?
Itsuki from stage 1 annoyed me, he was brash, loud, irritating and a failure as a human being, it was frustrating that he didn’t develop at all – but the during the second stage he begins to show signs of changing, and it isn’t just Itsuki. Every single member of the cast shows signs of changing – this sort of character development was completely absent from the first stage.
Having said this the 2nd stage hasn’t lost its focus at all, along with this character development we get to see lots of exciting races and they’re animated even better than they were before.
I take my hat off to whoever picked the ending theme – because it suits the series so SO well.
To conclude, if you don’t like cars you’re probably not going to like Initial D (especially the first season), the show does have a lot more to offer though.
PS – I have always driven like a lunatic – Like Takumi I began driving Illegally at 14 and own what many would describe as a piece of shit on wheels, but to me it’s my piece of shit – something I’ve driven for 7 years now I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world!
I like cars, but I’m against spending loads of money on them, I think what’s important is that you understand how your vehicle works, that you put in the time and effort to “make it your own”.
One criticism I do have – is that so far there hasn’t been a single fatal injury in the series, my cousin died while street racing, the sort of happy endings that Initial D portrays don’t always take place, in the real world people end up smashing through barriers and falling off mountains
Once again, the technical jargon is still present. If you did not see my review of season 1, I will once again state it may be difficult to understand, but once everything is applied, you’ll understand it better. I feel it needs to be present so it can educate the viewer. Plus, I still stand by regardless of being able to fully understand, I feel that the tech speak is what help makes it more distinctive and aims to be realistic.
Sadly, as a Keisuke fan, though he is used, he’s not useful in the way that I want him to be, but with Ryosuke being my number one favorite character, well, check out the series to find out what I mean because it’d only be a spoiler with what his character does.
Not only do the characters and the relationships develop, the art and animation tremendously improve from season 1 as well. The coloring is more shiny and glossy, there is more detail to the hair, the proportions are more even, and the cg is much better rendered. There aren’t much races in this season, but what’s good is that the races aren’t exclusive to Akina anymore and only one race happens there so it prevents itself from getting repetitive. You finally get to see the Red Suns’ home turf of Akagi, and we also get a brand new course of Shomaru as well. However, the outcome of the final race in this anime does differ significantly from the manga version which may either disappoint you, or something you can embrace since it is something different and it’d be boring just to watch something when you already know the outcome. Anyway, new factors such as a combination of psychological and environmental come into play still, but in a whole new approach in comparison to season 1 in ways you wouldn’t expect.
Once again, the cast from season 1 that return are still present. I really love how Itsuki is portrayed as more sensitive and emotional and Iwata does a great job of that. I also love Tanaka Masahiko, who I recall as the voices of the Kazekage from Naruto and Mashiba Ryo from Hajime no Ippo as Kyoichi. He’s a total asshole you want to see get his ass handed to him. And the best addition to this season is Wataru’s seiyuu, Matsumoto Yasunori, the voice of Gourry from Slayers, Jacky Bryant from Virtua Fighter, and many others. He does a great job of playing someone who is distant and has a short temper and it makes him oblivious, so I like that portrayal. Nothing really to complain with voice acting.
And the music only gets better, the perfect example, the ending theme Kimi Ga Iru by Galla. It’s so beautiful, well toned and pitched, and excellently paced. It really captures you and reflects the character relationship nature of this show on my impression. And you can’t have Initial D without the good ol’ Eurobeat. We got 100 by Dave Rodgers and we also got Burning Desire, also from the Para Para Paradise games. So pretty much everything I could say about music and voice acting from season 1 can be said here.
Well, to watch this season, I strongly recommend season 1 first. Yes, I still also say that Initial D isn’t an anime for everyone, but this season has more traits that most anime fans would want in an anime, but to understand the characters and how they developed to that point and how they further develop, you have to watch season 1 first and to get a better understanding of the cars as well. Granted it does have some significant changes if you are at all familiar with the manga, but the changes are done for all the right reasons and is still an enjoyable anime.
1: Initial D First Stage
English: Initial D First Stage
MAL Score: 8.29
Unlike his friends, Takumi Fujiwara is not particularly interested in cars, with little to no knowledge about the world of car enthusiasts and street racers. The son of a tofu shop owner, he is tasked to deliver tofu every morning without fail, driving along the mountain of Akina. Thus, conversations regarding cars or driving in general would only remind Takumi of the tiring daily routine forced upon him.
