The story follows a boy who was in a soccer team, but it was disbanded due to not enough players. However, after the boy meets a female professional soccer player, he aims to bring his soccer team back.
Football Chronicles, Chapter 3: Ginga e Kickoff!!
Note: some football animes will be named in this review for the sake of comparison. This is, mostly, to see how the game is faced in each series. Of course, no spoilers.
Also, football as the real, english one (aka soccer), not the American one.
Ginga e Kickoff!! (GeK!) is the latest football bet offered in 2012. Gek! was a really pleasant surprise, not only for the release itself, but because there was already another football anime airing at the time: Area no Kishi (technically three, with Inazuma Eleven Go 2... but IE is... special). Maybe
the Japanese are starting to realize why people call it the "beautiful game"...
Now, let's see what this new product has to offer...
GeK! story focuses on Shou Oota, a sixth-grade kid that loves football with a passion only possible in protagonists of sports anime. Sadly, he's in the same situation of Mamoru Endo in the beginning of Inazuma Eleven: the team lacks people. Actually, the situation is so serious that the team disintegrates, leaving Shou alone... Yet, far from giving up, he starts looking for players to resurrect the team and enter in the regional tournament. His first target is Erika Takato, a transfer student from Osaka. Erika has great skills and speed, but she's not very thrilled with Shou's offer... He's a nice guy, and has a noble dream and all, but he's terrible at football. Still, with willpower, determination, self humiliation and various negotiations, Shou manages to recruit not only her, but various other remarkable players... and that way, the Momoyama Predators are back. Their objective is not being the best of the city, nor the country or the world, no: they aim to be the best in the whole galaxy! (really).
So, who are the Momoyama Predators? As I mentioned, Shou is the soul of the team. Cheerful, loud, persistent and optimistic, Shou loves football, even if football doesn't love him. Unlike other famous protagonist such as Tsubasa (Captain Tsubasa), which basically was the earthly personification of the Football God, or Kyosuke (Hungry Heart), Toshihiko (Aoki Densetsu Shoot!) and Kakeru (Area no Kishi), which had issues, but from the very start you just knew that they were prodigies, Shou has no abilities. However, talent has many forms, and although he's not a great player with his feet, he has a great vision and understanding of the game, and is able to order the whole team from his position (number 2, or last defender if you prefer). Basically, the team works through him. Of course, with hard work, his going to polish his skills to become a respectable player, and not only an organizer.
The next one is Erika. Cheerful, nice, direct, and strong, she take's shit from nobody, especially those that underestimate her cause she's a girl (maybe nobody take her seriously for her K-On! look...). She has an excellent ball control, and a great speed, which make her a very effective forward. Oh, she's also a Cristiano Ronaldo fangirl (really).
The following are the main power of the team. The Furuya triplets (aka the triplet demons) are the personification of force and skills: powerful, athletic and talented, they're the key to victory. Despite having a somewhat rebellious nature, they're quite reasonable and pleasant (when they want to), and are always willing to help their teammates whenever they can. They can play in any line, that's how good they are.
The last player that worth mentioning is Reika Saionji. She's Erika best friend since she came to town, and is thanks to her that she discovers football. She start playing as a form of dieting (even if the Furuyas's feel offended by her motive, she really needs to lose some weight), and to help the team to complete the number of players. Of course, she will love the game, and play it even if her family oppose (cause, apparently, is way too dangerous...). Although her technical and physical limitations are huge, she tries her very best to be somewhat useful in the last line.
Visually, GeK! is excellent (especially when compared with his contemporary buddy, Area no Kishi). The animation is fluid, showing fast and dynamic games, and portraying very well the beautiful game. The character design is very nice, varied, and are pretty detailed. Everything is colorful and pretty, which goes in hand with the cheerful and relaxed atmosphere of the series n_n.
Sound is on par with the animation. All the seiyuus put a lot of effort, and pull great performances. Yuu Kobayashi is Shou (and Kyousuke Tsurugi in Inazuma Eleven Go 2, Setsuna Sakurazaki in Mahou Sensei Negima and Kanon in Umineko no Naku Koro Ni), Shinnosuke Tachibana is Ryuuji Furuya (Tachimukai in Inazuma Eleven, Soma in Kuroshitsuji), Kenn is Kota Furuya (Jil in Druaga no Tou: The Aegis of Uruk, Judai Yuki in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX and Phinks in Hunter x Hunter 2011). This series is also one of the first works of Mariko Nakatsu (Erika), and the official debut of Riiko Takazawa (Reika), both showing great skills and a promising future. As for the music... is amazing. The background music is good and all, but both opening and ending are beyond. Both songs have... how should I put it... the spirit of football (the ending even has actual pictures of real kids playing, in the same vein of Captain Tsubasa J). Very impressive.
