All Out!! – Preview
Original Air Dates: October 6th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Sumiaki Iwashimizu is in the process of being tormented by upperclassmen when Gion Kenji, an unfortunately short young man, passes by. As soon as their seniors pick on him, a fight starts and Sumiaki rushes the two away! From there it’s a fated encounter as Gion is introduced to Rugby for the first time. Gion decides to take up the sport, but Sumiaki is reluctant. Gion works to win over Sumiaki as the two join a cast of passionate and intense characters ready to give it their all on the Rugby field!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: All Out!! focuses on perhaps one of the most brutal sports out there and the animation does its very concept justice, selling the sheer force behind tackles, the upheaval of the field as players smash into one another; All Out!!’s animation does Rugby justice. It’s also got some great character designs, especially for our lead, Gion Kenji, and helps to sell his rough, prickly, headstrong attitude on looks alone.
Linny: In keeping with the rugby theme, a lot of the boys in this show are drawn with bulky and muscular bodies as opposed to the svelte and slim figures we seen in other popular sports shows like Haikyuu!! and Free!. Also just realized that sports anime just LOVE using exclamation points in their titles don’t they? In fact, Keijo!!!!!!!! this season seems to be trying its best to be the most exclamation point-iest thus far. Anyway, getting back to All Out!!, all the thick and stocky , well built boys in the opening left me wondering if this was going to be like Free!! but for Bara fans. If you don’t know what Bara means, don’t worry about it or just use google. Just like other sports shows, All Out!! tends to use chibi avatars and styles for some of its comedic scenes and reactions. The character designs in the show are also interesting in the sense that Sumiaki has been given some very expressive eyes that almost change illustration style/genre between scenes and Takuya Sekizan, introduced as the strongest team member, has a rather interesting hairstyle going on with splashes and curls of white that tends to look like someone spit balled him but he hasn’t had the time to clean it off (as seen below).
Tom: All Out!! chooses to introduce us to its team through just two of its players, or ‘players to be’ as is more accurate, Gion Kenji and Iwashimizu, Sumiaki. Gion himself is obnoxious, easily angered when people poke fun at his size (Hi, Ed!) and entirely consumed by his aforementioned height issue. No, really, this guy is all about the height thing. It’s his defining issue. What saves his character from feeling, perhaps, one note, is the sheer enthusiasm Gion exudes in everything he does. He’s a character who’s constantly at 100% and that’s infectious.
Linny: As per usual, we have a bright eyed and eager protagonist, Gion who is also a newbie to the world of Rugby so we, the audience can learn about it through his character. He’s also like the hype man for Rugby as he goes all wide eyed and entranced over every little thing related to the sport. As sports are generally associated with tall and well built guys, it’s novel of the show to point out how Rugby can have all sorts of players, even a tiny tyke like Gion. It’s definitely easy to see just what a typical shounen protagonist Gion is with his hot headed manners and stubborn ways, and yet also his willingness to learn and pander to authority when needed to achieve his goals.
Tom: Sumiaki’s character is where I develop a slight issues with the series. He’s timid demeanor comes from a trauma suffered during middle school. The gist of things is that Sumiaki accidentally injured a middle school friend, dislocating his shoulder and forcing him to be benched for the finals, which they lost. Sumiaki’s reaction to this accident has left a seemingly permanent scar, that is until Gion forces him out of his rut and back into the world of Rugby. But should Sumiaki even be playing Rugby if that’s his reaction to an accidental injury? Rugby is a violent and dangerous sport, basically football without the padding. Perhaps it would actually be better to let Sumiaki join the book club (and by proxy transfer over as a character in the Miss Bernard said. short.) seeing as he really doesn’t feel like a fit for Rugby at all. But All Out!! doesn’t like that message and has Gion get Sumiaki to come around on the idea. It feels awkward and forceful.
Linny: It’s obvious that Sumiaki was given this ‘tragic’ backstory in true anime style as every shounen show has a character or two that has to overcome a past tragedy to truly embrace their inner greatness and potential. However, like Tom says, not only does it feel melodramatic, but given that Sumiaki looked pretty happy in the literature club, it seems inconsiderate and rude to force him to quit it so he can go back to playing rugby risking injuring himself or friends he cares about. Also, given that the event was traumatizing enough that Sumiaki abandoned the sport completely, it seems all too convenient and easy that someone who is pretty much a stranger to him was able to cure him of it in a flash.
Tom: Overall, despite my misgivings with Sumiaki, I think All Out!! is a quality sports anime. It’s got passion, the art, and enjoyable characters, even if I feel Sumiaki development feels forced and awkward. This season, like summer, has several sports offerings, but All Out!! feels like the most male-centric, testosterone driven option, offering a more rough and tough look into the sports world than last season’s Days or Battery.
Linny: All Out!! has all the content and cliches of a classic sports show from its passionate and bright eyed characters to its eye candy male bodies. Rugby has always been considered a masculine sport, so by association it’s likely that All Out!! will be more testosterone driven than the usual sports anime. It’s hard to say if All Out!! will be an amazing story based just on this single episode but the premiere was entertaining enough to guarantee that general sports show fans will enjoy it for ticking all the familiar and well loved features of the genre.