Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Giant Killing - Episode 1

Having just watched Manchester United dumped out of the Champions League to remove the sour taste of my own Arsenal being thrashed by Barcelona, what better time to watch the opening episode of the spring season's football-themed Giant Killing? Yes, that's right, we will be calling it football here too... None of your "soccer" nonsense in this 'blog.

Funnily enough, Giant Killing actually kicks off in England, as it wonders over the marvels of the FA Cup, the place where you could argue that the giant-killing tradition began, seeing huge teams pitted against small ones with occasionally surprising results. In the game we witness some of, we see a small team managed by a Japanese named Takeshi Tatsumi take on the mighty (well, mightily bankrupt) Portsmouth in a big cup tie.

This then takes us back to Japan, and East Tokyo United, a team who appear to be on a downward spiral of poor results, ever-changing managers and an increasingly apathetic (or just plain angry) support. In need of drastic action, Tatsumi returns to his former club in a new role as manager, but with many fans unable to forgive him for abandoning the club for a lucrative deal abroad can he really turn things around upon his return home?

While it's difficult to really predict how compelling this series will manage to make its story (how that story will pan out is pretty obvious from the outset), just the fact that I'm sat here watching a football-themed anime warms the cockles of my heart. Thankfully, this opener also feels like an effort penned by genuine football fans too, managing to capture the fickle nature of both board and supporters as well as some of the magic of the game and the players you can't help but idolise in the process. This feeling of relative authenticity helps to paper over the slightly sluggish pace of the episode as it builds up its scenario, which is hopefully something that will become a non-issue once we start to get a focus on actual games and on-field politics - Either way, it's a pretty nicely animated affair which certainly has potential, so maybe Giant Killing can be this season's giant killer in the midst of K-ON! and Angel Beats?


JW said...

This anime is great. Love the characters the animation. I really identify with this story, being from a college town where the local sports are worshipped as gods. A losing streak is met with the same handwringing response as drought, famine, and plague.

Anyone who can fix that is sure to be an idol. Go Team! :)

Kexiu said...

You forgot the extra exclaimation mark for K-on!!

Felicity said...

Wah, this slipped by me! I will definitely need to check out a couple of episodes at least, if only to reconnect with my long-lost ex-pat heritage (by watching a Japanese cartoon about football??)