One night, the Akagi Red Suns, an infamous team of street racers, visit the town of Akina to challenge the local mountain pass. Led by their two aces, Ryousuke and Keisuke Takahashi, the Red Suns plan to conquer every racing course in Kanto, establishing themselves as the fastest crew in the region. However, much to their disbelief, one of their aces is overtaken by an old Toyota AE86 during a drive back home from Akina. After the incident, the Takahashi brothers are cautious of a mysterious driver geared with remarkable technique and experience in the local roads—the AE86 of Mount Akina.
Story: On the surface, it’s about a pretty bland high school guy who’s got a bunch of car-crazy friends… and turns out to be the 2nd fastest driver in Akina. (Who’s first? Ooooh, don’t you wanna know?) Below the surface…? Okay, pretty much the same thing. 😉 Most of the "story" is just a bunch of kids in cars racing through dark mountain passes …or talking about racing through dark mountain passes. I know it doesn’t sound interesting if you’re not into car races, but it was. There’s something about the speed and the pressure and the tension that sucks you into the show. And of course, there’s also your normal sports anime type general plot of competition and desire, rising to the challenge, overcoming obstacles, etc.
Art: I have to say, this is the biggest downside of the show. Especially in the first season. Thankfully, by the fourth season, there’s a remarkable improvement overall in animation quality. One of the most jarring things is the awkward usage of computer graphics for the racing scenes in the first season. There’s kind of an old-school feel to the way the people look and the brightness of the show… and then all of sudden out of no where, there’s a cgi car that looks like it’s from a different decade than the guy driving it. I don’t think I ever got used to that.
Sound: Personally, I always prefer subs to dubs. Here, I would really suggest the subs… the voices for English dub didn’t feel anywhere near as "right" as the Japanese actors. Whenever I heard the dub, I felt like the voices made me like the characters less. The downside of watching the sub, however, is the Japanese soundtrack. Maybe it’s my close-minded American taste, but I would have preferred hearing the hip-hop on the dub to whatever that was used originally.
Character: The main character, Takumi, was somewhat atypical for this genre, I think, and I liked it. Unlike the normal archetypes like the loser who tries really hard or the cocky natural-born genius, Takumi is sort of actually unique: he doesn’t know anything about cars and doesn’t even really like driving. It was a nice way for the series to start because I didn’t care about street racing when I started the show either. So, even though they toss around a little bit of racing lingo, I was never more behind than the main character was… and, as a viewer, I got a chance to become interested in street racing while Takumi got interested in it. I really liked that his development on the show kind of went down the same road that mine did as a viewer. So I thought they did a great job on his character design and development because his attitude and experience is what hooks you and reels you in to what I assume would be an otherwise complicated and technical world of street racing.
Enjoyment: I think you can tell I enjoyed it, right? I had to make mental notes to slow down while driving for a bit after watching the show. Thankfully, I’m too cowardly to try drifting for real! …And let me tell you, my Corolla never drove like the 86. 😉 I think it was also really appealling because Takumi starts off the show as what seems like a normal, typical driver — it made me feel like there was an inner Takumi just waiting to be woken up buried somewhere in me. (There’s not, unfortunately, but I like to delude myself sometimes.)
Takumi is supported by his best friend and racing fanatic Itsuki, as well as upperclassman and lead racer of the Akina Speed Stars, Iketani. Also important are the opponents Takumi races against, most notably the Takahashi brothers, elite racers whose region-ruling elder brother Takahashi analytically plots to defeat the new unstoppable racer. Initial D’s cast is generally realistic and likeable, with mild yet distinct personality archetypes. Characters are passionate about their hobby and take it seriously, but winning or losing at the sport is hardly considered the end of the world. Takumi’s interest in cars and racing grows at an appropriately slow pace and noticing the nuances of his changed perspective on the subject is rewarding and feels natural, but beyond that little of the cast evolves as people. Takumi’s hobby brings out a competitive spirit in him, but he remains unassertive and distant throughout the season. It’s endearing at first when Takumi is the underdog, his lack of charisma going full circle and becoming genuine charisma when contrasted with his confident opponents, but the small range of his personality gets old. His incompetent relationship with Natsuki is cute and does evolve throughout the show, but is otherwise uninteresting to follow. Natsuki has no involvement with the part of the show having to do with racing, and their chemistry is only supported by the childhood friend angle. I have no idea why Natsuki would be interested in a guy who only gives one word responses, doesn’t start conversations, and has no interests or hobbies, but she’s all over him. The supporting cast is weak because everyone plays diffident comic cheerleader to Takumi. The screeching and melodramatic Itsuki straddles the fine line between endearing and unbelievably annoying, just barely landing on the former because of the few subplots in which his incompetency with racing and people despite his passion garners genuine sympathy from the viewer. Iketani ends up listless outside of a short romantic subplot. He’s supposed to be Akina’s number one racer until Takumi shows up, but what little we see of his driving ability is completely unimpressive and far from knowledgeable about racing compared to the rest of the cast. Takumi is also observed in the shadows by his father Bunta, a former street racer who was legendary in his time, and his boss Yuuichi, an experienced driver and friend of Bunta.
