All-Out!! had some bad luck last season. Premiering in October of 2016, it had some fierce competition in the sports genre with both the hotly anticipated third season of Haikyuu and the breakout hit of the year, YURI on Ice!! However, that didn’t stop All-Out!! from developing a loyal cult following of viewers who eagerly anticipated its release week to week. What set it apart from its peers was just how raw it felt. So many sports anime lean on a big end goal as the driving force of its central characters that they tend to forget why they’re on the team in the first place. All-Out!! takes a different approach. Instead, reaching Hanazono (Japan’s national high school rugby tournament) is treated more as a side note and we learn about why each player needs Jinko High School’s rugby team as their support system.
Naturally, this character-driven focus combined with the nature of sports battle anime gives us a lot of in-depth looks at relationships between guys who’d do anything for one another. And what’s more inspiring than watching guys overcome their personal issues together? It’s a series filled with awesome characters to inspire us. So, with that in mind, we thought it’d be fun for us to countdown the ten coolest characters in All-Out!!
10. Renpei Sakura
No one quite understands Renpei. He’s been talented at rugby his whole life, but he’s never managed to play on a team that ever really wants to take it seriously. Whenever his team starts to fail, Renpei has to start picking up the slack, and then everyone starts calling him toxic just because he expects more out of everyone around him. Eventually, though, Tenjiku will have to stop leaning on Renpei’s talent and actually do things for themselves. Maybe then, Renpei will find it in him to start working harder.
While he can come off as being holier-than-thou at times, few care as much about rugby as Renpei. He might justify his decision to give up during Tenjiku’s game with Jinko as him not wanting to exert the effort during a practice match, but the truth of the matter is he understands his own talents better than anyone. He knows he’s great, and he’s frustrated that no one else he ever gets to play with can stand on his level. Rather, they think he’s strange for being so good. It gives him that brooding renegade charm that we so love in our sports anime rivals.
9. Kirishima Sekito
Sekito’s a dork. We’re not sure if we can even be any blunter about that fact. The guy got into rugby because he’s a massive otaku, and his waifu from his favorite anime, Magical Rinrin, said she likes strong guys. But that one off-hand comment by an animated magical girl sets Sekito on a journey of self-improvement, training specifically in rugby because his twin brother is a star player and knows how strong someone can get just training in the sport.
In spite of everything against him, Sekito somehow manages to become a star player of Ryujin despite never playing before high school. You’ve got to give him credit: for as seemingly insipid a reason he had for getting involved with playing, he had a goal and stuck with it. Not only that, but he’s the leading ladies man of the series to boot, with the girls of Ryujin coming out to their practices specifically to cheer for him. Sekito’s the kind of guy who proves that when you set your mind to it, you can even go beyond what you originally set out to do!
8. Hachioji Mutsumi
We’re not sure if shame exists in Mutsumi’s vocabulary. Upon meeting fellow classmate Sekizan for the first time, Mutsumi immediately tells him that he’s got a great build for rugby and should absolutely join the rugby team. Rather than just letting it go when Sekizan refuses, like, you know, a normal person would; Mutsumi instead harasses Sekizan daily to join the team, coming up with different ways to coax Sekizan into finally joining. At one point, he even goes so far as to bribe his sister to write a confession of love that ends with her saying that he’d be especially good at a sport like rugby.
But, it’s this devotion to rugby that eventually wins over Sekizan, and right then and there it’s easy to see why Mutsumi is so cool. Even before he entered high school, he understood that all he really wanted to do was play rugby. How many of us knew that about ourselves when we were that young? But Mutsumi knows exactly what he wants, and will stop at nothing to get it. It’s that level of persistence that really defines his character, and we can’t help but love him for that.
7. Ousaka Sunao
Sunao has looked up to Renpei his entire life. He envies Renpei’s sheer talent and ability to distance himself from anyone because of it. Because of that devotion, Sunao tends to find himself playing mediator between Renpei and the rest of Tenjiku. However, when it looks like all hope is lost, and when the entire team is falling apart, Sunao is forced to tell off Renpei for being such a prick, so that he can rally the rest of team and get them fired up for a comeback against the unexpectedly fierce Jinko team.
While natural athletic ability is certainly impressive, what’s even more impressive is the ability to rally people who already feel defeated. Maybe Sunao didn’t even realize it before Tenjiku went up against Jinko, but he certainly possesses this particular talent. His sheer passion overwhelms the rest of Tenjiku so that they can’t help but get their minds back in the fight. But what truly makes Sunao courageous is how he was able to stand up to his own idol in Renpei. Calling out your best friend takes real guts, which earns Sunao major points in our book.
6. Gion Kenji
Who could ever guess that this living embodiment of manic energy itself could harbor such a sad past? Poor Gion has grown up short his entire life. At first, his insecurity over his height seems more like a silly personality quirk more than anything else. However, as it turns out, Gion’s older brothers really gave him crap over his tiny stature growing up and would refuse to even play with him because they thought he would just hold them back in a game. Now, Gion harbors resentment towards those bigger than him, and loves to play rugby just because it gives him the chance to overpower players who may tower over him!
