First Impressions – Prince of Stride: Alternative


Because regular running just wasn’t exciting enough for anime

 Yaaay, yet another promising sports anime! This genre needs some love and this trio is here to give it just that! Our reasoning might be a bit different but hey, cool colours, beautiful animation, interesting bishies and a heart pumping, adrenaline rushing sports. What else could anyone want?!
The next sport for anime to tackle is parkour, which has been re-purposed into a more complicated event called Stride. It’s the perfect excuse to watch hot guys perform all kind of flashy flips, jumps, and whatever the heck those other dangerous stunts would be called. They certainly know their target audience!
I wasn’t overly excited for this anime (my excitement was reserved for Norn9 since I’ve really enjoying the game), but the first episode of the anime convinced me differently.

Analyze This

Prince of Stride Alternative 01 - 01Prince of Stride Alternative 01 - 02

Kyokai // What is up with sports anime and clubs that are either at the edge of being shutdown or in need of the exact number of interested freshmen joining in? It is called the anime-logic of plot, which is completely fine by me. There is of course enough history here with Hozumi, Heath and Ayumu keeping both the Stride and Shogi clubs alive, supposedly after the legendary members quit. This seems to be a shame because Stride seems to be quite popular with the school crowd and more probably so after the success of Honan’s previous stars. For now, I have a feeling that Shogi is the least of their problems except for Ayumu crying his eyes out for an interested member but hey, let’s talk about adrenaline rushes! And of course, I will pick the new megane-kun. It’s my type after all. ^_~

Fujiwara Takeru seems to be the quiet yet forceful type, with the special power of hawk eyes to analyze athletic skills of anyone. It’s almost funny how he glares at Riku during class and even guesses that Nana would be interested in joining the Stride club… Does he possess clairvoyance or he can feel the Stride obsession cells in a human…? Whatever the case maybe, his skills are well-honed and sharpened with much experience, acknowledged by the experts. A perfect straight-man material as well, whose deadpan looks should definitely be used. Creepy feelers aside, he should be the perfect partner for Yagami Riku, who seemed ready to join any club except for Strido-bu.

We will hopefully soon discover the mystery behind his trepidation (suffering similar symptoms as Tsukki of Haikyuu! or hiding a previous failure?), and his brother’s present shenanigans. For now, the scene seems set with the highly flexible senpais who are happy to accept the trio in their fold: Over powering, Heath (Another OD character, yes!); a light-voiced Hozumi (Kuroko, is that you?); and the obsessive Shogi captain, Ayumu (Perfect, Shimono!). This seems to be a promising start.

Gotta Go Fast

Prince of Stride00012Prince of Stride00016

Overcooled// There are many mysteries that episode 1 coyly teases us with, and one of them is the human whirlwind that is Yagami Riku. First of all, Yagami is implied to be the brother of the famous Stride Club member who performed a phenomenal run and then quit. Unfortunately, not much else is revealed as Yagami squirms his way out of questioning due to his extreme discomfort at even being in lose proximity to the Stride Club. His unwillingness to join this one club is another mystery in of itself! All in due time though. This is something I’m willing to wait for.

Secondly, Yagami runs like a demon and no one knows if he was born this way or trained for it. You would think having nearly inhuman speed would make him a tour de force at any sport, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, he can use his speed to easily blow by someone in basketball or dive for an out-of-bounds ball in volleyball. However, he doesn’t have any of the other, finer motor skills associated with those sports to be a threat yet. That’s why he misses his lay-up and the volleyball thumps him in the noggin. I like that there’s some realism to his abilities in this way. He’s not that One Character who is a prodigy at every sport without even trying. He’s just got raw athleticism and speed that can be applied in many different situations. The clubs are all desperate to have him because he is a blank slate with all the potential in the world. He’s just waiting to be trained to be a master at just about any sport that requires speedy reflexes (and I’m having trouble thinking of sports where you wouldn’t need that).

