Soccer’s never been my game. I was just terrible at it in the pee-wee leagues. I spent more time in the corner, digging in my butt and cramping over the foolish milk and PB sandwich combo I had for lunch than I ever spent in any kind of contact with the ball. All you lunatics should take note, then, because this is how you make an accessible show about a sport. Its skilled balance of humor and drama, of nitty gritty tactics and accessible plotting, makes my experience with INITIAL D seem all the more stupid and niche.
What’s funny is that I’ve played sports all my life, but I’ve never been much of a fan of ever watching teams play on the NBA, NFL or MLB. Unless I know one of the players personally, I just can’t work myself up to get interested. Of course, the beauty of fiction is you get to know these fictional characters personally, so I think I’d already group GIANT KILLING with some of my favorites in this genre, on the whole, like MAJOR LEAGUE, THE LONGEST YARD, SLAP SHOT and HOOSIERS (in the absence of a more colorful basketball movie outside of SPACE JAM.)
I’m digging the antagonism that’s already being set up, here, between the wunderkind coach with the unorthodox methods who abandoned the team however many years ago and the seasoned veteran player who everybody respects and follows regardless of what’s going on with the management. The match is a far cry from the Earth-shaking stakes of a master detective squaring off against nigh-omnipotent terrorist, and that’s precisely what I’m in the mood for. GIANT KILLING is a strong contender for being the next show I watch and learn from. Let’s see if it survives the draft.
That all said, while the pub punk anthem theme song is quite novel to hear in Japanese, the older British gent had one of the most miscast voice actors I’ve ever heard in my experiences with this column. That voice should definitely not be coming out that mouth.
Watch this episode "#01" here, decide for yourself.