True to what his backstory might suggest, Gion’s cool in the same way your goober of a younger brother is. He’s way too earnest, and thinks he can get away with more than he probably should. Still, after he gets over some of his own insecurities about his height, he does develop a very real love of rugby and tries just about everything he can to get better at the game. His childlike wonder for the game gives him unbridled enthusiasm that’s infectious, and it’s hard not to root for him.
5. Etsugo Ooharano
Ooharano is Jinko’s resident genius stand-off. Every moment he’s on the field, Ooharano seems totally in control of the situation. He’s just got this air of superiority surrounding him at all times, suggesting this is a guy who’s got it all figured out. Even when teammates confront him about how frustrated they are that they can’t play nearly as well as him, Ooharano simply suggests that they try experimenting with new positions and gives them advice for how to go forward.
And yet… there’s something nagging at him. Believe it or not, Ooharano doesn’t really like rugby. He actually hates his own talent, because it ended up scaring away his brother Tatsu from the sport, as Ooharano would get chosen over him every single time they were put into games as kids. Now Tatsu resents Ooharano and the game that he once loved. Rather than pity his situation, Ooharano instead chooses to play rugby so that he might one day reignite his brother’s desire to enter the pitch once again. That level of honor and devotion that Ooharano feels towards his brother is just irresistibly cool.
4. Zanba Ryujin
All sports anime need a figure that’s so incredibly talented that defeating them seems like a Herculean feat. And, while Ryujin is hyped to be that character when he’s first introduced, we really don’t get to see him show off until the very final episode of the series. But when he struts out onto the pitch like he came straight out of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, you immediately realize just how truly intimidating Ryujin is. This is a guy who oozes confidence with style to spare.
But what really makes Ryujin stand-out is his genuine passion for rugby. Way too often in sports series do we see opponents with god-like talents and ability who have grown completely out of touch with others and just like to use their abilities to humiliate others. Ryujin, on the other hand, complements the entirety of the Jinko team for actually trying to fight against him despite knowing they had no chance. He actually gets sick of opponents who just give up once they realize they’re no match and appreciates Jinko’s earnestness.
3. Ebumi Masaru
Ebumi’s the type of guy you’d be glad is on your side if you were playing with him. He’s absolutely merciless and condescending in his nature, someone who loves to dig deep in your personal fears and throw them right back at you. During a game with Sagami High School, one of the leading schools of the district, we even see Ebumi knock one of their players clean off their feet. Rather than just leaving it at that, though, he then helps his victim put their helmet back on, telling him very mockingly that he wants him protected for the next time he tackles him, naturally terrifying the poor sap even further.
Underneath that violent front Ebumi puts up though is a shockingly insightful and kindhearted kid. Rugby provides a healthy environment for him to take out the anger he harbors from having a family that’s simply not present in Ebumi’s life. When push comes to shove, he’d do anything for any of the members of the club, and realizes that he has pretty much no future in store for him. He even goes so far as to give fellow teammate Ise a whopping 100,000 yen just so he can attend the team’s training camp in Sugadaira! While intimidating at first, once you get to know him, Ebumi’s the ultimate bro.
2. Komori Shingo
In the shadow of every great team, there’s an even better coach who’s prepping the players to achieve what they never thought possible before. For Jinko, Komori Shingo is just that type of leader. And thank goodness Gion found his rugby blog and had the foresight to ask him to coach their team. Without Komori’s centered guidance and fatherly presence, none of the Jinko crew would have even hoped to stand-up to big name teams like Tenjiku and Ryoin. All-Out makes it pretty clear that he’s just as much a part of the team as any of its players.
We realize that Komori stands out from pretty much every other character on the list due to his age. He’s not exactly the type of guy you’re going to be writing your next self-insert fanfiction about. However, Komori more than meets our requirements for this list. He’s like your stoic grandfather who’s seen the world and just wants to pass on his wisdom onto the next generation. Komori is entirely at peace with who he is, and that’s what makes him so great.
1. Sekizan Takuya
To be honest, Sekizan never thought he’d end up in rugby. He always loved sports, of course, but he only saw them as a means of self-improvement. On his first day of high school, however, he was approached by Hachioji Mutsumi, who would not leave him alone about joining the school’s rugby team. Not wanting to waste his time with a team that clearly had no aspirations or desires to put forth any effort, Sekizan naturally declined the invitation. However, when he saw just how devoted Mutsumi was to the game, and not just trying to bolster the team’s ranks, he finally relinquished. Now, in his final year at Jinko, he somehow ended up as the captain of the team!
Even from a young age, Sekizan had one goal in mind: training. He embodies the concept of “devotion”, whether it’s to his own pursuits and getting stronger and stronger, or to his own team. He’s the kind of guy who’d do anything to keep his team together, like offering to reduce the intensity of practices when teammate Keta has to leave because their too tough. He doesn’t just want to become better himself, but is actively working towards growing into a leadership position. Though Sekizan isn’t quite there, that only makes him more relatable and understandable when he messes up and needs Komori to guide him. He’s a true man, not just because he’s overly boisterous or stoic, but because he can actually be vulnerable and still come out on top.
Hopefully, if you haven’t already seen All-Out, this list may have pushed you towards checking out some of these cool fellows. And if you have seen it, great! Did we mention your favorites? Miss anyone important? Please, let us know in the comments below!