So, you have been reading me for a while now, and you should know by this point that the genre in anime I detest the most is Giant Fighting Robot. However, the one that is in second place is sports anime.
This is not to say that all sports animes are terrible; I could name two right off the bat that were very interesting, in that I watched them all the way through: “Bamboo Blade” (Kendo) and “The Big Windup” (Baseball), but they went against the grain to tell their stories. (Another is “Suzuka”, but the track and field aspect is a means to an end and not the core of the show). It’s that some of the shows get so involved in presenting the sporting aspect of things, the plot suffers to the nth degree and one loses interest. If I want to watch basketball, I’ll watch basketball, not a basketball anime.
Here is the problem that I have with the approach to the sporting life story, as it falls into the same tropes and traps:
Our hero (or heroine; mustn’t be sexist) is just a-walkin’ down the street, singing “Doo wah diddy, diddy, dum diddy do” and is called upon to use some hidden talent that is reflective of the sport that we are angling towards. Once this ability is now out in the open, they are asked or blackmailed or coerced or driven into joining the particular club or team to really present his talent (or hers; mustn’t be sexist). (more…)