SK8 is a recent Winter release that has charmed those who watched it from the very first episode. With three episodes already in the books, there is a lot to unpack from this rollercoaster of a show. Let’s take a look at what exactly SK8 does right when appealing to new viewers.
Right from the start, the first thing we as new viewers will see when watching a new show is the animation quality. Luckily, SK8 was clearly given the budgetary requirements to indulge its inner Tony Hawk fantasy, as the show wastes no time in exploding onto our screen with gloriously fluid animation. While the stills of characters speaking perhaps is not as animated as a big-budget movie, the detail expressed on the movement of characters when skateboarding, is positively breathtaking.
The first big race between Shadow and Langa at the end of the first episode was incredible to see play out. The detail in drifts performed by both skaters, the brief cuts to Langa’s snowboarding history, and the medley of tricks and grinds on display must have taken some serious manpower to ensure they came off as authentic as possible. It’s easy for sports anime to miss the mark on some of the more detail-oriented aspects of the sport. SK8 however, goes above and beyond to provide skating veterans and newcomers to the sport, a realistic portrayal of both the dangers and gnarly tricks that can be performed.
Cre8ive Music Choices
The first opening to SK8 really sets the tone for things to come. Groovy bops that you just can’t help but bop your head to as you jam along with Reki and Langa dancing over their skateboards. It’s fun, it’s lighthearted, it perfectly sets the tone for the kind of show SK8 wants to be. Then, we are introduced to the more bombastic tracks that play over the skateboarding races themselves.
As Langa races towards the finish line during his first fight against Shadow, an eclectic banger blasts out behind all of Langa’s death-defying stunts. Then, during his race with the child prodigy Miya, the mood changes to a more subdued and funky riff complete with drums and electric guitars. SK8 is all about the aesthetic and these varied, yet still on-brand, music tracks only add to the stellar animation quality.
Underr8ed Character Development
With an anime like SK8 - so clearly wanting to brand itself as a skating anime in both style and substance, it’s interesting just how much thought was put into making these characters both likable and relatable. Langa reveals early on that the reason he moved to Okinawa from Canada was that his father passed away. Like, can you please not, Langa? Just do a radical kickflip for me and save all the heartache for the OVA! He also goes into great detail about how he wants a part-time in order to help his struggling single mother pay the bills. Just...just do an ollie Langa, for crying out loud…
Reki has yet to receive a character arc yet or any form of backstory. For the moment, he is stuck playing second fiddle behind Langa, as the dopy but loveable teacher and craftsman that he is. However, seeing his passion for skating through his words and actions is very moving. It’s clear that skating has a huge impact on his life and future ambitions so it will be interesting to see where these passions stem from in the near future. Not only are these characters littered with a deep and emotion-filled personality, but they are also not afraid to embrace their inner class clown. Langa seems to be the broody type at first but lets loose under Reki’s guidance to provide some hilarious moments of comedy (him pushing himself down the hill during the first episode for example).
Overall, SK8 seems to be a solid contender for high ranking Winter anime. It doesn’t break any boundaries with regards to storytelling or unique characters but it leans into that to provide a thoroughly entertaining experience. SK8 is fun, there is no other way to describe it. From the moment the theme song starts blaring, you know that you’re going to be in for a wild ride. Let us know what you think of SK8 down below!