It’s another season of anime and MAPPA has given us a new foray into the medium’s ever-growing list of sports series, this time tackling gymnastics with the aptly named Gymnastics Samurai! But has this anime-original flipped its way into our hearts already? Let’s explore Taisou Zamurai with our impressions of the first two episodes!
Coming into the series expecting something a lot more serious based on the trailer, The Gymnastics Samurai has already been surprising in how laid back and often goofy it is and that’s largely thanks to its colorful cast. The titular “samurai” himself, Jotaro, isn’t too out there beyond some spaciness but we have an illegal immigrant ninja named Leonardo, aggressively campy acupuncturist doctor Britney, Jotaro’s fabulous mother Mari, and even the frankly somewhat unsettling and obnoxiously weird talking bird BB! Sure, the core characters are still mostly serious but this playfulness and eccentricity really adds a lot to the flow of the show without making it so over the top to take away the weight from the show's big moments which segues nicely into our next section.
Solid Start at Serious Storytelling
While we definitely liked the lighter moments, The Gymnastics Samurai has already laid out its intentions on also being a serious celebration of gymnastics through the compelling story of Jotaro’s last chance at making it big in the sport so he can support his family. Driven by the love for his deceased wife and adorably spunky daughter Rei, the single dad has to overcome the effects of aging and injury for the last chance at success. In the first two episodes we’ve already seen him stumble in some major lows after being told to retire by his coach multiple times but has shown a newfound determination to think things through and rely somewhat on others, putting some significant momentum towards the next episodes.
Solid Opening and Ending Themes
While obviously not the most crucial part of a series, we’d be remiss to not to mention the opening and ending themes. Both stand out with their music and colorful visuals, particularly the opening which is exploding with neon and fun moments like the characters dancing and singing along with the music, spelling out "Taiso" with their bodies, uhh, gymnastically, and even a reference to Blind Melon’s iconic No Rain music video with Rei’s dancing bee outfit?!?! Not to mention the Japanified Americana highway signs. While it’s not clear what this all means at this point, these visual elements have definitely got us excited for what’s down the road for The Gymnastics Samurai!
If we’ve learned anything from its first two episodes it’s that The Gymnastics Samurai is full of surprises while still feeling true to the spirit of sports anime. We definitely didn’t expect a foreign ninja running away from secret agents or a bizarrely intelligent talking bird in this gymnastics anime but we’re glad they’re here and can’t wait for more!
Until next time, be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise and let us know what you think of The Gymnastics Samurai so far in the comments section below! See ya~!