SHOGUN’S NOTE: The summer season is in swing, at last! I’ll be doing my best to watch most, if not all, of the new simulcasting pilots. As such, regular shows like ATTACK ON TITAN, ONE PIECE and, of course, DBZ will be getting a brief break in coverage to make room. Stay tuned, and don’t panic - - their eventual catch-ups will be spectacular!Well, it wasn’t only a matter of time before I came across a sports anime about a swim club, wasn’t it?
Well, it was only a matter of time before I came across a sports anime about the swim team, wasn’t it? I’ve probably seen every other after-school club get this treatment...
If this show’s only notable for one thing, it’s that a big chunk of its animation budget has been devoted to the realism of the swimming scenes. Why, it’s enough so that I can just picture the veins bulging in the animators’ bloodshot eyes as they laboriously work to replicate the frame-by-frame of the reference footage without having the jerky stiffness that usually comes with rotoscoping. The hyper-specificity of it all recalls the drumming scenes in KIDS ON THE SLOPE; which goes to show how particular all these shows can get. The effects on the water are quite brilliant , of course, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing some Hollywood production aping them in a few years (just as the ‘bullet time’ in GHOST IN THE SHELL, et al, were previous paid homage to).
As if the copious shots in skinny guys in skintight swim trunks weren’t enough of a tip-off already, I get the feeling I’m far from the intended audience for this show. Thus, I feel a little silly quibbling about the various contrivances needed to make this melodrama unfold (these stubborn upperclassman are seriously dense enough that they don’t notice how they’re angling to dive into an empty, concrete pool until somebody points it out to them? Really?)
Instead, I’ll take the rest of this space to compliment the show on the rather poignant theme expressed in the kid’s conversation with his grandma. We humans do have an odd tendency to blow smoke up the butts of our children, don’t we? Is it coddling? Is it necessary to balance out the self-doubt of adolescence? Are we all on a gradual slide away from uniqueness? These are pointed questions that come up pretty often for any young star athlete and, while I probably won’t be continuing the show, I do hope it continues exploring that theme.
Watch this episode, "Reunion at the Starting Block!” here and decide for yourself.