Prince of Stride00019

Yagami is an interesting guy who just needs to learn to channel his talents. Afterall, it would be such a waste if he became a jack-of-all-trades from club-hopping instead of an elite level athlete in one or two sports. Anyways, I hope we learn more about Yagami using his talents, because speed can be a blessing and a curse. Unlike Heath, he was completely out of breath by the end from running so quickly (and being not as in shape, perhaps). I love the way this show addresses his talents (and not just because it looks hella cool when he speeds by people) and doesn’t just make him this all-powerful athletic prodigy off-the-bat. Yagami still has a lot to learn.


Prince of Stride00002Prince of Stride00003

Karakuri// Right away, the art style of Prince of Stride was interesting with everything looking overexposed, saturated, and bright. …I had to turn down the brightness of my screen since it was a bit too intense for me, but it was interesting nonetheless. Luckily, the episode toned down as it went on (or maybe my eyes got used to it). But the anime art seems rather reminiscent of what I’ve seen of the game artwork (though the game doesn’t seem as bright and neon-y), so I can see why they went this way. The actual Stride animation looks really cool too! It’s fun seeing the characters run all over the place, even when it was just within the confines of the school. I can only imagine what will happen when the track expands to the city and the characters are allowed to run loose. …It’s just a shame that Nana is stuck there watching arrows on a screen as opposed to being able to see the actual runners do their thing.

The anime was also an interesting mix of Nana’s perspective and Riku’s. I was expecting it to be from Nana’s, since the heroine’s POV always seems to take priority in otome game adaptations, but from the beginning, we seemed to get more of Riku’s thoughts. I guess this makes sense in a sports anime, since you would want the runner’s perspective as opposed to the onlooker’s, but then they didn’t even really have anyone commentating during the actual run. This made the run seem more exciting though, since it didn’t really require much explaining other than the commentary Nana added about the ending and the pass off that happened (which I guess is a mechanic in the Stride matches). But other than that, it was just a lot of action and freedom, which seems to be what Stride is about anyways, so it was very fitting. It will be interesting to see if the characters get monologues or anything in other races, since the running was really exciting this episode without it, and so far Stride doesn’t seem to need much thought or strategizing. Maybe that will change when the matches are less about introducing Stride and more about glory and competition.

Prince of Stride00020

It’s also interesting how high tech and popular Stride seems. I guess in real life, runners have sensors on them and such, since it’s a way more accurate way of keeping track of finish times, but I don’t know if GPS watches are a thing runners have. Plus the 3D model of the school that the animation had (which I’m not sure if the runners get to see or not but it was useful for visualization) made the race seem more complex than just a run. Also, people in general seem pretty excited about Stride. They seem to have shut down the school to make a path for the runners, they had spotlights and mats set up, and it seems like the whole school showed up to watch. If this is how a simple school match is set up, I can only imagine what a race in the city is like.

I only checked this out due to the sport genre and I’m glad I did because even with a typical sporty show start, Stride has a lot of potential. It was not only the amazingly animation but movement of clothes, breathing rhythm, intensity of the run and the technique used by individual players to reach their goal. Each and every element was showcased beautifully and kudos to the staff for the detailed presentation. Madhouse is really becoming great in adapting sports shows and I hope they do more. So, conclusion is that I’m definitely watching this one regularly.

I love sports anime, but I tend to go into them with low expectations. Maybe it’s because they all feel similar or because there’s a fine line between cool sports superpowers and Dragonball Z nonsense that just doesn’t belong. Anyways, Stride was very low on my radar since it was not only a sports anime, but based off of an otome game. Otome games are great when you’re playing them, but I feel that their anime adaptations leave much to be desired. Stride worried me with a very cliché start, but once it picked up some speed, my wall of apprehensiveness fell away and I truly began to enjoy it. I felt myself getting genuinely hyped up for that race at the end. At one point I recall even thinking to myself “why is my heart beating so fast?”. Stride is a really cool sport and I can’t imagine how wonderful things are going to look when they have bigger arenas, more Striders, and more competitive opponents. The vibrant, sun-in-your-eyes style of animation works well with the frenetic pacing of the races, as well as the liveliness of the characters during their off-hours of idle chatter. Stride is a pleasant surprise that seems to have the right amount of drama hidden under the surface (why is everyone afraid to join Stride Club? Why did the previous member quit? Why is Yagami so hesitant to join?), interesting characters, great art, and a sport that looks fantastic in action. I’m in. I’m so in!

