In rugby, there is no ace striker, there is no number four batter, so who is the star of the team?
The story begins at school entrance ceremony of Kanagawa High School where Kenji Gion, a small but gutsy go-getter joins the rugby club. He joins with his classmate, Iwashimizu, who has a complicated past and sub-captain Hachiouji, who always takes good care of his Club members. Lastly, there is Captain Sekizan, who has overwhelming powers but keeps his cards close to his chest. With such differences in both personality and physical performance, the team must learn to work and grow together so they can become the best.
With the rise in popularity of sports anime in the recent years, a lot of shows about different types of sports have been appearing on the last decade, from volleyball and swimming to ping-pong and ice skating. However, All Out!! is the first anime to deal with rugby, a rough sport which has been on the rise in Japan these last couple of years.
Having grown up in a house with three brothers who play rugby and a father who played on his youth, I have a basic knowledge of this sport, which was what drew me towards this anime in the first place. And I'm
glad i decided to check it out tbh, because it was an amazing watch.
Now, let me get one thing clear. The story isn't something extremely wild or out of the box that hasn't been seen before. You have two protagonists who join their high school's rugby team, and the teammates start interacting and becoming friends as they train to reach their ultimate goal: winning the Hanazono, the biggest high school rigby competition.
Having said that, however, I have to admit that even though the plot isn't the most original, it was entertaining enough to keep me watching. The characters were likeable and the cast had good chemistry, which was a huge plus in my book. Also, the story does get really intense at times, just like a rugby match can get at certain points, and at times it gives you a breath by having the characters take a break from training (and using that time to delve into their backgrounds and develop them) so it doesn't get too intense.
In my opinion, the characters were one of the strongest points of the anime. The main reason why I think this is that they were the main reason why I kept coming back for more; if the characters were unlikeable, I probably would've dropped this after like five episodes.
While it looks like the protagonists are Gion and Iwashimizu, the truth is that All Out!! is an ensemble show; the anime also gives a lot of focus to Sekizan, Oharano and coach Komori, as well as the rest of their supporting cast. And it does have a really large supporting cast; yet it manages to balance them well and the character interaction are always interesting and fun to watch.
I felt like the majority of the cast was pretty memorable and very enjoyable to watch. It was easy to root for Gion or Sekizan to win because they were just that likeable. And I was surprised with how it manages to develop their characters with only 25 episodes; not only with Gion, Mutsumi or Iwashimizu, but even supporting characters such as Ise, Kifune or Suwa get their time to shine as well… just like in rugby, where not only one player gets to shine, but all 15 of them get their moments of glory.
Art & Animation: 9/10
I personally think that the art can be the most subjective aspect of an anime. I found the art really cool, and beautifully animated; as usual, Madhouse does not disappoint in this aspect. The character designs seemed pretty unique, making it easy to identify which character was which by having certain characteristics that simply made it obvious; you have three blonde characters in Iwashimizu, Oharano and Ebumi, but it wasn't hard to remember who each one of them were despite their initial similarities.
The most outstanding bits of animation that I want to point out, however, is when the action is happening. I was worried about how they were going to animate the rugby matches, but again I was pleasantly surprised; the animation of the matches was fantastic and really dynamic, which was needed for a game as dynamic as rugby.
Let me just say this: the soundtrack for this show is AMAZING. It's mainly composed of rock songs that really fit the series, and when they play it in the background during rugby matches or training scenes (specially when they're about to start) it really gives you the sensation that you're feeling the same excitement that the characters are feeling when they're getting ready to go out there and give it their all.
At the same time, there are some tracks that have a more soft and smooth vibe to them, and that play during less intense scenes. Those are just as memorable, specially the first ending… and while we're at it, the first opening is fantastic. The second one was good too imo, but the first opening, "Flower" by Lenny Code Fiction is thrilling; haven't heard such a fantastic op since SnK's "Guren no Yumiya".
Now, I'm the kind of gal who mostly rates her animes out of the enjoyment that I get out of watching them. If it's boring or a chore to watch, it won't get a high score overall… and this was far from the case. It was enjoyable, and a really fun watch!
Before I end, I just want to say that you don't need a background knowledge of rugby to watch this; because Gion is new to rugby, he serves as a way to introduce the sports and its' many rules to the viewer, so you'll have characters such as Iwashimizu and Umeno teaching you a bit about the sport.
So, to sum up… give this show a chance! Thank you for your time :)
Having this anime end, it made me realize how much I appreciate this anime for having been animated during a season with mediocre anime.
I totally recommend this anime for anyone who like character development, team development, a good amount of sports explanation and a lot of realistic aspect to a high school sports club. This is not a Prince of Tennis or Kuroko no Basket type of simple surreal anime that has one main character and leaves everyone to shit behind with no background development whatsoever. This anime has full great individual character development for each and everyone in the team. By the
end you appreciate the team as a whole rather than having only one good character.
The animation was consistent, it did have a few mehs but overall MadHouse did a great job animating. The opening/ending songs weren't the most memorable but they definitely make you feel happy once you listen to them a few times.
Honestly if you like sports anime but feel turned-off by how slow the "action" is then rather than taking it as your "main stream" style sports-anime you should approach it as a rather slice-of-life-sports-anime. Honestly its such a great anime and I definitely hope theres a season two where we actually get into big tournaments and so on.
