Hello! My name is Gopher (or Niall to my friends) and I’ll be reviewing some anime, Asian cinema and also doing an Australian Travel blog for anyone out there with itchy feet as that’s where I’m currently located.
Top 5 Anime
I’ve been an anime fan for roughly 12 years with my first exposure being the awesome Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, Tenchi Muyo, and The Vision of Escaflowne thanks to the Cartoon Network channel on Sky.
But it wasn’t till I got broadband and the fast download speeds allowed me to access a whole wealth of un-censored and original dialogue series old and new. Thanks to many dedicated teams of subbers who sub and upload episodes free of charge.
For my top 5 favorite anime I’ve stayed away from the more popular series such as the Dragonball and Gundam franchises, Death Note and everything by Studio Ghibli. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out too, because there all very much worth a watch.
So No.5 in my top anime is Soccer based anime Giant Killing. Pretty apt for this blog I think. This is the first instance I came across anime about soccer. There are plenty of sport based anime out there but most of them are centered on baseball or tennis. I don’t think any form of medium can make baseball interesting!!
The story follows East Tokyo United (ETU) and after losing their star player, Tatsumi (their Gerrard, Messi or Rooney), to the English league the team goes on the decline. From once being the Tottenham Hotspur of the Japanese League, to being an Aston Villa and cling on to survival in the top flight.
The board decided to sack the current manager and go in search of the one man they think can revive the fortunes of the team, Tatsumi!
Tatsumi is retired from playing at this stage and managing an amateur English team called “Eastham FC” (you can’t make this stuff up). When the Managing Director of ETU finally finds him, Tatsumi has guided this amateur team to the 4th round of the FA Cup, surely knocking out West Ham along the way, hence the name of this series “Giant Killing.”
Can Tatsumi galvanize the ETU squad and put them back at the top of the table or will he do a Kenny Dalglish and make only a small improvement from the previous regime?
The animation (Studio Deen) isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination due to the lack of budget for the series and the character designs are slightly on the mad side, which may put people off but I find them quirky and fit in with the series on a whole.
During the actual matches the action flows pretty well and the player animations are quite good. They even have a CGI crowd which they seemed to of nicked off an old FIFA game!
This is where Giant Killing truly excels. Everyone has their own distinctive personality and even the minor characters making up the opposing teams/fans/journalists/support staff are given individual identities.
You have the manager Tatsumi and his Jose Mourinho like media and player handling. Club captain Murakoshi a.k.a Mr. ETU and Goalkeeper Midorikawa who are the old heads at the club giving advice to younger players and 100% to the cause. The foreign star player Luigi, self-titled Prince, who’s a quality player and knows it too! Up and coming young star Tsubaki who has the potential if not the confidence.
You’ll get to know the entire starting 11, the fringe players and the die-hard fans and care and love them all.
The opening and ending are good and have a bit of a football vibe but are nothing special and you’ll find yourself skipping past them after 6-7 episodes.
The voice acting is fantastic and really adds a lot of depth to the characters. Even the foreign players and coaches have their own voice actors and not some Japanese guy trying to speak French or English, funny as that is.
The match sound effects are excellent too. Everything from the sound of the ball hitting off a foot or head, to the crowd chants and of course the crunching tackles.
I pretty much loved every minute of Giant Killing. It does the best part of Soccer, the match, very well but also the off field story lines of the fans, the board members, the journalists and the different players psyche are all just as interesting.
Yes it’s not going to win any prizes for animation but the games are exciting and because the character development is handle so well you care about the players and ETU and find yourself cheering and groaning along with the supporters
If you love Soccer and need a gateway into anime give this a go. East Tokyo United is my second favorite team, even if they are fictional.
There you have it my first ever blog post. I’ll be back with No.4 in my top anime list, No.5 in my top Asian cinema list and my first post on getting to Oz and the great city of Sydney.