And as I usually do in my football reviews, I leave the most important thing for the (almost) end: how's the game in Ginga e Kickoff!!? Is close to Captain Tsubasa, with endless fields and shots that can destroy nets/fences/walls? It's like Inazuma Eleven, where super powers, time space manipulation and theme fields are the norm? Is like Giant Killing, where everything is hyper-realist, not only the game, but the people and the results too? In GeK! they play football, that's for sure. There are no such thing like super powers, special techniques or ridiculous shoots, the field used by elementary kids is quite crude (no beautiful green grass that looks like a carpet), and the stands are pretty empty (except for some family and friends). Some shoots are visually exaggerated, but the outcome is pretty normal (I mean, there can be wind or dust, but the goalkeeper is not going to die trying to grab the ball). So, this is like Giant Killing? God, no (can you imagine a GK with sixth-graders? It would be insanely boring! xD). While there's nothing "supernatural", you don't need to be a genius to figure out that skills are vastly exaggerated (although, technically, physically possible). In GeK! we see children who train hitting the ball on the crossbar with 100% effectiveness (the character that do it admits that is based on a training method by Maradona!), others are able to lower the rival moral kicking the ball with enough effect, that it hit a player and the rebound will be an own goal, feints and dodges worthy of professionals (or legends)… well, this kids can play ;). Everything for the sake of the show. Nevertheless, the games pass consistently and fairly attached to reality (and sometimes, remembering that they're kids, they play "dango football", an ugly and unorganized mess, pretty common in normal children games). Another factor that I think deserves mention is that the ridiculous and disproportionate honor presented in sport animes is not present here. I'm not saying that GeK! encourages dirty playing or cheating, but if you can lower the morale of an opponent by playing clean (not very ethical, though)... why not? This last thing was a very pleasant surprise, especially since this is a children program (and dumb aesops are pretty common).
As a closure, Ginga e Kickoff!! is a great series. Interesting and dynamic matches, lovable and charismatic characters, a very relaxed and cheerful mood (with, of course, doses of problems and emotions) and an impressive audiovisual level make GeK! a highly recommended option for football fans, and also a good anime for those who want to see a sports series with children and no silly drama.
Crónicas futbolísticas, capitulo 3: Ginga e Kickoff!!
Nota: varios animes de futbol van a ser nombrados en esta review, para comparar varias cosas. Más que nada, es para ver como encara el juego cada una. No hay ningún tipo de spoilers, y de paso aprenden un poco sobre otras series n_n.
Ginga e Kickoff!! (GeK!) Es la más reciente apuesta futbolística que nos ofrece el 2012. GeK! Fue una de las sorpresas más gratas, dado que en paralelo se está emitiendo otro anime de futbol: Area no Kishi. Sera que los japoneses se están empezando a dar cuenta de por qué llaman al futbol el “más hermoso de los deportes” o “el deporte rey”? Que es lo que tiene este nuevo producto para ofrecer? Veamos…
La historia de GeK! se enfoca en Shou Oota, un chico de sexto grado que ama el futbol con una pasión solo posible en un protagonista de shonens deportivos. Por desgracia, está en la misma situación de Mamoru Endo en Inazuma Eleven: a su equipo le falta gente. De hecho, por la falta absoluta de miembros, el equipo se desintegro… Lejos de darse por vencido, Shou empieza a buscar gente para rearmar al plantel y poder anotarse en el torneo anual. Su primer objetivo es Erika Takato, una chica recientemente llegada a la ciudad, que cuenta con una gran habilidad y velocidad. Al principio no está muy convencida de unirse a la cruzada de Shou, dado que, a pesar de ser un chico agradable con muy buenas intenciones, juega terriblemente mal. Así y todo, con fuerza de voluntad, empeño y negociaciones, los Depredadores de Momoyama reviven, y sus flamantes miembros se ponen como meta no ser los mejores del distrito, del país o del mundo: su objetivo es ser los mejores de la galaxia (a la mierrrrda!).
