My life is a constant struggle between the two of the things I love most: sports and anime.
For the most part, sports anime are so over the top, it’s ridiculous. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them (Baby Steps, anyone??).
Despite the fact that Koroko no Basket is grounded in as much reality as oven baked ice cream, I cannot stop watching it. I don’t care one bit that professional players don’t have jump limits and that I’ve never seen anyone do a punch pass—I am relentlessly entertained.
That’s why it was so shocking to see such meticulous detail put into Yuri!!! on Ice. The show ensured what you saw on screen was something you could see in real life (except for Chris literally orgasming after a routine. Seriously. Why was that in there?!). Even in some of the more grounded anime I’ve seen, there’s always at least one moment I can point to and go “Bullsh*t!” It was crazy to read and hear interviews with professional ice skaters praising the show for its realness. It absolutely helped that the skating routines were choreographed by Japanese figure skating icon, Kenji Miyamoto.
I also have to give an incredible amount of respect to Keijo!!!!!!!!. (For future reference, I will refer to the anime as K! and the sport as Keijo.)
K! is the first sports anime I’ve seen that had a completely original sport. Keijo is a woman’s only sport. Each athlete is separated into 3 categories: Infighters, Outfighters, and Counters. It is played on floating platforms called land and the objective is to push the other player into the water or cause them to fall using only their breasts or butt…
I know I just lost a ton of you. Stay with me.
What made K! a sports anime for me (rather than 12 episodes of fan service was actually the crowd). What I love and respect most about the show is that Keijo is not hyper sexualized in its universe. K! constantly provides crowd reaction shots, and not a single member of the audience is drooling, has a nosebleed, or is catcalling. Hell, there’s actually a ton of that in Yuri. Each athlete and their body parts aren’t there to be ogled over. The women are there to compete, and the audience responds like a fan base—not a bunch of men at a strip club.
Pictured here: A sports anime I want you to take seriously. Seriously.
After such a strong showing in 2016, I personally cannot wait to see what sports anime await in 2017. (Personally, I’d kill for a golf anime.)