Constantly outperformed by the girls' club, the boys' soft tennis club faces disbandment due to their poor skills and lack of positive results in matches. In desperate need of members, Toma Shinjou is looking to recruit capable players, but he fails to scout anyone. Enter Maki Katsuragi, a new transfer student who demonstrates great reflexes when he catches a stray cat in his classroom, instantly capturing Toma's attention. With his interest piqued, Toma ambitiously asks Maki to join the boys' team but is quickly rejected, as Maki doesn't wish to join any clubs. Toma refuses to back down and ends up persuading Maki—only under the condition that Toma will pay him for his participation and cover other club expenses.
As Maki joins the team, his incredible form and quick learning allow him to immediately outshine the rest of the team. Although this gives rise to conflict among the boys, Maki challenges and pushes his fellow team members to not only keep up with his seemingly natural talent, but also drive them to devote themselves to the game they once neglected.
This story focuses on the potential of the boys' soft tennis club and their discovery of their own capability, while also enduring personal hardships and dealing with the darker side of growing up in middle school.
First off: I really think this show will be the best this season. From deep characters to an enrapturing story, this original has it all.
The story of Stars Align is centered around a middle school boy named Katsuragi Maki. He moves schools and gets convinced by his friend to join the school's failing soft tennis club because of his athletic ability, despite never playing soft tennis before. From there, it seems like it will become a generic sports/drama, but there is a darker side to the story which reveals itself after the ending of the first episode, and the show starts touching on conflicts
many people are afraid to talk about. On the outside, Katsuragi is a normal student who is part of the soft tennis club, but on the inside, he is a helpless boy, trapped by the trauma of his past.
The art style of this show is decent. The animation and drawing are perfectly fine, yet nothing especially stands out. However, I really enjoy the character design. The bright backgrounds are also very nice-looking, and the OP is animated very well. The ED is also very funny, with rotoscoped dance moves that *cough* "may have" been stolen without the creators' permission *cough*... nonetheless, I enjoyed it.
Speaking of OPs and EDs, I really enjoy the sound of this show. The OP and ED are both very good, and the OST is also enjoyable to listen to. The sound design is also decent, and listening to this show is very satisfying with good stereo headphones. The voice acting is also very good, as they hired very capable and established voice actors.
One of the best aspects of this show is the characters. 8bit was able to craft a variety of interesting characters, from the assertive Katsuragai and Shinjou to the shy Taiyou and Mitsue. The character development is incredible. Each character in the cast has their own unique quirks and troubles. From questioning their own identities, having family troubles, being antisocial, and more, many of the characters are relatable and much of the show is spent developing these characters. I guarantee most of you (regardless of sexuality, race, or situation) reading this review will be able to connect with at least one of the characters in this show. The amount of care put into crafting these characters is apparent, and as I mentioned before, the character designs are amazing.
I really enjoy watching this show. The rollercoaster of emotions I go through in one episode leaves me thinking about it for a while after I watch it. From the rebuilding of the soft tennis club to the darker themes present, I can honestly say that so far I have enjoyed every minute of Stars Align.
As I mentioned before, I really do think this will be the best show of the season. Stars Align is the show I look forward to most the whole week. The combination of the deep story and the amazing character development makes me want to recommend this to everyone. Give this show a try, and make sure you watch the post ED scenes. I promise you you won't regret it.
Hoshiai no Sora (Stars Align) is a tennis based anime that may catch you by surprise. That’s because it takes a realistic approach towards competitive athletics, in ways that most shonen won’t accommodate. That’s not to say that shows like Haikyuu!! are bad — in fact, I rather enjoyed it — it’s just that they usually give the main protagonist a special advantage that would otherwise not exist in the real world. Also, the plot usually follows a predictable pattern, in which the team uplifts itself from obscurity to unquestioned greatness.
Hoshiai no Sora, on the other hand, gives the impression that this
tennis team will improve over the course of twelve episodes, but will, most likely, experience more setbacks than victories. In addition, the characters are proving to be quite complex, with emotional, social and physical barriers that are hindering their forward progress.