Entonces, quienes son los Depredadores de Momoyama? Como ya mencione, Shou es el alma del equipo. Alegre, perseverante y optimista, Shou ama el futbol, aunque el futbol no lo ama a él. A diferencia de otros protagonistas famosos, como Tsubasa (Captain Tsubasa), que básicamente era la personificación terrenal del Dios del futbol, o Kyosuke (Hungry Heart), Toshihiko (Aoki Densetsu Shoot!) y Kakeru (Area no Kishi), que si bien arrancaron de abajo, desde el momento cero se notaba que eran prodigios, Shou no cuenta con una habilidad que lo haga resaltar. Sin embargo, el talento tiene muchas formas, y aunque no sea un gran jugador con los pies, posee un gran entendimiento del juego, y es capaz de ordenar a todo su equipo desde su posición de último hombre. Básicamente, el equipo funciona a través de él. Por supuesto que no se va a conformar solo con el papel de organizador, sino que a fuerza de entrenamiento, va a pulir sus habilidades hasta convertirse en alguien respetable.
La siguiente es Erika. Oriunda de Osaka, es una chica alegre y bastante bien llevada, pero con un carácter bastante fuerte, y que no acepta mierda de nadie, siendo lo que más la irrita que la subestimen por ser mujer (tal vez no la toman en serio por su look K-On!...). Posee un control del balón excelente, y una gran velocidad, lo que la convierte en una delantera muy eficaz. Ah, también es una gran fan de Cristiano Ronaldo (en serio).
Los que siguen son el principal poder del equipo. Los trillizos Furuya son la fuerza en sí misma. Potentes, talentosos, hábiles, los Furuya son la clave de la victoria. A pesar de tener un carácter un tanto rebelde (y una fama nefasta), son muy razonables y agradables, y están dispuestos a ayudar a sus compañeros siempre que puedan… y que no afecte su estilo. Pueden pararse en cualquier línea, así de buenos son.
La ultima jugadora digna de mención (por que los otros son relleno… son buenos chicos, llenos de espíritu y buenas intenciones, pero relleno al fin xD) es Reika Saionji. Es la mejor amiga de Erika desde que llego a la ciudad, y es por ella que descubre el futbol. Empieza a jugar primero como una forma de hacer dieta (cosa que no le causa gracia a los Furuya… aunque es obvio que necesita una dieta, porque es muuuuy gorda) y para ayudar al equipo a completar el número de jugadores, para luego ir tomándole cariño al más hermoso de los deportes. Aunque sus limitaciones técnicas y físicas son más que obvias, le mete ganas y mucho empeño.
A nivel visual, GeK! es excelente (especialmente cuando se lo compara con su contemporáneo, Area no Kishi). La animación es fluida, mostrando jugadas rápidas, y retratando muy bien al deporte rey (algo que, increíblemente, no se ve muy bien en la presentación, donde los protagonistas se mueven de forma bastante extraña…). El diseño de personajes es muy variado, y todos son detallados y diferentes. Todo es colorido y muy bonito, lo que va de la mano con la atmosfera alegre y relajada de la serie n_n.
El sonido esta en el mismo nivel que la animación. Todos los seiyuus le meten una ganas barbarás y hacen un trabajo notable. Yuu Kobayashi es Shou (y Kyousuke Tsurugi en Inazuma Eleven Go 2, Setsuna Sakurazaki en Mahou Sensei Negima y Kanon en Umineko, entre otros), Shinnosuke Tachibana es Ryuuji Furuya (Tachimukai en Inazuma Eleven, Soma en Kuroshitsuji), Kenn es Kota Furuya (también es Jil en Druaga no Tou: The Aegis of Uruk, Judai Yuki en Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX y Phinks en Hunter x Hunter 2011). Esta serie también es uno de los primeros trabajos de Mariko Nakatsu (Erika), y el debut de
Riiko Takazawa (Reika), ambas demostrando grandes aptitudes y un futuro prometedor. En cuanto a la música… es increíble. La música de fondo es buena y todo eso, pero tanto opening como ending están mas allá. Realmente… tienen el espíritu del futbol (el ending hasta tiene imágenes reales de chicos jugando y tribunas, al mejor estilo Captain Tsubasa J). Todo un lujo.
