Finally the sporting anime I’ve been
begging waiting for has arrived… at least I hope so. Its been such long time since the last decent sport anime (Giant Killing) which was so good that I’d be more than happy if Knight in the Area was as little as half as good.
The sport loved by people around the world…
… no matter how long you control the game for,
without scoring a goal you can never win.
Therefore, Japan was searching for a knight in the penalty area
with the absolute power to decide the game.
The show starts off with the above voice over, a perfect intro to what makes soccer the beautiful game and at the same time tells us exactly what the show is about… not even a minute into the show yet, hows that for efficiency.
We then get our first bit of action, possibly the most well attended u15 international match I’ve ever seen – between Japan & Brazil. And its during this match that we get to meet our main characters, the Aizawa brothers; Suguru the gifted ace player and Kakeru who idolises his older brother in a slightly unhealthy way. This brief opening scene showcases some true stereotypes in world football:
Following the pretty energetic opening sequence, the rest of the show is mediocore at best and horribly generic at worst. You have the highly talented by-the-book captain Suguru, the seemingly pathetic manager Kakeru with a brother complex, the perverted overly passionate friend, the childhood female friend who just appears of nowhere and the list just goes on.
One interesting point I must make is the disgustingly disproportionat view managers that the japanese apparently have of managers. The manager in this show is just a glorified towel/waterboy, its the equivalent of housewives calling themselves ‘Domestic Executives’. Its definately not the same connotation as when you mention that person is a football in europe where they are the person in charge of the team. This was my first misinterpretation of the show, I was looking forward to the brother Manager/Player combo… sigh.
Anyway things do get slightly better as some of the back story of the brothers is fleshed out and we learn as to how their circumstances came to be. In retrospect, the entire backstory is incredibly similar to that of Whistle but lets not go there because there are way more similarities than I’d care to mention.
It’s not until Suguru confronts Kakeru about his patheticness that the show starts to kick into gear as this propts Kakeru to go out and train where he first encounters the mysterious alien soccer player. I know they where wearing a mask but I’d like to maintain the fantasy of the series ending with them playing a soccer match in outer space to determine the fate of the earth/galaxy. Who could the alien be though? I bet we all have a pretty good idea though, *cough* Seven *cough*.
In the end Suguru uses his influence to finally force Kakeru back into the team and the episode ends on cliffhanger (the hallmark of good sporting anime) as Kakeru prepares to show us what his really made of and whether all the hype was true.
Admitedly I was over hyped for this and to a large degree it did fall (way) short of my expectations but that does not mean that its a bad anime and definately not a bad sporting anime. I mean its pretty difficult to make a non-formulatic sporting anime, the same way all shounen anime are the same.
That said, I did like the humor in the show, it was my type of corny dry humor, I LOL’d so hard at the “nice header” joke *chortle*. If they can emulate the gameplay they showed in the prologue sequence and hopefully up the intesity than this should be a good watch. Given the limited originality put into the out of game story and plot though I’d (as always) prefer to see more gameplay and matches as that is better viewing in my opinion.
Also, why do they not have grass to practice on? Hard knock life?
Will I blog this?
No big surprise here, I’ll be blogging this. It’s the beautiful game after all.