Ashita e free kick is one of very few anime that I watched years back and still fresh in my mind (around 2007). It left a really good memory of my youth and I don't deny that my eager to re-watch it some years ago was due to it.
Ashite e free kick may not be your typical sport anime. Despite it has one unique technique which is the main character's special move it's not really a football anime. Well, it may, but not your typical sport anime. If I would conclude the story in Ashita e free kick it's more about Godai Shun and his
Ashita e free kick started of with Shun and Roberto come to Shun's grandfather's island. In the island, Shun meets people from football youth club which is actually his family's football club. After meeting them, Shun becomes interested in football and tries to learn playing it despite some of his family members forbid him to or don't approve Shun's decision. One of them is his uncle who wants Shun to focus studying economics and continue the family's business instead. The sport club that's being a focus of this anime isn't only Shun's new football club. Aritaka Mizuho's (the female main character) volley club is also received much focus on some episodes, especially in the middle of the stories.
This anime can be divided into some parts based on its stories. Some first episodes focus on Shun's interest to play football and his introduction to new friends of his, how the relationship he builds between them and also Shun's family circumstances. Started from episodes 10s, the story shifted focus more on other characters, especially Mizuho. This is the part I like the most, where Mizuho started to get close with Shun and they give romantic vibe especially from Mizuho. This part also opens more chances of screen time from Mizuho's volleyball team which is truely a fresh air. Though this part is also showing Shun playing football, it's barely being a focus. The third part, the last part, started out around episodes 40s where the football and shun's family drama get more attention again.
That being said, this is not a good anime if you want an exciting football or volleyball which push you to keep watch and want to know what club wins next. This is more about daily life of characters who engage in sport and their relationship.
The art of this anime is the weakest part. Well, I actually like the art style since it gives a vibe of old anime which is so charming and atmospheric. The character is also very well designed that the female characters are so beautiful.
But the lazy part of the animators are seen in the later episodes where the character seems drawn by different people from the first episode. There's an obvious inconsistency in how the character drawn in some episodes of the middle part. The character from other football club (Jaldan Youth) are also similar except the captain which make them are like ten person triplets. I don't know why they draw them that way. Maybe it was for comedy purpose, though it isn't that funny to feel so.
Sound, especially the background music, is the best part of this anime similar to other 80s or 90s anime. The music usage is also pretty well in evoking the intended emotion. a 90s type of rock guitarist gives an exciting vibe when the character having fun and such while a relaxing music plays when the scene shows the character relaxing and enjoying the regular day with normal activities (like watching the sunset and such).
This anime has a big cast when it comes to its character, as expected from anime that involves sport team but only two of them that are stayed as focus from the start to the end which are Shun and Mizuho.
Shun is actually a typical shounen MC but not in sport anime. Shun is calm, oblivious, naive and a nice guy. He doesn't show emotion often but sometimes he shows empathy towards others. He is somehow childish but can be mature at some points.
Mizuho on the other hand is a typical easy going female main character. She is so spirited and easily distracted by her emotion. She loses focus when something bugs her especially if it's related to Shun. It's implied that she is deeply in love with Shun but somehow tries not to think about it but enjoys the moment she shares with Shun. This affection of Mizuho might be annoying to see since it makes her shout Shun's name many times and she can be over-dramatic. But I personally like her and don't think so about her.
I really like how the relationship between her and Shun developed in the middle of the story and kinda disappointed that the staff worked in this anime don't make their relationship canon. But the platonic love between Shun and Mizuho (even though it seems more like one-sided since Shun is oblivious about her and his own feeling) is really interesting to see and one of the best parts of the show.
Ashita e free kick falls under slice of life genre. It may present sport clubs but it's more a slice of life than a sport anime. This is not an exciting sport, this is a relaxing slice of life.