OP: 「Bravemaker」by (Takao Sakuma)
「夢、キックオフ！」 (“Yume, Kikku Ofu!”)
“A Dream’s Kickoff”
A fresh new sports anime is just what we needed to kick off the Winter Season of Anime and the New Year! Futsal Boys!!!!! follows the story of aspiring futsal player Haru Yamato (Ryota Takara) who comes straight from the land of the free in America carrying with him a fiery passion to be the best. He runs into futsal prodigy Seiichiro Sakaki (Shuto Ishimori) who, as the classic sports anime trope goes, has a very selfish approach to how he plays. The show has kicked off in a rather pacey manner and the team for Koyo Gakuen High School has come together rather quickly. I can’t say whether this high-speed pacing will be a good or bad thing just yet, but so far there seem to be enough interesting characters to pique my attention and even a powerful villain who looks like he belongs in Code Geass or something.
Haikyuu? Kuroko? What’s the deal?
The first thing you’ll notice with this series before you even click on that first episode is the spamming of exclamation marks which already hints at a Haikyuu!! -esque, upbeat show. The next thing you’ll notice is the bright colors and art style, especially with the main characters all having different color hair, reminding me of a certain popular basketball series. The similarities with Kuroko get even more ridiculous when the supposed antagonist of the series has heterochromia or two different colored eyes just like Akashi, and if this blonde dude isn’t a rip-off Kise I don’t know what is! (Yes I could go on).
Despite having the hot red and ice blue dynamic going on, our duo main characters aren’t by any means a Kuroko and Kagami pair, but rather a Hinata and Kageyama pair, at least as far as their personalities go. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that there is a Slam Dunk element in this show too, I mean, Sakaki is definitely a Rukawa wherever you’ve seen one, and the inclusion of delinquents and fights being shoved into the mix, I can see some inspirations taken from there too.
Indeed, it’s a series that seems to draw inspiration from many big-name sports anime, but are there any redeeming factors about this show that we can say “gives it its soul”? For what it’s worth, I think there is. I had my doubts throughout most of the episode, but I feel it finished strong with certain unique elements in how they delivered action sequences. Take that awesome dragon kick goal at the ending scenes, for instance, I’ve yet to see something that flashy or just downright cool for a while in sports anime, with the exception of maybe Prince of Tennis. I feel many sports anime nowadays focus too much on being “realistic” while completely missing the point of why we watch anime in the first place, to escape reality, and so that over-the-top dragon kick was like a breath of fresh air for this fan of sports anime.
They say that the first step to mastery is imitation and Futsal Boys!!!!! is taking in all the lessons from its parent sports anime in an attempt to create its own path and give us something new. Still too early to tell, I would recommend giving this series the “3 episode rule” as it has the potential to be something unique and refreshing if executed well without falling into the traps of re-inventing the wheel with some already established sports anime icons. I am hopeful for this one, so fingers crossed the series doesn’t turn into a budget Kuroko/Haikyuu!! and stays true to itself to the end. Looking forward to seeing what Futsal Boys!!!!! has in store for us next week!
ED: 「Pianissimo」 by (STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION)