Anime: All Out!! (Season One - Part One)
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: Feb. 20, 2018
Retail Price: $64.98
If you are aware of the sport rugby, you know that it involves brute force, muscle and most importantly courage - so it was only a matter of time before it made its way into the realm of ‘sports anime.’ The sport is very unique in a sense that there is a stripped down aspect that leaves room for injury or harm, but the anime All Out!! approaches rugby from a place of heart and resilience. All Out!! Tells the story of a freshman named Gion Kenji who truly shows that both aforementioned qualities are essential to the sport and an overall solid team effort. Having no experience, Gion makes for the perfect introductory character into a world of competitiveness and it helps create a journey for all beginners or those who already appreciate the sport itself.
Being the lead character and having no background in the sport is a different approach from other sport animes and they want to stack the odds against him. Already known to be one of the youngest and least experienced, they additionally make Gion the smallest in height and potentially the weakest (physically speaking) of the team. It becomes cleary rather quickly that he has a lot to prove not only to the team he is trying to join, but to himself. When he gets his chance to make his mark, he challenges the strongest member of the young men and ensures viewers that he has the strategy required to elevate his skills and make himself an underrated threat.
It’s easy to misunderstand Gion and assume he’s a more traditional anime jerk that thinks highly of himself - but the reality is, he has a tendency to overcompensate for his subtle insecurities. Joining the rugby team makes him put all his effort into training and discipline as well as developing a bond with his teammates when he doesn't exude any traits of someone who remotely would work well with others. He isn’t necessarily an unlikable character at first glance, but he certainly grows on you as he is given more time to flourish. From a narrative viewpoint, Gion is a great character to help establish the series for the introduction of the all-important sport and a new face for a group of characters that will certainly leave an impact.
Like all sports-centric anime series, there is a team portion that holds importance to the progression of the story. The other character introduced close to Gion is Iwashimizu Sumiaki, the opposite of the first year student in several ways. If Gion has something to prove for his non-threatening appearance, Sumiaki conversely is the shy, meek student who has anxieties about aggression - but is built like someone who could dominate the sport. The bond between the two doesn’t make sense at first, but becomes one of the more memorable relationships from beginning to end. A backstory regarding Sumiaki appears to be something minor, but explains why Sumiaki has become the gentle(ish) giant to bring more substance to the singularity of the sport. Aside from those two that are a major presence, the team offers a few other faces that bring comedic relief or notions of seriousness, not quite becoming one in the ranks of Haikyu or Yuri on Ice!!! but up there with a strong example of sports/group dynamics.
The animation quality of All Out tends to focus on the aesthetics of rugby, including more broad and defined characters who tend to fit a bodybuilder archetype. The variations come from the hair, some of which has unique attributes and other choices can be bizzare - still nothing too distracting thankfully. The color choices are bold like the series approach, using more vibrant or stand out colors in a sunset or even as simple as the uniforms. With a nice visual aid and high quality animation for the sport itself, the series makes a great addition to the genre.This portion of All Out only includes the first half of the season, but will surely have plenty more to offer if it was granted the not-so-common full season order. All Out is available now and for being a sport series with plenty of competitiveness and characters to offer, I highly recommend you give it a chance.
Overall Score: 8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- Part 1 was a strong showing for the anime, I can't wait to see what part 2 includes.
- The characters take time to enjoy, but they will grow on you as it progresses through the first half.