What makes a Sports anime a Sports anime nowadays? Is it truly one if it’s based on any sport and takes it from there? Sure, but not quite so. Sports anime has evolved over the years to what is well-known now, no longer following the same formula it did in the past. Everything said, there is indeed a new formula in practice.
Bakuten!! (Backflip!!) aired in the Spring 2021 anime season. Being the newest original sports anime to be released this year, can we be sure that it follows the formula? Let’s take a look at it together!
The Vibrant Set of… Hair Colors
What would you say is the first quality needed to be a Sports anime protagonist? As this genre follows countless characters, we need a vibrant design that will help us understand everyone right away. Yes, you guessed it: the hair color! (well, it is the sub-heading). Backflip!! does a fantastic job right off the bat with a defined selection of different hair colors and styles. It is not simply a difference in hues however, it is well known how color can be used to manipulate human perception to a certain extent, the study known as the psychology of color. A fiery red for Shichigahama, a tender pale grey for Tsukidate, a noticeable green for Watari, a bright and cheerful yellow for Onagawa, and of course, the usual brown and black for the freshman duo Futaba and Misato! But hair color by itself is not the only necessary quality to have when speaking about design.
But of Course, Personalities Matter Too!
Oh, the staple personalities, a must! The aloof yet prodigy Misato along with the bubbly and will-never-give-up Futaba pair, the tenacious yet somewhat simple Shichigahama and the warm, mother-like senpai Tsukidate pair, a rare yakuza fan breed Watari and, of course! The idol fanatic Onagawa!!! It is pretty impressive when characters have such defined personalities with hobbies that represent their thoughts and interests best. Apart from the common goal and sport shared, characters deserve a credible lifestyle outside of the sports frame. By getting to know more about their hobbies or what they love, viewers can understand their thoughts and appreciate the various layers they possess.
...It's Time To Get Serious
There is no Sports anime without drama. Character backstories are revealed to add depth to a particular crisis someone is going through, an injury or lack of connection between the members here and there. Yes, it might sound cliché to a certain extent, but we have yet to see a piece of this genre fail to provide enough echo to the struggles the cast goes through (heck, we could say Dive!! even went overboard!). Backflip!! manages a good balance between the humor, the drama, and the heart-warming moments. It keeps the drama concise while still allowing it to develop further the relationships of the characters involved. We have Futaba’s struggle to keep up with the rest as he is no more than a beginner, Onagawa’s self-consciousness when Misato joins the team and replaces him as the ace, Misato’s experience that has rendered him unable to trust his teammates, and once again, Futaba’s injury the day before the regional competition. Characters are explored and allowed to shine the brightest after experiencing hardship. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
A Win Is Not Always A Necessity
We all want our favorite team to win. We want to see the smiles and the accomplishments of those we have supported for far and long. At the same time, we understand why or how a win is not necessarily the best way to portray victory for the characters. It is often precise due to the lack of actual victories that the story can keep moving forward. Yes, as human beings it is encouraged to strive for success, it could be argued that even a certain level of greediness is always necessary. But then again, we believe a victory should be reserved until our favorite characters reach that level until they have constructed their path towards it and are in their best momentum.
We have yet to see first place for the team in Backflip!!, but could the confirmed upcoming movie show us otherwise?
Although there are plenty of themes to touch on, we believe these to be the ones that stand out. As stated before, the formula that has changed in recent years cannot compare to traditional or classical pieces. This is not to say modern Sports anime cannot reach such levels, but simply that times have changed as well as the works produced. Now, anime does not necessarily have to stick to a formula.
With the increase of sports anime in recent and future seasons, we can surely encounter even greater titles. For now, Backflip!! will remain as Spring 2021 anime season’s gem for fans of the genre.
What are your thoughts about the anime? Are you excited about the upcoming movie? Do not hesitate to let us know in the comment section below!