Toma, for example, is struggling with his role as team captain, and can’t seem to motivate his teammate or get them to rally together. This is causing him a great deal of frustration and stress, which is leading to physical outbursts. Combine this with his poor relationship with his mother (who shows little-to-interest in him), and he’s an extremely troubled character. Maki is becoming overwhelmed by his responsibilities at home, and his abusive father is not making his life any easier (quite the opposite). That being said, his unwillingness to be a ‘loser,’ despite his difficulties is inspiring, but his lack of sensitivity towards his teammates ‘loser mindset’ is cause a rift in the soft tennis club.
As for the rest of the team, it seems as though many, if not all, of them are socially or emotionally oppressed individuals, that feel maligned by the other sports clubs, and student body as a whole. Thus far, their awkwardness and socially repressed personalities are realistic, and it will be interesting to see if they allow the ridicule of others to influence their behaviors, or if they’ll gain the self-confidence to blossom into self-confident individuals.
Hoshiai no Sora’s animation is simple. That is not meant to be disparaging, however. That’s because the animation beautiful compliments the solemn atmosphere of the show. Sometimes, a rich color palette can take the viewer out of the experience, preventing them from fully empathizing with the characters. But when the colors are muted, if you will, events seem more grounded, allowing the viewer to establish a deeper connection with the characters on screen.
Needless to say, I’m thoroughly enjoying the events of Hoshiai no Sora, and believe it’s the hidden gem of the 2019 fall season.
Don't judge Stars Align just because of its art style which seemingly looks peaceful and clean. Little do you know it covers many deep scenes and dramatic ones. To top it off, I am currently enjoying Stars Align. It's your typical sports anime but with a hint of drama. Looking forward to the upcoming episodes.
The boy's soft tennis club faces dissolution due to the lack of results and skill. Desperate for new members with athletic ability, Toma Shinjo leads a recruitment drive and come up empty. He approaches the transfer student Maki Katsuragi, but Maki declines not wanting to join any clubs. Toma follows Maki
around not giving up on recruiting him and Maki agrees under the condition that he gets paid.
It's unique and I perhaps haven't really seen a sports anime who tends to make its friend pay for him to play. Its originality strikes the best. Some scenes are cute and dark. Though I am not giving up on my ship. Toma X Maki ;).
8Bit's art is simple and cute. Even when the characters are serious in playing, I sometimes find it cute. Nothing really stands out.
The OP is beautifull, quite catchy. It supports the anime series, while the ED serves as for me, a comedic role that I cant just skip but watch. Kaori got some nice moves xD. Dialogues is decent.
Each character has its own backstory, which are different from each other, I am really hoping for one character who doesnt have a sad backstory, at this point everyone does.
I cant say I didnt enjoy this much, but certainly, I enjoyed it like other rest anime series that I like. im so lazy to write a long review ;w;.
STORY - 8/10
ART - 7/10
SOUND - 8/10
CHARACTER - 8/10
ENJOYMENT - 9/10
OVERALL - 8.5/10
Really wanted to like this one, but 3 episodes in and it isn't getting much better.
To start off with, it's a beautiful anime, I loved the art in some places and it was top notch everywhere. The character design is a bit too soft for my taste but the characters are distinct enough and consistent. The sound is also great.
The character development on the other hand is lagging. They mix a decent perception of realism with some absurd elements. For example it seems all the characters suffer some form of hardship, and I'm talking some cases of serious abuse, but then they channel all
that emotional energy into... tennis club. I'm willing to make some concessions given its an anime, but still.
Its evident most of the club members are just in the club for fun, they're not all that invested in it, but then of course there's the Mary Sue who comes in and is excellent right off the bat, not only that, but the leaders of the club make it a point to let all the other club members know how pathetic they are. The vibe I'm getting from this anime is that the golden boy comes in, with a sad backstory, beats everyone up and mocks them. But then he learns their own sad stories and helps them so of course everyone starts to love him. They struggle as a team, then wins some competition.
It's just not how people work. It's weird the newcomer is so good, and it's doubly weird the club members are so accepting of the mockery, in all fairness I'd have just joined another club. They simply don't have believable character dynamics, they have very intense emotional arcs, but then everything is warped because they so badly want to insert the whole Mary Sue thing.
If you want a much better examination of athletes, watch Ping Pong The Animation, it does what this anime is trying to do but so much better.