There’s just something about sports anime that manages to get me excited. I never used to like the genre, but now I can really enjoy the tension behind competitions or appreciate competitiveness the characters. I’m definitely enjoying what the sport of Stride has shown us so far, and Madhouse has made it look excellent! I wasn’t sure what to expect since the game shows pretty much the screen with the arrows, but it’s just so much more entertaining with actually seeing the characters give it their all while leaping off and climbing over things. The characters are fun regardless though, and while Nana is a little uninvolved in the actual races, her role of setting up the relay is more important than I thought. …Though of course, maybe it’s just that I like having HanaKana as an announcer. But in any case, I rather enjoyed episode 1 and it looks like a fun season ahead!


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

16 Responses to “First Impressions – Prince of Stride: Alternative”

  1. IreneSharda says:

    I don’t really get into many sports anime, most times because I’m not really into sports to begin with. However, there are a few, that can draw me in, (incidentally most of the time, ones with femservice 😀 ) but I enjoyed Prince of Stride a lot, even though I didn’t expect to and watched the series on a whim. It reminds me of Free! with racing.

    The plot was rather average, but I liked the cast quite a bit. The MC is rather nice, though she’s rather bland as of right now. I hope she does more than just stand on the side and watch, being moral support, but I doubt it.

    As for our boys, they are your usual hot stereotypes (the serious one, the trickster, the childlike one, the jock, etc.), but they’re all likable. I’m looking forward to the long white-haired guy to come in since his archetype is my favorite.

    As for the racing itself, it was pretty cool to see, and I think I could really get into it. I didn’t know much about parkour until this, but it looks pretty cool. I didn’t expect to have this on my list, but Prince is a keeper for now.

    • Kyokai says:

      Sports anime are pretty great. You just need to give them time to grown on you. I find myself more engrossed in shows, which have more interesting characters plus the right balance of sports, SoL and character progression.

  2. zztop says:

    Otome game reviewers said the Stride game story reads more like a sports anime, and the romantic elements felt secondary. Reception was mixed – some liked this different approach, while some hated it because it wasn’t romantic enough. Regardless, the anime will be better since you can actually see the sport in action – the game just narrated everything in text.

    The Stride sport appears to be a fictional take on an track and field relay race with parkour elements – but there’s no baton passing, and races are done on a large urban marathon scale.

    Also, Takeru looks like Nanase Haruka’s more intense-looking double.

    • Kyokai says:

      I feel sorry for otome gamers but c’mon, there needs to be a story rather than just picking which bishie to date. This story is definitely anime material and it was a good decision to adapt this.

      For now I am intrigued by the characters and definitely want to know more.

      Takeru looks like Nanase Haruka’s more intense-looking double.

      ^ Pretty much, with an added dash of hawkeye perception.

  3. Foshizzel says:

    Wooow this was awesome! I was curious after learning this was about parkour which hasn’t been done as far as I know in anime form so its cool to see new sports popping up besides the usual, but at the same time it felt a lot like free! Even the character types are so similar…

    Color wise WOW it’s so persona like and I love it <3

    It's great to also hear Hanazawa Kana <3 <3 even though he "job" is basically a navigator I think? I know my brother wanted her to be one of the runners, but I knew he was going to be stuck in typical female sports role as a manager type...

    • Kyokai says:

      Well, its a mix of parkour and racing but it still works.

      Animation is a bit different and needs some used to like that blue filter of GoHands but still pretty nice.

      HanaKana was type-casted into this one but at least she will be involved rather than just being a girl on the sidelines.