The main attraction of Initial D are the races, but there can be a lot of time between them spent on developing the next opponent, preparation, or comedy/daily life between the main characters. Probably more so than most sports anime. This can occasionally be a drag as the races themselves are never in more than three episodes, with even the final race being a meager two. The anime does assume a fair bit of prior knowledge regarding racing and car terminology on the viewer, and it’s arbitrary which parts are explained and to what detail. I had a particularly problem following the physical logic of the races, where characters would explain how a technique was pulled off but without any kind of visual aid. With little racing knowledge such as myself, hearing about how one of the cars moved by shifting gravity and whatnot seems sensible, but it’s difficult to envision and perfectly understand just through dialogue and the simple racing animations which also makes it harder to appreciate the creativity behind the races and the technique itself.
While the framerate of Initial D can be choppy and there might not be a lot of movement, the art itself is solid and pleasant to look at – for the most part. Many criticize the “fish-like” eyes and lips of the character designs, but they’re meant to resemble original manga artist Shigeno Shuuichi’s art style and it’s distinct otherwise, so I like it. By far the most controversial aspect of Initial D’s animation is its use of computer-generated 3D renders for the cars. CG animation was starting to catch on around this time with many studios believing it was the natural evolution of animation. Initial D’s studios jumped the gun on what was still a niche form of animation and haphazardly shoved it into their series in an attempt to look hip and progressive. The irony, as we know now, is that the CG is immediately the aspect of Initial D that dates it the most. Even though CG was a newer animation form than the cel animation used otherwise, the older form is professionally done by experienced animators and has hit around a universal standard of quality in anime, while the CG is technologically primitive and employed by people who have less experience using it. Initial D’s CG cars are basic models that lack texture to give them a realistic surface and have bold, flat colors that contrast heavily with the surrounding environment of 2D animation. So the animation styles clash, look ugly, and break the series cohesion, but what else?
Initial D’s studios also use the CG as an excuse to cut corners (as is often the case with CG ever since). One of the most noticeable things about scenes with CG in the frames is that the 2D cels they’re on will be completely unanimated. Not only is this awkward if you take the time to notice how everyone and everything in the background is as still as a tree as a car pulls up, but any attempts to mask this lack of moving frames is hilariously embarrassing. A constant technique used is to have a CG car pass in front of a group of people in the background, such as driving across a road horizontally, and then have that still frame of spectators swapped another single frame of them looking in the other direction. Cheap animation has been a part of anime since its inception, but not often will you find a 90s anime that reminds you of Astro Boy of all things. And It really is laziness – I can count on one hand the amount of times the series has 2D animation in the same frame as CG animation, but they can clearly do it. There are also occasional instances of disproportional scales and perspective, where a person standing by a car is way bigger than they should be given their distance. Use of CG also discourages use of traditional animation techniques to emphasize a sense of speed. There’s no motion lines, blur, or anything of that sort to drive that sense of whiplash in your face.
