Try Knights – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Haruma Riku begins high school with no future in sight. Then, in a passing glance, his attention is captured by the wild, animal-like movements of a student on the school’s athletic field. He jumps higher, runs faster, and tries harder than anyone Riku has ever seen. That student is Kariya Akira, and the sport he plays is the one Riku attempted in the past but gave up: rugby. As he watches Akira running in a rough, unrefined gait, Riku gives him a bit of advice without thinking, and those words end up setting his passion for rugby alight again.(Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Try Knights gets bonus points for having the archetypal reluctant lead, Haruma Riku, be an out and out Rugby genius. While Riku is a little jaded with playing Rugby himself, he brings a breath of fresh air to the story by avoiding other, more popular tropes of a jaded/traumatized/bitter former sports star/legend who’s ‘done’ with the game. Instead he shows some clear love and interest in rugby, thus making him stand out. Unfortunately beyond that, Try Knights’ first episode doesn’t really develop its two main characters at all. Riku seems boxed into being the nerdy genius while Akira is the extremely positive and enthusiastic ‘dumb jock’ who won’t take no for an answer, a duo that is ridiculously popular and common in fiction. They’re popular because they’re fun to watch but Try Knights premiere episode does little to really give this trope a proper polish and shine, making them come off as tired cliches.
Tom: Our leads may be a tired, overused, cliched duo, but that pairing is an otherwise serviceable starting point, especially if you appreciate those particular tropes. But even as a starting point Try Knights really needs to showcase something unique about these two to latch onto, something that makes them and the series as a whole stand out. Right now both leads feel like they’re still working off their factory presets, the basic, generic protagonist setting without little touches and flare that makes them stand out from the pack. None of this is helped by an absolutely rushed, bare bones production that fails to inject life into the proceedings. The music borders on garish, often feeling too peppy to match the tone the story seems to be going for. In fact the music is downright distracting, actively pulling your attention away. It doesn’t help that visually Try Knights feels only a few feet away from a dumpster fire. Any time the players get going, and Rugby starts to happen, visuals tank. Off-models, poor animation, everything looks so janky and unrefined. Sequences that are supposed to be comedic are so for the wrong reasons, and even more serious scenes feel laughably silly thanks to the disappointing visual mess.
Linny: Try Knights definitely struggles to establish and sell a cohesive tone. Sometimes it’s due to the surprisingly chill and laid-back reactions of our characters, to events that should be earning a more intense response. In other cases the music doesn’t mesh with what’s happening onscreen or the just plain bad animation greatly detracts and distracts. These factors can make it a challenge to get deeply invested in the story, especially if you’re not someone already enamored by the character’s pretty boy designs or the rugby itself. Heck, even if you are watching for the rugby, the extremely poor animation during some of the action packed scenes are likely to disappoint. Try Knights also features an after section where they dispense serious and basic knowledge about the sports itself so maybe that might prove helpful to anyone completely new to the game and makes it approachable even if you know nothing about rugby. However, ultimately it feels hard to earnestly recommend this show to anyone except maybe someone who wants a rugby show filled with pretty boys and doesn’t really care about animation quality in the first place.
Tom: If you’re absolutely dying for a sports series with the female viewer in mind I’d still stay well away and clear. Try Knights, at its core, is perfectly serviceable, if cliched. But the anime’s production chips away at whatever is worth watching. I saw comments online speculating that this was rushed into production because Japan plays host to the Rugby World Cup this year, and I wouldn’t doubt that being the case. Not only are the visuals lackluster, but Try Knights as a series is barely a year old, and if Wikipedia is to be believed with little more than two collected volumes ready to be adapted. Whatever the case may be, if you’re actually enthralled by Try Knights’ tropey, cliched premise, or perhaps just dying for more Rugby anime and manga, you’re better off waiting for a Western release of the manga, as the anime is just too rushed and visually disappointing to appreciate.
Try Knights is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.