OP: Motto Takaku 「もっと高く」 by Suzuki Aina
「岩のパズル」 (Iwa no Puzzle)
On the surface, Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls has the look and feel of your standard anime based on school clubs dedicated to a specific hobby. However, what makes Iwa Kakeru’s first episode special is by gearing itself as a sports anime that follows the four girls as they aim to ascend the highest heights in competitive sports climbing.
Our lead in this anime is Kasahara Konomi, a new student who finds herself to be a natural at rock climbing because of her ability to visualize the rocks on the wall as parts of a puzzle. Even though she used to spend the majority of her time compulsive playing puzzle games at a competitive level, it would’ve been nice if they went in on any physical strengths she might have had to have the endurance and stamina to rock climb aside from ballet she did as a kid.
Still, she’s a very likable character as her drive and motivation to excel at a new sport is admirable. It’s cool that, in spite of her being a natural at rock climbing as soon as she starts seeing the wall as a Puyo Puyo-style game, she does fight for her chance to continue climbing and makes a convincing argument as to how her abilities can be used to find easy solutions out of otherwise difficult traps.
Aside from Konomi’s induction into the club, one of the other standout characters in this episode was Uehara Jun, a hard-ass notorious for selectively hazing new aspiring members of the club by holding races that would dissuade them from joining the club if they underestimate the difficulty of rock climbing. Although she spends a chunk of the episode being unreasonably mean to Konomi, she is also more than ready to support her as soon as she starts to show promise.
But by the time Konomi takes part in the race and happens to find a clever way around the most difficult rock that was set up, it’s easier to see that Jun has more of a tsundere vibe going on. Where once she lowers her guard around members that are serious about rock climbing, she’s more likely to encourage them to continue doing what they do best. By the end of the episode when the two key members of the club, Sayo and Nonoka, appear to chide her for almost costing them another new member, it’s funny to see how Jun gets a little flustered and shy about the excitement Konomi has to continue rock climbing with her.
Episode 01 of Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls was a fun premiere to watch as it followed the recipe that any engaging sports anime would have by giving us a small group of characters that we can be excited to see improve with time. It’ll be interesting to see how they introduce other club members from rival schools as they start to take part in competitive sports climbing events like the competition slated for next week.
ED:「LET`S CLIMB↑」 by Hanamiya Joshi Climbing Bu, Ishikawa Yui, Suzuki Aina, Tomita Miyu, and Uesaka Sumire