  4. akagami says:

    WOOOOOO, hyped going in, and it met all my expectations! A series about parkour racing with relay action?! YES OH YES!!!

    IreneSharda: I didn’t know much about parkour until this, but it looks pretty cool.

    You should check out some YouTube videos! It’s very fun to watch! Especially the ones with a larger urban course or deserted homes.

    Foshizzel: Color wise WOW it’s so persona like and I love it

    Agreed! Loving the style, similar director as No Game No Life and Hanayamata, and I loved her take with the vibrant colors!

    The characters are likable with their quirks (poor Ayumu! One day you’ll get your full Shogi club!)

    <3 <3 <3

    IreneSharda mentioned it reminded her of Free… I could never get into that series. While I like swimming and used to competitively swim in grade school, I can't watch it. I get way too bored =/, the excitement isn't there for me.

    The only thing I would have changed was the timing of the OP. I'm kind of on the fence if the premiere episode should have the OP, since it's usually spoilerish and having it in early in the first episode and derail the interest of people, especially if you haven't built enough of a hook to keep them watching.

    But I guess it worked out! I probably would have preferred it as having the OP as the ED, and then have it as the OP in the second episode.

    • Kyokai says:

      This is a bit similar to how Free! characters were but not too Slice of Lifeish + drama. There were times that it became too much about the people rather than the sport and there was angst. I hope this one keeps the balance but you never know.

      But I guess it worked out! I probably would have preferred it as having the OP as the ED, and then have it as the OP in the second episode.

      Your brain has turned into a typical anime watcher. Sometimes not doing the usual is still better than doing same.

      • akagami says:

        Your brain has turned into a typical anime watcher. Sometimes not doing the usual is still better than doing same.

        Indeed I have! Sheep Sheep!

        Although, usually OPs are more upbeat than EDs. So I think it works well in that it closes the first episode off with a catchy upbeat EDish-OP and makes you go =)

        Or at least it does for me!

  5. skylion says:

    I just find it odd that there is a Japanese Stride Association….Well, it’s probably needed, as they need some sort of group buy-in for decent insurance rates. I can’t imagine a school sport like this being cheap to underwrite….

    Wait, that is way to much “Reality Ensues”….

    I’m a bit befuddled by the sport itself, as I usually am by any sort of sport. But what is the purpose of the Relationer/Replayer? To make sure they don’t run into each other? Seems odd if that’s the case, almost like a solution that had to search hard for a problem…

    But I enjoy the first outing, and most of the characters feel in earnest, which is a bonus as one of the features that turns me off sports anime is the cool detached characters they sometimes “sport”. I don’t want laid back…I want a big sloppy love for what you doe!

    • Karakuri says:

      As far as anyone has been able to tell me, the Relationer is just a convenient position on the team so Nana can look like she’s being useful and cheer the guys on without actually racing herself. …With the bonus of not having the guys run in to one another.

      • IreneSharda says:

        From what I can see of the Relationer position as of the next episode, it’s actually a very important job, so I forgive this show by sticking the girl in there. She basically has to master the timing and position of each runner all the while guiding them via earpiece. Without her, they wouldn’t know when to start, if they are coming in too early or too late, and they would be constantly missing each other or running into each other. In fact, it’s an invaluable position an it takes practice and training.

        She might not have the flashier job of actually running, but I couldn’t be happier with the job she does have and that she’s not just moral support.

        • Karakuri says:

          Ah, I’ll look forward to that then! As far as was explained to me, there wasn’t that kind of justification in the game.

        • skylion says:

          Ok, now I understand how the job works, now I just need to understand why it needs to be there in the first place. It seems rather superfluous.

    • akagami says:

      I just find it odd that there is a Japanese Stride Association

      Isn’t association in Japan mean the same thing as league in North America? So it’s like a national sports league?

      • skylion says:

        It’s not the naming convention, it’s the actual existence of such a group. I didn’t think the ‘burbs friendly version of parkour/free running would go so far so fast…

Leave a Reply