Ginga e Kickoff!! (2012-2013)

Hi,

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There’s so much variety and genres in the animation world. One that hasn’t been posted by me is in the “sports” category and I’m going to do that with what I feel it’s a special one: “Ginga e Kickoff!”, produced by TYO Animations, directed by Kōnosuke Uda and originally seen in Japan from 7th April 2012 to 26th February 2013 in a grand total of 39 episodes

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General plot: the story is essentially divided in two phases. In the first half of the series, we follow Shou Oota (the main character of the series)‘s steps in reuniting as many members of the latest Momoyama Predators soccer team as well as getting new ones for the regional championship of their city

Besides him, some of the team members include two newcomers: energetic and full of life Erika Takato, large and kind Reika Saionji, as well as six returners: the “Triplet Demons” known as Kota (the fired up one when it comes to soccer), Ryuuji (the feisty and rebelious one) and Ouzou (the calm and intelligent one) Furuya and the three members with the capital “U” in their surnames: Yuto UkishimaKei Uchimura and Taro Uematsu . And also an ideal coach to set their dreams alight: former professional soccer player Masaru Hanashima

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The second half happens after the regional championship: by this time, the Momoyama Predators team are now reduced to 6 members (Shou, Erika, the Furuya triplets and Reika (the latter undertook a strict diet off-screen and came back to the series, some episodes after the second half begun, thiner) and a new ambition is right ahead of them (a participation in the Galaxia Cup, a 8-player soccer tournament held in Spain, as Japan‘s representants)

After a few episodes of searching new members, two characters completed at last the team’s formation (as seen in the opening of every episode of the show): prodigy Takuma Aoto Gonzalez (formerly a member of Heavenly FC) and his close friend Tagi Sugiyama (who had left soccer due to loss of confidence for his constant errors in terms of goalkeeping movements (when a child becomes a teenager, the body starts to grow, something Tagi felt afraid for). For Takuma, going to the Galaxia Cup and to Spain would be a dream come true (although his number one country is still Argentina (his favourite player is legendary argentinian player Diego Maradona) and also a chance to see his absent father again

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My opinion: one of the strengths of the series is the story. It may not be the dramatic tour de force that “Captain Tsubasa” was or might not have the powered-up visually spectacular soccer as “Inazuma Eleven”, but it’s all handled so beautifully in a realistic way that can be related to people around the ages of the main principal and secondary characters

On this series, it doesn’t matter if they win or lose (although, to a certain point, we root for them to win): what counts the most are the team’s relationships between each other and, to a lesser extent, the strong bond made with their coach Hanashima. Their personal stories, when necessary, are nicely told as well (I liked, for example, Shou‘s story (halfway into the series) in the past when he was actually a shy and crybaby as opposed to the loud and positive character he became)

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The animation is much like most anime series of its light (non-adult or non-mature) type, but doesn’t stop it from being slick and well structured, while the music sets very well the mood of the scenes

A big strength of the series are the characters themselves: it’s one of those series in which we have, for example, a main team with such appealing and likeable characters. My favourite character of the series is, without a shadow of a doubt, Takuma: although he’s small for his age, he’s cool and he’s half-japanese and half-spanish, he had quite a indifferent personality that, little by little, toned down mostly thanks to his interaction with the other Predators members (aside from his longtime friend Tagi). I believe, at least, that he had the biggest development out of the other main characters, psychologically-wise. And, of course, his expertise in soccer is totally skillful

The voice acting sure is an extra strength for “Ginga e Kickoff!!” and it can be summed in just two words: rightful casting. Kudos to Yuu Kobayashi for voicing Shou the main character (in a time when she was voicing Kirino in the sequel of the other soccer anime I was talking about, “Inazuma Eleven (GO!)”. It’s a challenge to make one voice different from another current/a previous acting job, but she did it pretty well); Kenn for voicing one of the Furuya triplets, Kota (a revelation, without a doubt); Mariko Nakatsu for giving an exciting flavour to Erika; Kyousuke Ikeda for his sensitive approach to Tagi… and, of course, to Kokoro Kikuchi for voicing Takuma (totally cute, just perfect for such a character)

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All in all, one of the best “soccer” animes I’ve ever seen since “Captain Tsubasa” and “Inazuma Eleven” (and its franchise). Recommending it to all anime and non-anime fans… and also to soccer fans

A last treat:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

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Posted on 15 de October de 2013, in Anime. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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