This makes the way the races are directed and portrayed far duller than they have to be, or should be. Without such things as those traditional techniques noted earlier there are no ways to distinguish how fast the cars are going in the animation other than speeding up the rate at which the CG model is dragged across the screen, which could look ridiculous. The visual dynamic of the races is extremely hindered in this way, as the cars going across the screen looks the same no matter how many times they do it throughout the series. This means the drama and intensity of the races is primarily conveyed to the viewer literally, by characters commenting on what’s happening during the race or the sense of speed. But the audience should feel like a front row spectator, not needing to have it explained to them in a visual medium about racing what the stakes are or what the rhythm of the race is. The visuals should shift throughout the races to mimic the adrenaline rush and conflicts of the drivers themselves and recreate the dramatic perspective of what the characters are experiencing, rather than have it delivered in such a plain, flavorless manner that it doesn’t sell the intensity of the race but instead dilutes it by having it conflict with the excitement of the literal narrative as delivered through the dialogue. This is, without a doubt, the weakest part of Initial D. The CG cars are not cute or endearing, nor do they simply look aesthetically unappealing as they clash with the primary animation style. The real issue is that they’re an active detriment to the very core purpose of the series, that are used to circumvent positive direction and animation techniques that would make the series more exciting. The studios didn’t have the ambition to take Initial D to the level it should have been and the most important part of the show, the races, suffer greatly for it. Basically, watch Redline and note the masterful ways it manipulates the motion of its animation to emphasize fluidity and speed and notice how none of them are used in Initial D. Even noting the fact that Redline is a blatant fantasy while Initial D is more grounded, that’s no excuse why a series in that vein can’t attempt more tactful use of such techniques to push the action without crossing the line into absurdity. If it’s not even going to try any of that, then what’s the point of animating?
I’m definitely interested in the future of Initial D. While storytelling progress in this first season has been leisurely at best, it hasn’t paused for long enough to give me the impression that Initial D has reached its full potential. Shuuichi Shigeno seems to realize the basics of having to introduce twists to keep the races interesting, and as he should predictably become more desperate he’ll hopefully bring more dramatic and significant deviations to the formula. This is all presumption though, as it still depends on Shigeno’s intelligence and ambition to take Initial D to the next level. Improvements in directing and animation could also be a major help. Though Initial D is a lukewarm thriller so far, there are enough hints of promise to keep me curious in where it could go so I’ll probably watch to its completion. A street racing anime is a fine concept, but it hasn’t come close to full throttle.
I just finished this series and I KNEW I had to review it right away! Holy shit this series was a trip! Initial D is a series that everyone has heard of, but not as many people have actually watched it. It’s not in the top 600 most viewed series on MAL, yet it’s somehow so famous that non-anime fans know about it. We all know it’s that racing anime with the CHEESIEST OST in existence that spawned all those memes. It’s also one of the only pre-2000 series in the MAL top 250. The others are all series like Rose of Versailles, Galactic Heroes, Ashita no Joe, Evangelion. All of them are very serious, artsy kind of shows considered the crème de la crème of elitist anime…and then there’s Initial D for some reason. Let me tell you straight up that this show does NOT fit in with those others. Initial D is dumb, DUMB anime and never tries to hide that for a second!
Why is this anime so glorious stupid? Oh my God, where do we even start? How about our main character, Takumi Fujiwara. He’s an average high school kid who works a part-time job at the local gas station and doesn’t have much ambition in life. He gets poor grades, has no real plans besides inheriting his dad’s tofu shop and is a very spacey, sleepy looking guy. Oh and for some reason he’s the best rally driver to ever live! His dad was a great street racer and he’s been forcing Takumi to deliver groceries early in the morning since he was 14. That’s all the explanation we get. He’s the best driver in the world and instinctively knows how to pull off physics defying drifts and drive 140 MPH around corners because he’s been delivering groceries in the morning for 2 years. It’s like Saitama’s explanation of his powers from One Punch Man, only Initial D isn’t a comedy! Well, not intentionally anyways.
If you thought Kirito from SAO was OP, you haven’t seen NOTHIN! In the first couple episodes, we find out that Takumi’s buddies at the gas station have a local street racing team and they’re horrible. They drag Takumi into racing for them and he instantly beats one of the best drivers in Japan. Takumi doesn’t even know what model car he drives! He doesn’t give a shit about racing. He just assumed he’s an average driver and everyone in the world drove around corners at 140 MPH because he drives in the early morning and somehow has never seen anyone else drive. Yes…that’s really the dumbass explanation the show goes with! This feels like an average shonen so far. Now Takumi will meet his first rival and lose for the first time right? NOPE! Takumi doesn’t lose in all of season 1. He just smokes everyone for 26 episodes! It gets even better! He’s driving a worse car than every one of his opponents! Takumi wins using a fucking Toyota Corolla! If Takumi was using a good car, he would have won every race in season 1 like Secretariat at the Belmont! This shit goes on for 7 seasons and he’s already the best driver in Japan at the end of season 1! When I was watching the last episode I was in complete disbelief. SURELY this is where he loses. There’s no way this show would be stupid enough to…OH MY GOD! I laughed so fucking hard. I LOVE this show!
