Updated: Oct 17
Of all the genres in the anime, especially Shonen anime, the sports genre is the most relatable and inspiring one. Since most of the sports anime shows are focused on the High School life, it becomes very relatable for the viewers as it's that phase of life which they are either going through right now or have recently moved out of it. Ahiru no Sora is no exception. This basketball anime once again exploits the cliche underdog struggle plot to try and get the viewers hooked to the story. And to a certain extent, it does manage to get hold of the attention it seeks only to be disappointed by the animation of the series.
But is Ahiru no Sora anime series actually that bad? let's review the show from the various aspects!
Ahiru no Sora plot centres around an underdog Highschool basketball club, which aims to go for nationals, with its total amateur and hooligan players. The protagonist Sora Kurumatani, a fresher who is too short to play basketball, inspires his seniors with his hard work and dedication, to take basketball seriously and prove their worth to society.
Ahiru no Sora anime series is based on Takeshi Hinata's manga of the same name and is serialised in Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine. The series is written by Go Zappa and directed by Shingo Tamaki. The character designs are provided by Yoshino Honda, while the animation is done by Diomedea studio. Hiroaki Tsutsumi composed the music for the series. The anime series is licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
Our overall take on the Anime:
As mentioned earlier Ahiru no Sora lacks originality, and the plot is highly inspired by popular basketball anime such as Kuroko No Basketball and Slam Dunk. One episode even shows a character taking inspiration from Slam Dunk manga; while towards the end of the series a character even enters a zone, which is a kind of power-up state for a few characters in Kuroko No Basketball. The show not only used the same name i.e zone but even used the same effect to show the character in the state of zone. But the inspiration doesn't stop here, Ahiru no Sora characters are highly inspired by Hanamichi's gang from Slam Dunk, while their team does not have a coach but a female student who knows everything about basketball and acts as both their manager as well as a coach just like as in Kuroko no Basketball. The list of these inspirations would go on and on, so let's move on and check out the positive aspects of the series.
A gripping and heartwarming story
Even though a lot of things are inspired, the creators must be applauded for picking up the right nerve, when it comes to the story. The main story of the underdog protagonist which against all odds aims to reach for the sky while inspiring everyone around him, even though it's a cliche plot, it still manages to keep you hooked on to the show. The show doesn't just focus on sports-related problems, but it also emphasises the character's personal issues, such as family, health, relationship, etc. which makes it all the more relatable to the viewer.
The matches don't feel dragged
The matches are generally kept crisp and the twists are not repeated or exaggerated unnecessarily. Even in the last match which stretches for around 8 - 9 episodes, there is an entire episode titled 'break' which focuses on their personal life rather than the match, so it actually works as an intermission to the long-running match and hence even the final match doesn't seem dragged. The entire series, in fact, have its own pace which is neither too fast nor too slow, which makes the watching experience enjoyable.
Good balance between sports and their personal life
Most of the sports anime are too focused on sports, its not a bad thing, but such anime mostly either lack a breather or become less relatable to a person who is not into sports. Ahiru no Sora has managed to find a perfect balance between basketball and slice of life, so you get to enjoy two different genres into one. Yet you will never feel that it's not a sports-centric anime.
Oh! Where to begin? The animation is the worst part of this anime. It can be described in one simple phrase, Lazy animation! Sports anime such as Haikyuu, Kuroko no Basketball, Ping Pong the animation are these days known for their animation, which tries to give you every detail in the action. Ahiru no Sora, on the other hand, is still dependent on panning, avoiding showing faces to get rid of lip moments, using stills instead of motion, etc. It's understandable that one has to use these techniques in animation to lessen the burden since the shows have a limited budget and a strict time frame, but overdoing it affects the quality of the series, which happens to be the case with Ahiru no Sora.
Bad Character Design
It's not just animation that is bad, each and every character looks ugly. The character design makes watching this anime series a horrible experience.
Like I said earlier, most of the things are inspired by other sports anime, it makes the plot twists very much predictable. For example, the entry of Kenji Natsume in the team is very much similar to Mitsui's entry in the team in the Slam Dunk anime series. So even though you are hooked on to the story, you do not get a complete pleasure because of the predictability of the show.
To conclude, I would say, that if you have finished watching all the popular sports anime and want to feel the nostalgia without revisiting those anime, then you can go ahead and watch Ahiru no Sora. Even with its crapy animation, it's still somewhat worth a one-time watch.
Otaku In Town gives Ahiru no Sora a 2.4 rating out of 5!
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