Y como suelo hacer en mis reviews futbolísticas, deje lo más importante para él (casi) final. Como es el futbol en Ginga e Kickoff!? Es cercano a Captain Tsubasa, con sus canchas interminables y sus tiros destructores de redes/alambrados/paredes? Se parece a Inazuma Eleven, donde lisa y llanamente hay súper poderes, manipulación tiempo espacio y canchas temáticas? Es como Giant Killing, donde todo es híper real? En GeK se juega al futbol, de eso no hay dudas. Acá no hay súper poderes, ni tiros dementes o técnicas ridículas, las canchas donde juegan los chicos de primaria son, la verdad, una porquería (nada de pasto que parece una alfombra), y las tribunas están bastante vacías (excepto por algunos familiares y amigos). Algunos tiros están exagerados a nivel visual, pero no son descabellados en su resultado (o sea, podrá salir humo, polvo, o lo que sea, pero el arquero no va a salir volando por intentar agarrar la pelota). Entonces, esto es como Giant Killing? Por Dios, no (o sea, se imaginan un GK con chicos de sexto grado? Sería un bodrio! xD). Si bien no hay nada “sobrenatural”, no hay que ser un genio para imaginar que las habilidades están exageradas hasta el extremo (aunque, técnicamente, físicamente posible). En GeK! vemos a niños que entrenan estrellando la pelota en el palo con un 100% de efectividad (el mismo personaje que lo hace admite que se basa en un método de entrenamiento realizado por Maradona!), otros que son capaces de bajar la moral pateando con un efecto suficiente como para que rebote en un rival y sea gol en contra, hay fintas y regates dignos de profesionales… en fin, estos chicos sí que juegan. Todo sea en nombre del espectáculo. Así y todo, los partidos transcurren de forma coherente y bastante apegada a la realidad. Otro factor que me parece que merece mención es que se rompe un poco con ese honor desproporcionado que abunda en los animes de deportes. No digo que en GeK se aliente al juego sucio, pero si se tiene la capacidad de bajar la moral de un rival mediante el juego limpio (aunque no muy ético)… ¿Por qué no hacerlo? Esto último fue una sorpresa muy agradable.
Entonces, a modo de cierre, Ginga e Kickoff! es una gran opción dentro del género deportivo. Partidos interesantes y muy dinámicos, personajes muy queribles y carismáticos, un ambiente muy relajado y alegre, pero con su dosis de emociones y pequeños problemas, y un nivel audiovisual superlativo convierten a GeK! en un anime muy recomendable para los fans del futbol, y también una buena opción para los que quieran ver un anime deportivo con chicos y sin drama.
Ginga e Kickoff is a hidden gem of sports genre in anime.
It started with Shou, our main character, an elementary student soccer player meeting Erika, a transfer student whose ability in playing soccer succeeds Shou in many levels. From asking her to play with him and then miraculously meeting a female professional soccer player, Shou then strives on to bring back the Moroyama soccer team with its old and new members and a better coach that can accepts all of the players, both in personality and skills.
Story wise it is (9/10), the team does not just strives to win a competition, but to become the
number one in the galaxy. Very exaggerated and impossible to achieve, but the team put fire and determination behind that dream that makes us cheer for them as they grow, skill wise and also in teamwork as some of the characters are not the easiest to get along to.
This anime is played with two team, half with 11 players and the other half with 8 players. All are determined but distinct from each other, they mesh very well. Shou, our main character, loud and brash but given a flaw that makes him just what he is, a child, but he grows to be better and the most notable characters are the triplets for the are, in my opinion, the most complex characters. And c'mon, they are triplets. Every characters are different from each other and is given the time to grow.
Nothing to be awed for but the players are all in elementary students, and the anime did a good job on making them look like one with it's simple but cute design and flat coloring. This anime is not like kuroko no basket or inazuma eleven, there is no special out-of-the-world moves, all they used is normal soccer skills that is not exaggerated and kept very simple and easy to understand what's going on. The animation is clean and flows very well.
Once again, the soundtrack is not popping out but flows smoothly with the anime. The opening and ending has some catchy songs but isn't anything of much praise. The voice acting is done perfectly for they doesn't sound awkward and is just right for the characters.
Enjoyable with wonderful and believable story with good pacing and good characters.
