SK8 the Infinity is a Winter 2021 original anime produced by Studio Bones and directed by Hiroko Utsumi, who is best known for her work on Free! and the anime adaptation of Banana Fish. It’s a vibrant, exciting story about a secret skateboarding competition called “S”, where people from all different backgrounds come together to wear flamboyant outfits and race down dangerous mountain roads like some kind of amazing cross between ‘80s underground gay clubs and Initial D.
Our two protagonists, passionate veteran skater Reki and Canadian snowboarder/newbie skateboarder Langa, grow close in no time at all and have more than enough homoerotic moments for us to believe that it might be possible for them to pull a Yuri on Ice and make it official by the end of the series. Let’s examine the evidence!
Their Chemistry is Outstanding
Reki and Langa may have only met a short while ago, but they act like they’ve known each other for years. After Langa’s impressive snowboarding stunts during his first S race cause Reki to “see snow in Okinawa”, Reki pours his heart into teaching Langa the fundamentals of skateboarding and even makes Langa a unique board that plays to his strengths. They casually eat lunch together at school while watching skating videos (adorably passing the ketchup between them by putting it on a board and nudging it with their feet), beg the manager of the skate shop where Reki works to take on Langa as well, and aren’t afraid to share their honest feelings with each other when it’s important. These could all just be the traits of good friends, but their touchy-feely interactions and the lingering looks they give each other in emotional scenes make us think that something more substantial might happen in later episodes.
The Anime Has Dropped So Many Hints
Apart from the parallels between S and underground gay clubs (which are strongest in scenes with the older founding members, two of whom constantly act like a bickering married couple) and Reki and Langa’s own chemistry, SK8 the Infinity has dropped plenty of hints that the two may grow to be more than friends. The scene where Reki begs Langa not to skate against the dangerous and predatory Adam has conspicuously rainbow-colored curtains in a flashback and holds a long shot on the hibiscus flowers in the park while Langa is talking – hibiscus flowers mean “gentle” in Japanese flower language and represent Okinawa itself, so the shot underscores the gentle relationship between Canadian Langa and Okinawan Reki.
The anime’s ED, “Infinity” by Yuuri, also reads like a love song from Reki to Langa – featuring lyrics like “I’ll think of you as my other self for the rest of my life” and “I’ll always have you in my heart” – plus, the palm trees swaying in the breeze have the same colors and height difference that they do. And if you think this anime can’t have any good LGBT representation because Adam is a negative stereotype of a gay man, we’d like to point out that Adam is essentially a giant homage to Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (he even has the same voice actor), a series that has more gay subtext/text than pretty much any other anime in existence. If JoJo (and Banana Fish, for that matter) can have both good and evil gay characters, then so can SK8 the Infinity.
We’re prepared to be completely wrong here, especially if higher-ups in the anime’s production pipeline don’t like the idea of the protagonists of a masculine-ish skateboarding anime being a couple. But if Reki and Langa do get together, then let the record show that we absolutely called it!
What did you think of our analysis? Do you think Reki and Langa stand a chance of becoming a couple? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!