I have often stated that they will do an anime on practically anything, so I was surprised to see a College Bowl caliber of show, where brains and strategy wins out over beefy brawn. It is time for “Nana Maru San Batsu!” (“Fastest Finger First!” or “7 Right, 3 Wrong” or “ 7O3X”). And here’s the funny thing: this is deemed a sports anime!
We are at Bunzo High School. It is the first or second day of school and ALL the club tables are out there, competing for members. Shiki Koshiyama (glasses, down in front) is wondering what he wants to do and be and achieve while in high school and comes across the Quiz Bowl Club table, led by Gakuto Sasajima (right side, second row, guy with glasses). Koshiyama is hooked into an impromptu game of Quiz Bowl and is doubly frustrated. He knows this stuff, but he is not fast enough to the buzzer, as he is beaten out by Mari Fukami (far lower left).
He is still uncertain if he wants to join, but when fellow classmate Daisuke Inoue (between the both of them), he decides to sign up. The first season follows their exploits and participations in a variety of contests to determine who has the…..Fastest Finger First!
OK, just after man discovered agriculture, I was in college, playing College Bowl. I was a player for two years and a coach for two years, so I was deeply invested in the series, seeing how they did things. I will say they play the game a bit differently, but the planning and strategy is still the same: you wait for the key word or tipping point clue to buzz in and stake your claim. But they do things with a twist, and I’ll let those cultural differences play out. It’s just that Gakuto is a slob as a coach. He doesn’t do much to make them work well as a team (even though it is individual effort) or help them understand how the questions flow.
One aspect they did get right were the preening prats you run into, especially that girl in the upper left corner. Let’s just say there’s more to her than meets the eye and it would be nice if a bus fell on her. I found the pressure and stress of trying to balance speed and intelligence exhilarating and the show itself was compelling. However, since a ton of it is Japanese culture, I got shellacked with the answers to the questions.
Still, it was nice to see smarts getting rewarded, for a change, as the real struggles that everyone has to go through to be the best was well presented. I just felt that one of the crisis presented was a bit too paste-on, as though we needed an external force at work, as it is very hard to see or comprehend internal forces at play. You can say “I have doubts”, but how do you show that? Despite the difficulty in how the Japanese do these quiz bowls, I enjoyed myself, as they were able to balance game play with what goes on in your life, and that is tough for any sports anime. I can’t wait for a hopeful second season.
Binging. Now, when I played College Bowl, you played your game, you had a break and then, the next game. For the anime, I strongly suggest pulling out all the stops and push it like you have to get from one end of the state to the other in record time. Aside from the ‘sudden death’ caliber to the game play, you can really sense the dynamic pressure all the participants are under to achieve and succeed and excel. And that’s half the emotional game right there.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (It’s still typical)
Plot 8 (Nice change of pace)
Pacing 8 (Good use of the game play)
Effectiveness 7 (Some coaching issues I had)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 1 (A similar show would be “Ouran High School”)
Bingeability 9 (Unrelenting pressure)
Overall 8 (Really captured all the game play well)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Push it down halfway!