25 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Knight in the Area episode 1

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.

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  1. Gunslinger
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Haha absolutely true , i felt the same though its because i tried the manga and it copies sevaral ideas from standard sports manga like touch etc and then proceeds to execute it horribly. Dropped the manga long back, not even gonna try the anime.

    It would have been more fun if they aired giant killing season 2

  2. Posted January 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I recently watched Detective Academy Q, and have previously seen some episodes of Young Kindaichi, both written by the same Mangaka. The thing about those shows, which were both fun watches, is that they were both strong Mysteries. The characters were basically character concepts. You can go a long way on one dimensional characters when the show is about the mystery.

    I haven’t seen Knight in the Area yet, but my concern as soon as I heard it was by the same guy (Tadashi Agi) is that the cast is going to be full of cardboard character concepts. In a show like Giant Killing, the characters managed to come alive. They had up days and down days. In Detective Academy Q, each character would do their shtick (“I’m an A student at Tokyo University!”) and that was pretty much it. Again, that *can* work if the focus is elsewhere (plot).

    • Scamp
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Interesting theory. Madoka had something similar to that. The characters were less people and more a collection of morals and plot points, but it still worked because the plot never let up.

  3. Posted January 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Yup, I thought the first episode was just meh too. I didn’t have high hopes or anything, because hey, I’m one of those people who was hopeless at PE in secondary school and only ever did well at basketball, netball, lacrosse, and hockey.

    …There should be an anime about netball and field hockey. Lacrosse would be great too.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Don’t really see why being crap at it harms your opinion. I’m crap at baseball but I still love One Outs

  4. Posted January 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Describing Giant Killing as a bunch of middle aged men is a tad harsh considering most of the cast are in their 20s. I suppose in anime age that’s ancient.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I was more talking about Tatsumi to be fair, which is odd considering I found him quite a boring character compared to the players on the team

      • Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        The fact that you found him boring is a testament to how realistic the show was. All you here out of managers these days is cliche after cliche and nothing of real value.

  5. Posted January 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Well to be fair, Cross Game isn’t as popular as you think it is (srsly it isn’t). And its highly regarded because it IS good stuff.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      True, but as far as sports anime goes today, it’s the one your regular blog lurker has probably heard of and probably watched

  6. romulus
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Did you try out Katawa Shoujo? I am playing it now after all those years of waiting and just took a break to check the latest updates. Hope you like(d) it, it’s really well-written.

    I agree, sports anime can be very enjoyable if it’s not some despicable shounen. Take for example the works of Mitsuru Adachi (Cross Game, Touch). Well, Touch is one of the best animes I’ve ever seen. I still don’t know the exact rules of baseball after 101 episodes of nostalgic pleasure.
    The topic really doesn’t matter, there is a quite good anime about shopping half-priced bentos and there are many high-concept piles of sh** drown in the ocean of uncoherent plot, generic male leads and panty flashing.

  7. Posted January 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    “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.”


  8. luffyluffy
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Scamp, help me find the nearest crossroads, I need to sell my soul for a second season of Giant Killing.

    • Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Im with you LuffyLuffy, will sell my soul, my dogs soul and the neighbours kids soul too all just for a Giant Killing OVA.

  9. Jolong
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    The moment I saw Japan winning against Brazil, I said to myself “This is going to be garbage…”. Yeah, it’s filled with uninspired crap…(WHO IS THAT ALIEN? WHY DOES SHE KNOW MY LEFT IS WEAK…) well, he could be a thief… Right?

    • Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      They didn’t win, it was draw and entirely plausible at u15 level.

  10. kero92
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    WAIT! Are you saying you played Katawa Shoujo ?

    • Nebulous
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Katawa Shoujo is awesome. Scamp which disability did you choose? I’ve finished burns, no-arms next probably.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      No I haven’t played it. I was just trying to blend in with all the cool kids by referencing it

  11. FURY261
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    im gonna keep my hopes up for this show because i like sports anime like Major, One-Outs, Hajime No Ippo(especially), and Suzuka(well note quite). But you get the point, but i have been craving a soccer anime & i had high hopes for it. As soon as the main character opened his mouth i was disappointed though. Every time a character sounds like that they are D-Riding wimpy pieces of shit. Im hoping he develops beyond that though. The only character that managed to be interesting was the older brother, but in shows like this bad shit always seem to happen to the interesting ones.

  12. Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I am eagerly awaiting your review of Katawa Shoujo. You’re pretty much forced to do it at this point.

  13. Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    As much as I was (and still am) looking forward to this show, I was crestfallen at its mediocrity. It better get better else I’m gonna start cutting myself again, I can’t rely on Rinne no Lagrange to get me through the season. :(

  14. DarkEnergy
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    >>Masturbation, The Shounen

    Oh, the thoughts you put in my head…

    • Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      And now in my head too…

  15. Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    If you hate this show after one episode, you’re probably expending too much energy on anime. I suggest a strict diet of bed, beer, and Cromartie.

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