Futsal is such an interesting sport, basically a distilled version of soccer in an indoor arena with more emphasis on speedy reactions and technical skills with the ball. Sports anime have been all the rage the last few years, with titles like Haikyuu!! and Free! garnering large audiences. Soccer anime has been a popular part of the sports anime genre. Big titles like Captain Tsubasa inspired a new generation of players in Japan and more niche hits like Days TV, building a cult following. Futsal has finally received the anime treatment with the adaptation of Futsal Boys!!!!! which has brought the indoor game to the high school arena.
Futsal Boys!!!!! follows Haru Yamato, who has never had an interest in futsal before but after watching Japanese player Tokinari Tennoji compete at the U-18 World Cup, prompts him to join the high school futsal club. The typical underdog story is a premise familiar to sports anime, a rookie joining a new club with a veteran player to begin a journey of competing against established teams. However, Futsal Boys!!!!! fails to deliver on this hype as our core cast of characters gets minimal build-up in terms of development, remaining at a surface level with little exploration of their motivations or deep thoughts. In addition, no one throughout the anime mentions soccer, which is usually how most people get into playing futsal in the first place, illustrating the lack of effort put into developing character motivation giving the audience little reason to be invested in our leading team. The hype was there for a gripping sports anime, but the flat characters have left Futsal Boys!!!!! fans disappointed.
The art has not helped Futsal Boys!!!!! with the graphics for the anime showcasing a colourful cast of characters, but when it comes to the animation and fluidity of futsal being played, it's clear no references to actual futsal were made. Technically, the animation and art are fine for a sports anime, never reaching the heights of a series like Free but not being jarring to put the audience off the anime. However, the lack of technicality renders the action scenes, the pinnacle of sports anime, dull and uninteresting. This means Futsal Boys!!!!! has a cast that the fans can’t get invested in because they lack development and action scenes that lack finesse in comparison to the energy of the characters, causing the anime to fall flat on all fronts.
Futsal Boys!!!!! is not going to do for futsal what Haikyuu!! did for volleyball, and as part of a multimedia project for a mobile game, it is unsurprising, to say the least. Maybe one day there will be an anime that pushes futsal to the front of sports anime, but this one is not it, sadly. So, what did you think of Futsal Boys!!!!!? Did the show meet your expectations, or did it fall flat? Let us know in the comments!