OP: 「”The Warrior”」 by (Novelbright)
Salarymen, badminton, what’s not to love? This series is off to an intriguing start, to say the least, and just when I thought things were wrapped up with a solid opening, that after-credits scene got me all like “wow.” I can’t make too many assumptions just yet, but based on my first impressions I would say Ryman’s Club promises to be a story of re-discovering a lost passion and genuine love for badminton. What’s great about this show which separates it from other sports anime is that it incorporates many aspects of adulthood by cleverly incorporating the theme of salarymen and office day jobs into the mix. Yup, it’s certainly not another “we need to win the junior high cup!” plot, but more about the continuity of one’s passion even without necessarily becoming a pro/full-time player of the sport.
A Fated Meeting
Ryman’s Club kicks off with prodigy badminton player Mikoto Shiratori (Junya Enoki) as he heads towards a new life at Sunlight Beverage company as a salesman after a traumatic experience at an inter-high badminton tournament. He is met with the charming and outgoing Tatsuru Miyazumi (Shinichiro Miki) who seems to have heard of Mikoto’s ability and is now looking to partner up with him in doubles badminton. The only problem is, Mikoto has his eyes set on being the best singles player. Clearly distraught and a little disoriented from his past, Mikoto seems to be heavily averse to playing doubles despite being a junior high champion. Determined to have him as a partner, Tatsuru challenges Mikoto to a 1v1 match where if Tatsuru wins he can have Mikoto as his partner, otherwise if Mikoto wins he gets to play as a singles player.
In what was an epic match filled with awesome animation quality, crisp artwork, and solid action sequences all-around, Tatsuru emerged the victor to set the stage for what is to be an unlikely partnership that may well evolve into something special. It’s the meeting of a lifetime between a broken prodigy and an experienced veteran, both of whom are likely to have a lot to learn from one another. This is especially true for the young Mikoto (age 19) who will be needing some guidance on his badminton journey, not to mention his salaryman career too! As Tatsuru (age 32) perfectly articulated, he will be showing Mikoto the way of the “Badaryman.” Incredibly, this isn’t the first time these two have met on the path of life, as the post-credits showed, they had met long ago at the same park in which they have reunited now, just outside the Sunlight Beverage company building.
The Way of the Badaryman
The term “Badaryman” perfectly describes what this series is all about. I’ve always found it cool and inspiring to be able to transfer your skills from one area of applicability to another, and I think as this series progresses we’ll see a lot of this concept in the works. With Mikoto and Tatsuru paired up as partners for both badminton and sales, it’s going to be awesome to see how they continue to build synchronization and cohesion with each other on and off the court. I can see Ryman’s Club becoming one of the more unique sports anime that can appeal to more than just fans of sport, that is if they can execute the slice of life elements well enough throughout the entirety of the show. So far, I’m quite impressed with both the “life” moments as well as the “badminton action” moments, and I’m hoping we will also soon see the “salaryman action” moments as well!
Going back to the end-credits scene, it just goes to show that what goes around really does come around, and there that is certainly a somewhat “cycle” element to life. Mikoto’s journey with badminton began after a fateful encounter with Tatsuru when he was just a young boy, and now that he is down and out, he has miraculously been reunited with the badaryman himself to re-discover his child-like love for the sport. It’s clear that these two characters are currently playing badminton for very different reasons, as Mikoto strives to bury his past and seek badminton glory once again through winning tournaments and establishing himself as the prodigy he once was, while Tatsuru is at a point in life where he can extract true enjoyment from the sport and really become a badminton enthusiast. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out and whether this dynamic duo will take badminton (or perhaps sales work) to a whole new level. Looking forward to next week’s Ryman’s Club!
ED: 「”Nisen Gohyaku Man no Ich”」by (Mafumafu)