Filling the twincest void the Okumura brothers left
|There’s only two things you can do to make me watch a sports anime. 1; make all the characters moe as shit, such as in Oofuri, or 2; have Jun Fukuyama voice one of the leads. Area no Kishi has the latter. OBLIGATORY!|
So we get our pretentiously OTT monologue by Jun about how soccer is the be all and end all of life, and playing it basically means you are the equivilent of a knight in King Arthur’s court – except in shorts. Then we’re introduced to Aizawa Suguru, Japan’s God among Balls, as he plays a stadium match and his little brother watches on in pant-jizzing awe. Unfortunately for little brother Kakeru Suguru doesn’t reciprocate his feelings of rosy-eyed admiration, instead he constantly berates him and tells him to leave the football club. He also glares at him. A lot.
Clean up your balls
See, Kakeru used to be a player in the club just like his brother, but quit in favour of coaching. Oh, I smell a confidence crunching injury! Anyway, in possibly the MOST unsettling way to introduce a character – we meet the only female in this sausage fest; Seven. Oh, that’s fine. She has tits, so clearly she doesn’t deserve a real name anyway. Can someone tell me why every move she makes creates an atmosphere of dread and eerie stillness? No? Is it just me? Okay, well she does have a name, and it’s Nana. And, guess what! She’s a childhood friend. OH GREAT. She has a sob-story that I couldn’t locate my interest in if I was using a neutron microscope, so let’s just skip it. All you need to know is that she’s joining the team as another manager, basically to usurpe Kakeru because he’s going to end up becoming a player again. Honestly, how easy is it to figure this shit out?
At home Suguru has a little domestic with Kakeru, getting pissed off at him going “Baby, why’d you have to change?! It’s stressing me out for some reason not yet disclosed to the viewer! Do you like my attempted to create tension!? I thought it was quite good, because I am a pretentious writer!!” Anyway, Kakeru goes out to practise his taboo habit – playing soccer! Wait, what? Well, while playing with his balls in the park a mysterious masked person, that is in no way Nana, interrupts him and kicks his ass in a game of keep-away. My past-injury theory gets some creedence here because Kakeru complains about not being able to use his left foot.
The next day it’s announced Kakeru will be joining the team as a player because of an injury in the team. This was orcastrated by Suguru who is convinced Kakeru is only the manager because he’s afraid to play. Oh, ladies! Put your claws away! And that’s pretty much it for the first episode, there is some vague threat at the end of impending doom, but honestly, are you really invested enough to care?
“Now drop and give me 20 cock-push ups.”
GOODNESS GRACIOUS, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
Burn the witch!
This show is a rarity. There were these odd moments where the animation was really nice, the emotion was there, but for the most parts it was just dull. There were no surprises. I had the plot figured out in a minute. Not that it’s hard, it’s the same plot to every sports anime/movie/TV show. Oh, they don’t have love the underdog. And I don’t have a problem with that, if you want to have a go at the formula then go ahead. But you need strong characters or else stuff like this just fades into the background. It’s hard to be an Oofuri, or even a Giant Killing. There has to be this chemistry and between the team and the characters have to be really defined, and really secure in what their role is. These characters are just forgetable. The conflict between the brothers is the only semi-interesting thing about Area no Kishi, and it looks like that’s going to be shafted in episode 3 in favour of dorama. They are just missing all the right notes with this one. They come close sometimes, but then just miss the mark by a mile.
There’s another trend among these sports animes that really cheeses me off too; the coach being a woman. Because we all know women can’t actually play sports, they can only coach them. Gotta love that logic. Nana seriously freaks me out, I’m not even kidding. She is that untrustworthy kind of happy. It’s tied to Satan. I’m sure of it. Burrrr. I love that conversation her and Kakeru have where he admits he doesn’t remember who she is and her response is “How cute!”. Yes…how cute that he has no idea who you are! Clearly he hasn’t spent his early teenhood jerking the meat to you like you would have hoped. Way to hide your sociopathic rage, honey. God, even the characters in the show think each other so bland they don’t think they are worth remembering.
I’d stay away from this if I were you. Even if you are a sports anime fan I can’t see this grabbing you. It just has no energy, and no sense of fun behind it. It doesn’t even buy the story it’s telling. Conflict is foamed in. Characters aren’t well established – you know the “team” aspect isn’t going to be a big focus when they are tossed at you in the form of nameless randoms. Maybe it’ll turn out to be the best sports anime EVAR, but it isn’t off to a strong start. Even with the right-the-fuck-out-of-nowhere ending to the second episode, there isn’t much here to salvage in terms of engageability. Not even Jun.