You might think that Initial D is just another sports shonen, but you quickly learn there is something a little “off” about this series. Here’s a fun example. Takumi’s girlfriend is a whore. I mean she’s literally an underaged whore, but Takumi is so spacey and thickheaded that he never figures out he’s getting cucked by half the town. Eventually Takumi finds out and confronts the issue, but that’s not until about 30 volumes deep into the manga and after readers kept incessantly sending letters to the mangaka to address it. Why is that a part of this story if the mangaka never intended to write drama and wanted to focus on fast cars like he’s said in interviews? Did he just think it was funny? Why?! Here’s another example. There’s this racer chick who tells one of Takumi’s stupid friends that she’ll sleep with him if he can convince Takumi to race her. After Takumi races her and utterly destroys her, she tells the buddy to meet her at 8 for sex. He gets stuck in traffic and she becomes frustrated and drives off. This sub-plot never resolves. The racing chick never gets back together with Takumi’s buddy and the buddy as far as we know remains a virgin for the rest of the 48 volumes! Who in the FUCK writes like this?! Another time, Takumi finds a date for this other super obnoxious friend and she leaves him the next episode. That sub-plot also is never resolved. Why does this series keep taunting us with these romances and then jerking back at the last minute?
Initial D is a seinen series. The Western equivalent would be like a Vertigo graphic novel. Something like Watchmen or Sandman. This is intended primarily for college students. You would expect that a sports drama for college students and older would take itself at least kind of seriously if it’s not trying to be a raunchy comedy. Initial D is not here to play by the rules of your pathetic human logic! This is a series where an evil racer wins by forcing his opponents to crash at high speeds. Yet nobody ever gets seriously injured or dies in this series. He forces Takumi to race him by minorly injuring several of his friends in quick succession, because this show isn’t even written at shonen level. It’s written like bad professional wrestling! Takumi accepts the challenge and starts winning. Even though they’re playing in a “Super Gum Gum Death Match” where you have to tie your left hand to the wheel. This is straight up some Yugioh Season Zero bullshit! What does the bad guy do? He attempts to kamikaze ram Takumi and kill them both rather than lose! Takumi dodges with a physics defying drift and the bad guy rams into the guard rail on a mountain pass at over 90 MPH. The bad guy gets some minor scrapes, but is perfectly fine. This series actually operates on “George of the Jungle” logic! “Nobody is allowed to die in this story, just get really big boo boos!”
The OST is most famous aspect of Initial D and it lives up to its reputation. High energy, disco Eurotrash all the way. You know how everyone on Rateyourmusic says they only enjoy Radiohead, Bob Dylan and Richard Wagner? This music is so tasteless I think those guys would react to it like the Nazis when Indiana Jones opens the Arc of Covenant. I have an offline buddy whose favorite band is Eiffel 65 and even he might be embarrassed to blast this shit in the car! I loved every second of it!
The cars are CGI and this is 1998, so gird your expectations. For the time though, it actually looked REALLY good! What doesn’t look so great is the character art. Not only does it often feature those huge lips that I hate in anime, but half the male cast looks way too similar. Well it’s a 90s anime, who cares if a few background characters look similar? No, I mean the main character looks similar enough to 2 other rivals that I had to do a double take a couple times. Wait was that Takumi?! Ok, yeah it was.
I know I spent this entire review just kicking the shit out of it, but I actually did love Initial D. This is the perfect guilty pleasure anime! It’s gloriously dumb, but ceaselessly entertaining for 26 episodes! I can’t count how many times I cheered when Takumi drifted into the lead accompanied by cheesy Eurobeat. It’s wonderful! Simply wonderful! I highly recommend you watch this shit!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Initial D First Stage
2. Initial D Second Stage
3. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
4. Ike! Ina-chuu Takkyuubu
6. Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
7. Future GPX Cyber Formula
8. Captain Tsubasa J
10. Honoo no Toukyuuji: Dodge Danpei
11. Ganbarist! Shun
12. Princess Nine: Kisaragi Joshikou Yakyuubu
13. Red Baron
14. Dragon League
15. Grander Musashi RV
16. Shippuu! Iron Leaguer
17. Battle Athletess Daiundoukai (TV)
18. Super Fishing Grander Musashi
19. Goal FH: Field Hunter
20. Bakusou Kyoudai Let’s & Go
21. Kinnikuman: Kinnikusei Oui Soudatsu-hen
22. Moero! Top Striker
23. Bakusou Kyoudai Let’s & Go MAX
24. Midori no Makibao
25. Seupideuwang Beongae
26. Metal Fighter Miku