Here’s some awesome artwork to demonstrate my feelings towards Knight in the Area.
When people bitch and moan about not liking sports anime, it rings hollow for many reasons. Often the person saying this has had no experience with sports anime. They’ve only seen something like Cross Game, and actually enjoyed it. Their reason for claiming to not like sports anime is because they’re hopeless nerds who were bullied in PE because even that armless girl in Katawa Shoujo had greater hand to eye co-ordination than they did. The second reason why it rings hollow is because ‘sports’ is not a genre, it’s just a plot point. There’s a big difference between the likes of Basquash (dumb over the top mecha) to One Outs (dramatic gambling) to Taisho Baseball Girls (cute girls being insufferably nice to each other) to Giant Killing (middle aged men in business) to Cross Game (highschool romance) to Prince of Tennis (parades of bishies).
But it would also be disingenuous to pretend that there’s not some similarities between certain sports anime, particularly shounen-themed sports anime, which is probably the genre it frequents most. It suits the formula pretty well. Striving to be the very best with clear obvious goals. Rivals on opposing teams. Power of friendship highly important in team play. Automatically segregated teams so they don’t have to justify being sexist. One of the beauties of the shounen formula I’d always felt is you can stick anything into it and it should work. Dress making, bread baking, masturbating. It all works because of the naturally competitive world we live in. And if one doesn’t exist, it’s easy to create in world, which makes it all the more fun.
Knight in the Area proved that this shounen creation machine is not quite as great as I thought. It takes soccer and bungs it into the machine, tossing out totally generic pap on the other side. You could not get a more bland production if you tried. The pervy friend jokes about molesting the hawt female childhood friend. The angsty lead character who lives in the shadow of his older brother. His delight at playing this marvelous [INSERT SHOUNEN SUBJECT OF CHOICE HERE]. The directing runs through each scene exactly the way they have been directed for thousands of years. The camera panning up into the sky at the end of a scene when a character cracks a joke. It’s so bland that it hurts in that eye-rolling, facepalm inducing way. Don’t hate this because it’s a sports anime. Hate it because it’s generic uninspired crap.