Sports anime fans, we know your woes. When is Haikyuu coming back?? When will we get more wholesome characters to love?? Have no fear as Bakuten!! provides both the boys and the backflips you didn’t know you needed in your life. It’s technical enough to give you stuff to learn while still telling an engaging story. Let’s take a look at how men’s gymnastics might just be your next obsession!
We’ve got some great recognizable voice talent with Daisuke Ono, Saitou Souma, Murase Ayumu, and more! And beyond their adored voices, Backflip!!’s main cast is a wonderful balance of relatable and refreshing. Young hopeful Shoutarou is ambitious but not an immediate legend. His inspiration may not be felt by everyone but his excitement in the face of his first real passion is easily understood. The senpai gymnastic club members are all good, funny guys who value teamwork. Even the new ace Ryouya who seems like he could be a cold jerk is just a quiet, serious guy willing to do his best on his new team. You can’t help but love everyone!
Koutarou is perhaps the funniest character with his inability to not talk like a pissed-off yankee even if he’s not mad. He’s naturally intimidating but his reactions aren’t blown out of proportion for added comedy so you can’t even take his supposed anger seriously. This helps demonstrate him more as an awkward guy who finds a channel for his passion and intensity through gymnastics instead of a tough bully who doesn’t care about teams. Masamune’s emphatic use of onomatopoeias is another fun addition to the otherwise normal dialogue.
Nice Guys, Nicer Animation!
While you have your standard fare cute anime boys, you’ll be impressed with the lovely animation. Backflip!! switches from 3D to 2D as needed even in the midst of gymnastic routines. Scenes will utilize 3D for the fast-paced, intricate gymnastics interspersed with 2D to highlight beads of sweat or an elegant arm reach after a quickly executed combination. Even the sparkles on their outfits shimmer and shine differently with the gymnasts’ movements making it feel like you’re actually watching a live routine!
So Far, So Good
While only three episodes in, we’ve got a few moments of what we can call drama without the frustrating feelings of pointless mistakes or misunderstandings. The flow is very calm from one scene to the next leaving you feeling glad when something is accomplished. You won’t be hanging off the edge of your seat, but there’s something special about not having to deal with any crazy, unrealistic situations and instead just concentrate on the sport. There are a few mysteries already set to be uncovered but it doesn’t feel like we’ll be hurt. Instead, our interest is piqued and we’re ready to learn more!
For only two episodes in, Backflip!! is shaping up to be a great sports anime. It’s nice to see a newbie come in without a special ability or aptitude from the sport and just have to learn and practice like us normal folk! Plus the lack of antagonistic negativity is a breath of fresh air. Everyone is just getting along and learning about each other in a happy, healthy way while still being individually engaging.