Honestly, I always knew Ryman’s Club would be a hidden gem as far as sports anime go. The trailer was enticing, LIDENFILMS were on the job, and the soundtracks kicked ass! But even then, I had my doubts that it would truly live up to the hype. After all, this salaryman badminton series was never about becoming “the best in the world” or winning the Olympics. It was just a show about a bunch of corporate businessmen doing what they love and finding a work-life balance. That’s where I was mistaken. The sheer simplicity of the plot and the characters who are just average “everyday citizens” are what made this series something special. Perhaps it was the relatable design of these characters and how they go about their daily business that really hit home with me. Or maybe I just enjoyed the awesome animation and succulent soundtracks. One thing is for sure though, the way the writers capped off this truly unique show swept past my expectations like a badminton shuttle after receiving Tatsuru’s iconic SKYROCKET smash!
The FULL CIRCLE Motif Continues!
I say it in almost all my reviews of Ryman’s Club, but this finale really tied it all together and brought back the “full circle” concept one last time, and boy, did it hit hard this time. With Tatsuru’s badminton career on the line, he was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure Mikoto’s career could continue. The situation was a potent reminder of Tatsuru’s self-given duty to watch over Mikoto as he developed into a great “Badaryman,” as his intention to forfeit the match and get Mikoto to a hospital was proof of that. Likewise, Mikoto’s refusal to end the game and keep playing was his way of keeping Tatsuru by his side, a callback to when he refused to let Tatsuru disband their team after his leg injury.
The full circle trope does not stop there. As we see during the final point, Mikoto faces the overhead smash once again, a recurring fear-inducing situation he has fought tirelessly to overcome throughout the series. Despite overcoming his weakness earlier in the season, the pent-up pressure and grand stakes of the moment brought back the trauma momentarily, effectively bringing his initial challenge from episode 1 back to the surface and coming up full circle yet again. This time, however, things have changed. The way Mikoto handles the overhead this time was a testament to his character arc, reflecting a true inner change that has finally taken place, as he makes the choice to call for Tatsuru’s help.
Ryman’s Club is a MUST-WATCH for Sports Anime Junkies
If you’ve watched as much sports anime as I have, then you start to see the common patterns and tropes. Due to popular demand and the cultural factors behind Japanese sports, it’s quite difficult to find a sports series that breaks out of this cycle. Ryman’s Club introduces a new way of sports anime writing that goes beyond the glorification of winning the high-school nationals or equivalent. It is a series where there is more at stake than simply pursuing a school trophy or a professional sporting career. Instead, the characters in this show are all challenged in very different ways. Some fight for the sake of their families, while others compete to keep their inner flame alive.
There are so many lessons and life takeaways you could draw from Ryman’s Club, but I believe the overarching message of the show is to always pursue what you love, regardless of where you stand in life. Not everyone can make careers out of their passions, but why should that mean giving up entirely on them? If there’s anything that this series proves, it’s that you can always find a way to do what you love, even if your job or daily responsibilities act as an obstacle to this pursuit. On a smaller note, I think it’s also a simple but awesome message about the importance of keeping fit and healthy for a happy life. I’m sure many of us who have worked in corporate office jobs know how easy it is to fall into bad habits and neglect exercise and diet. Ryman’s Club is a highly appealing anime series for those of us who continue to strive towards self-development and passionate pursuits, no matter where we are in life, so to all those who can resonate with my message, please take a moment to watch this hidden gem of a masterpiece!