All Out is a very mediocre anime and a bad sports anime.
If you want to watch this because it's a sports anime, don't bother, but if Rugby is the only premise that is strong enough for you to keep watching, then go for it. That was why i initially started watching.
All Out isn't your typical anime. In itself, it's rather mediocre. It has characters, animation, music and voice acting, but besides that, not a whole lot to write home about.
The story is as generic you can get away with in a sports anime. The main character begins in high school and wants to join the
rugby team. He isn't very good at rugby and he is physically not very strong or tall, but through training he very slowly gets better.
The composition of a normal sports anime starts with the main character playing against other teams in training matches, so he (and the viewer) can be taught the rules of the game, what roles there is on the team and who his new team members are and what they are like. The problem with All Out is that it jumps back and forth between in the composition and even skips some of it.
There is no sense of progression of the story in All Out. They keep talking about how they want to go to Hanazono (which is where the high schools compete against each other in a tournament) and how they want to go "all out" but they didn't even reach the starting line. They don't play any qualification matches in order to get to Hanazono. They just keep playing training matches on an empty field, with no spectators apart from the 2 teams that are playing.
Madhouse. The name alone has set a standard for the level of animation you can expect. Hunter x Hunter (2011), One Punch Man, Death Parade. All well-known shows with great animation and a fantastic sense of artistic direction. Seeing that Madhouse was making All Out was a reason in itself to watch it. (Spoiler, it wasn't..)
What we got was a lot of still frames with speed lines dashing on either sides of the screen, few frames of animation with a zoom and a pan over to the person who was catching the spinning ball and a few panning shots that ends with someone stepping forward.
Just look at the first opening if you don't know what i'm talking about. A 20 second slow pan towards the sky with "ALL OUT" written in all capital letters.
The soundtrack is very poor, meaning that there is very little variation. Music is the ultimate mood setter or mood killer, depending on how you use it. But in order to use it properly, you need a repertoire of music that can fit a wide range of moods and themes. All Out doesn't go "all out" on this.
There is no memorable tracks in the show. That is not entirely true. There is maybe 2 or 3 memorable tracks, but they're only memorable because I've heard them so many times throughout the series that it drives me crazy.
There's the track that starts with the guitar, which is shortly after accompanied with the drums and then the bass. That music is used when they train (Which is 70% of the show). Then there's the track where the team gets the ball and the track for when they're goofing off and being high school kids.
There is shockingly little variety.
Remember when i talked about the composition of a typical sports anime? That also applies to the characters. There has to be a generic base level where a character can be build and then later be expanded upon with personality, so you have a unique and interesting character.
Guess what All Out doesn't do.
Some of the characters are purely identified by 2 things. How they look and what generic type of character they are.
There's the aggressive guy with spiky hair, who thinks the entire team is holding him back. Then there's the "kinda happy" guy with hair shaped like 2 small horns. Then there's the manager who is a girl. There is also 3 really fat dudes, who has very similar personalities. So the only way to distinguish them was to do make their faces different.
One has weird eyebrows, another has really floppy chins that constantly points upwards and then there's the third fat guy who has a headband and likes to verbally remind everyone that he really ate a lot and that he reeeeealy likes food a whooooooooooooooole lot!
To give the show credit, there were some unexpected developments with the characters in a good way. One had an abusive brother, another one completely lost all motivation to continue playing rugby, but didn't want to quit in fear of letting his teammates down. But once those developments were brought up, they were dealt with in half an episode and then never mentioned again.
I honestly don't know why i enjoyed the show as much as i did. I was considering dropping it but then episode 9 came along and changed my mind. Then after the hype had died down i was about to drop it one more time, but once again, a really good episode comes on and i just had to find out what happened next episode.
There were something oddly interesting about the show. The second opening really grew on me. The coach really seemed like a monotone guy, but it turned out that he had a good and relatable reason to be their coach.
Overall, the show grew on me. I was interested in seeing how far the boys could go and how they would develop throughout the story.
Too bad that neither the character nor the story got that development.
I was really glad when there was another sports anime that was completed. I've been binge watching sports anime since last month. I have watched Eyeshield 21 before which kind of has the same game play but since that was football and this is rugby, there's a difference.
I am really choosy with the animation but this one is good and unique. High school students with bulky muscles isn't that common but it kind of made the anime intense. They sometimes have awkward and gay poses which made me laugh my ass off but I did enjoy it.
However, the anime had a lot of
flashbacks that I think didn't really matter. It makes most out of the episode instead of a game play with strong schools or training. I remember a flashback of a player from another team which kind of confused me because I didn't really care with the other players. Also, the protagonist wasn't given more focus than I am expecting. I was expecting more focus on Gion and how he evolves and learn more about Rugby. Well, that's actually what I am expecting from a sports anime - starting from the beginning when the protagonist joins the team, how he learns more about the sport, how he evolves and improves in playing.
But, I managed to finish the anime and that only means one thing - I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to Season 2, if there's one which I probably think there will be but maybe aired for about a year or so.
After saying all of that, I can say it deserves a chance to be recommended. Well, this is actually the first time commenting on an anime here on MAL so it really is good.
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