Fastest Finger First – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Bunzou High School is welcoming its new first-year students. One of them, Koshiyama Shiki, is chosen to participate against his will in an impromptu fast-buzzing quiz meet by the president of the Quiz Bowl Circle. As a quiet boy who loves reading and doesn’t want to stand out, Shiki is overwhelmed, but his classmate, Fukami Mari, is able to hit the buzzer and answer questions before the full question is given. As he watches her, Shiki realizes that there’s a point in each question where the answer becomes certain. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Koshiyama Shiki, is a classic, meek, main character who, secretly, is actually a genius at whatever sport, activity, or event he’ll be forced into against his will. It’s a bit tired, but works all the same. There’s nothing particularly engaging about him in this episode, as his backstory and manner aren’t exactly enthralling. He is comedic in the way he attempts to avoid confrontation and on some level his meekness is charming, but I think him, and the rest of the cast, are almost entirely saved by their attractive character designs, vivid colors, intense shading and solid animation.
Linny: Koshimiya’s journey and character portrayal is something most anime veterans will have seen more times than one can count. If you like these stories that feature a reluctant protagonist who is forced into a new skill/sport or hobby and ends up making friends and finding happiness and inspiration, Fastest Finger First should satisfy that craving. For added bonus points, the show also has a rather quirky potential mentor character in the form of the quiz bowl club president, Gakuto Sasajima, who keeps wavering between dedicated weirdo to intelligent president. Then of course we have to have a good looking/popular heroine in the form of Mari Fukami who exists to be the reason our hero gets sold into picking up this new activity. However, in this show, we get to see that Koshimiya does inadvertently get interested in the club of his own will to some degree. So while it doesn’t contain anything terribly new, the show does try to add in some extra nuance.
Tom: I don’t think Fastest Finger First is a terribly remarkable show, but manages to get enough right that even if it’s by the books, there’s a lot of fun to be had. Its pace is excellent, moving us through Shiki’s introduction, his school life, and finally to the crux of the series: The Quiz Bowl. The animation, I mentioned before, helps keep everything visually engaging. As anime is so good at doing, there’s just something amusing about seeing a sport like Quiz Bowl given such dramatic flare. Characters are depicted with intense artistic representation for their mental musings, trying to ascertain the answer, as well as dynamic art for when they press the buzzer.
Linny: Fastest Finger First is definitely another classic case of something innocuous, or even boring, being made insane and intense through the medium of anime. While it does make fun of itself occasionally, ultimately the show does take its sport seriously. It’s definitely nice when the show injects little shots of humour, sometimes even derived from realistic scenarios like how one male student gets caught up more in being the first to hit the buzzer than having an actual answer to the question. Also to its credit, while the show has a panty shot gag in its first episode itself, it never ever shows the girl’s exposed body which is rare in anime these days. Most shows are more than happy to let the audience have a chance to leer at its female protagonists’ curves but Fastest Finger First restricts itself to a visual image of the panty itself but never the girl’s body.
Tom: It really is commendable that this series has managed to retain the classic accidental panty viewing, yet non of the fanservice. It serves its use in the plot without pandering to the male gaze. While it is telling where the anime industry is that something so small deserves so much praise, it’s none the less worth calling out and giving props where due. Otherwise Fastest Finger First progresses much as you’d expect, and you’ll rarely be surprised in the direction it goes, but it’s tight enough, and silly enough to make it all work and feel, at least on some level, fresh.
Linny: Despite a somewhat unusual sport as its central topic, the way the story of Fastest Finger First plays out isn’t terribly unique. However, it does stick to all that is loved about these kinds of shows and manages to inject enough humour and interesting animation to not feel like a boring clone. If you aren’t tired of this genre or are still new to it, by all means, do give this show a chance as while it may not blow your mind, it does seem promising enough to be an enjoyable watch.
Fastest Finger First is available for streaming via Crunchyroll