Sports Anime is like Regular Anime

You lose the moment you think of sports anime as being only sports instead of anime. The trap with thinking that sports anime is a new different beast unable to get and unable to get into is the idea that regular anime and sports anime are different species when they happen to share similarities. Recently I finished Giant Killing and GK works in the way any show does. No, no that’s actually a good thing. As an sports anime it was a bit of different experience compared to others I’ve heard of, as an anime Giant Killing was like watching your standard anime.

Every story comes with its list of characters. We first start with Tsubaki who in shounen terms he is a Simon who never gets his sunglasses. Tsubaki is the insecure lead with hidden potential who doesn’t realize it himself, that by looking at him one would think he needs some type of big anii-ki to follow around. Like any lead in a similar position his progress is clear though slow and even in the final episodes he still has doubts about himself. I guess Tsubaki was alright if you get past the whining of a character trying to better himself yet having a hard time doing it. Thank God, like a good story, they worked out all the drama on his end in the first eps instead of the final eps. By shounen terms Tsubaki is the future lead in progress. Don’t believe it? Just ask the lady below.

That Tsubaki will take us places even if I have to put my job on the line. Hold on a sec, I am putting my job on the line.

> Tell you what Tsubasa. I’ll shape your pathetic team into a winning one for a a six-pack of heineken. Ok, no? A bottle of tequila. Nothing? Last call. You drive a  hard bargain kid. Ok, last offer. A bud light will do. Fine, I’ll take that 70% alcohol bottle you got in your hand.

Roberto Hongo. That drunk bum

little kids calling Natsuki out. Face it. He was kind of a dick sometimes

It wouldn’t be a story without older, wiser characters in it. Scratch the wiser part and keep the older for Natsuki. GK hit it with the older characters in the team approach who despite being in the team for a long time still have trouble within the team. Murakoshi is in a team who can’t function well. Natsuki can’t get it together because his afro secretly plots against him. Here goes all the characters in any story who don’t get much screen time in a story yet they are part of it who actually become part of it. We have characters who have families which is rarely happens, which is not to say they don’t, but the characters in stories are either too young or the story never mentions this. In anime terms Natsuki was the middle age guy going through midlife crisis who could find himself out of the job if he didn’t provide results. Consequently, he would also be suited for a drama and comedy show if he was in a different story.  Despite being a character who should automatically  get a solid spotlight in a story he was more like supporting character in the scene and his story became more comedy fodder. There are cases like this.

GK was going for aloof coach makes it big. It worked and it didn’t. Tough call. I’m going go on a limp and say that Tatsumi was the weakest link in the series even if I’m to get roughed up by the ETU fans who go to all games and won’t let the locals geezers join them. GK is the type of story that puts a tremendous stress on a single character at times, and that character is the coach, and thus he is expected to meet the expectations of the audience. The idea that Tatsumi got lucky more than he really knew what he was doing never fully left me. I know there was more to it than that yet the idea of building a whole philosophy and your strategy based on that is the part in a plot that never quite strike you as convincing and rather it becomes an agreement nod to move to a different topic.

> Coach: You know what forwards are Natsuki?

> Natsuki: No?

> Coach: *random philosophy sparkle of the moment*

All in all, all characters in the story made GK into what it was no matter how little or big roles they had.  Every now and then GK put emphasis on certain characters, performance, and skills and made turned them into possible alternative leads in this story which had no defined main character. One of them being whether one of them was feeling like getting into the game. Like Gino who sometimes had bad days and therefore we should all be worried.

Players like Gino who had plenty of potential didn’t have as much impact in the story as he could have. In a regular story Gino was like the more powerful, superior character who only helps the lead when it is absolutely necessary and as a result saves the day. I think GK was the type of story that purposely makes a character (this case Gino) into an seemingly lazy character or separate him from the lead’s group and give him the role of an ally to downplay his skills in order for the story to continue its regular course. That type of stories where if X character would help the lead all the time the story would be over very soon yet because the story requires it he is only in the story for short moments. This type of agreement agrees with Gino.

The last of the list is the type characters in a story who did what they’re good at. That case being Sera, lacking in skills but being aware of it. Easy concept.

– but you have.. YOU!

If looking for in-the-middle-characters who are neither too insecure and nor too overconfident one would find Sera. He was the type of character who acts as a supporting character yet ends up becoming more of a main character when the situation requires it, which is what this type of series do. The focus on several supporting characters and making them shine. It took “minor” characters and turn them into characters with bigger roles and put them in the spotlight. The result of the experiment would be the following: I didn’t care about most of them when the show started, but after the story went on I realized there was more to them than nameless team players passing the ball to the lead so he can shoot-o. It’s a situation where there is an all-shared position for main character in a story where everyone is thriving toward the same goal in mind.

This anime needed more Brazilians

The mixture that it is GK was that its characters got to also face international players, that is, in a regular story turns into meeting with new and foreigners to them, characters who they could never fully interact other than in the most basic ways. The idea with having characters from different nationalities who didn’t speak the local language was probably one of the best ideas GK could have. Having characters from the same team not understand each other was funny, having characters from opposite teams was funnier.  Also an anime managing to break away from having characters go into full engrish mode happens to be appreciated. Going by a regular anime principle it was one that managed to work some actual humor out of situations. Misunderstanding are up there in the comedy pyramid of any story with humor tones after all.

Compared to what commonly goes, GK was different from the usual only *one* big star of the show. Probably if the audience would have to watch a show only about Tsubaki or Tatsumi coaching nameless players they’d grow bored like a person watching a subless movie in a language they don’t get. The type that sports anime GK was one that alternated the use of its characters so the audience would not get tired of any of them. It also presented a realistic take on the genre going the opposite direction from sports stories where the characters have unbelievable skills and flashy shooting techniques with booming sounds, all of them with their corresponding names. Thanks to that this type of story didn’t have high levels of predictability like a run-of-the-mill shounen lead expected to win or a sports anime where the lead is expected to always score and the team equally expected to always win.

In less words the story of underdogs in any story  who can manage to win, nevertheless they won’t always win. Without gifted or geniuses in its story this was show where regular players, regular people, went against one another where the opportunity to win was not certain, just possible. That in a way manages to spice things up. There were awfully plenty of similarities between them to not get lost. All in all for being sports anime it was part of a familiar anime experience. Now if you don’t agree. Why don’t you have take another look at Hauer’s glorious hair.

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