Ginga e Kickoff!! is highly underappreciated, a true hidden gem with fantastic character writing and a relatively down-to-earth story. Even if one isn't the biggest fan of sports anime (neither I nor my sister are, but we were swept up in this story and finished it very quickly!). It boasts no amazing, out of this world moves, the characters play pure soccer and it's a story grounded in reality with one or two amazing events that wouldn't be out of place in children's movie. After all, it IS aimed at children and it has a soothing atmosphere, a gentle score, and plenty of idealism.
also excellent and truly enjoyable for an adult to watch too. Why? Because the character writing is fantastic. It is as much a show about being a child as it is aimed at children. The kids are in their last year of elementary, they're scared of being torn apart when they all go off to different middle schools based on their exams, they're scared of having no more time to play with the higher strains of education, this is their last chance and they want to make it count.
And do they ever! It ends, just like a beautiful dream, but with hope for the future.
The cast is diverse in many ways, the main team (Momoyama Predators) is a mixed team with two girls along with the boys. Shou himself is inspired by a professional female soccer player who trains him and Erika for a day and her lessons to them remain important for the rest of the series! Tagi is half-Arab, although this isn't explicitly stated in the anime version, it's clear in his design, with his darker skin and thick, curly brown hair!
Blind soccer is featured respectfully and legitimately, not as a pity party at all, and by practicing with blind soccer players using the same training methods, the kids hone their senses and polish their skills.
The characters deal with problems children do both on and off the field, like Erika deals with casual sexism and the ways growing up affects boys and girls differently. Tagi deals with hitting a growth spurt early, winding up gangly and tall for his age, losing confidence in his ability to play because his mind hasn't caught up with his new height. Reika deals with the stuffy expectations of being the heir to a rich family which expects her to live her life protected and ladylike at all times.
Coach Hanashima is a rather useless, shameless drunk when they first meet him and piece by piece, it's revealed he used to be a great player and even coached other kids before a tragic incident made him deathly afraid of robbing more children of their futures with his risk-taking. His story and character development is beautifully cathartic and ultimately uplifting.
The art style suits the wide-eyed, naive, enthusiasm of the main character and the youthful story, the animation is smooth and although there's some rough patches in the first few episodes (some anatomical hiccups here and there that look really strange and funny if you notice them), overall, it looks really good and crisp as you go along. The art style veers towards moe levels of cuteness about the face, but the kids' bodies are well drawn to portray the action.
There is some poignant drama too, so it's not all sunshine and butterflies, it's a balanced show, although it's certainly more on the optimistic side-- but in a good way, certainly not saccharine. Even the most painful stories that end well, never feel sugarcoated or cheap, because they're handled respectfully and fairly, there's no solutions that are magical band-aids-- instead, the happy endings are most often a case of everyone expecting the worse and being surprised by the beauty born out of persevering despite the difficulties.
Matches rarely take more than two episodes ( unless it's a tournament! ), the pacing is believable and the matches exciting even if one knows little about soccer. It really makes you want to get up and cheer them or move around or play yourself!
Overall, this is a very sweet, encouraging show with surprisingly well-written characters (both child and adult) and an engaging plotline, that should be enjoyable to both boys or girl, adults or children!
Okay, so let's get this started, shall we? I haven't done too many reviews so spare with me here. A football anime that's unique from others would be a way to describe Ginga e Kickoff. It actually had the potential to be a 8 or even a 9 but why is it a 7? Well, read ahead. The story is indeed quite unique and the main character isn't overpowered like in other soccer animes but guess what? Other players are overpowered twice as much to make up for it. I wouldn't mind just strong kids but we have a kid here who can force other
kids to make Own goals and a 9-10 year old with PERFECT accuracy near the goal post, in elementary school. The characters aren't exactly the most likable either. There is at least one mention of being the Best in the galaxy every episode and i thought of quitting it several times, because frankly, it gets annoying. The beauty of this show would be that it's not just for kids. It's a show ABOUT kids becoming the best but people of all ages can enjoy it. All in all, it could have been better if they made the 10 year old kids less overpowered or if they didn't try to use the sympathy card in an innocent anime near the end, (can't spoil it) but it was worth the time. The growth of the MC is good, and if they actually focused on him a little more it would have been a lot better but I still would recommend it to others.
Sifting through the dark, forgotten recesses of My Anime List like some sort of anime hipster, our writers have brought you 15 of what they consider to be the most underrated anime out there. Under appreciated masterpiece or stinker that got the reception it deserved; you decide.