I’ve never been much of a sports anime fan, due to my lack of interest in sports. I grew up never watching any sports, unlike most people living in the United States. So, when introduced to the genre of sports anime, I had a hard time finding ones I liked. The first one I watched was Free! and I thought it was alright, but I never got into it much. Next my friend showed me Kuroko no Basuke, but I only got through six episodes. Next came Yuri on Ice, which like everyone else, I loved. So, I decided to give sports anime another chance. I found Prince of Stride when scrolling through Twitter, since I follow Funimation’s page, and they were advertising the BluRay of it. I thought the art looked nice, and I recognized some voice actors in it, so I gave it a go.
I ended up liking it quite a bit, actually. I felt that the concept of the sport was interesting, since stride is not a real sport. It’s much like track or cross country, but mixed with parkour and some acrobatics and set up like a relay race. The way it is set up is: there are five runners on a team, and each runner is placed at a designated spot on the track. There is another position, someone called a relationer, who watches each runner’s location on a map, and tells them when to start running through their earpiece. The runner will run to the next runner’s location, give a high five, so then the next runner will begin running. This goes until the last runner, the anchor, makes it to the finish line. Along the track there are obstacles the runner must make it over, making it more challenging.
Something I really liked about this show was the fact that all of the teams were somewhat friendly to each other. The main team is Honan, and their closest competitor is a school called Saisei. The two teams become quite close after competing against each other and a joint practice over spring break. Some of the members become really
close friends, which was nice to see, even though they knew they would be competing to attend the final race, called the End of Summer. The other teams shown throughout the show also try to be friendly, though some do a better job of it than others. I think the way each team treats the other teams depends on how they treat each other.
The dynamic between the teammates on the Honan team is interesting as well. It is clear they all get along better with certain people, as is true with most groups of friends. Hozumi and Ayumu get along well, Heath and Kyosuke get along well, and Riku, Takeru, and Nana get along well, in most cases. This is due to how long they’ve known each other
and the chemistry between them. Hozumi and Ayumu were members of the club when it wasn’t the stride club. I’ll discuss why later. Heath and Kyosuke previously were in the stride club together, until Kyosuke left due to an “accident.” And though Riku and Takeru tend to fight a lot, they seem to be fairly close. The last couple episodes goes more in depth with their relationship in the past. Nana was one who had come to Honan purely for the stride club, and when seeing Riku run so he would get to school on time, she convinced him to join the club.
They all have to work together to perform well in their stride matches, and something the show focuses on a lot is the growing relationship between the boys and Nana. In all honesty, I think the show is more about working together as a team than actually winning stride competitions, which was nice for me. And each race only lasts a portion of an episode, which is refreshing from the sports anime and fighting anime that makes matches last multiple episodes.
This was my problem with other sports anime. When trying to watch Kuroko, I got annoyed that one game lasted for like three episodes. These races were short and sweet, I could fully pay attention to the sport and was actually invested in it.
Now, to explain the origin of this club. The Honan stride team was famous for its victories, and when Nana had seen the footage of previous teams winning, she knew she wanted to be a part of that team when she entered high school. And before coming to the school, it had been going strong, until so many quit and it almost went under. When Nana, Riku, and Takeru went to join the club as first years, they found Heath, Ayumu, and Hozumi in the room, but they were not called the stride club. It had been transformed into the stride/shogi club, but for the time being, it was only the shogi club, since there were not enough members for a stride club. But, when Nana, Riku, and Takeru joined, they had enough, they only needed a coach. And after obtaining one, the stride team was reborn.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. It makes me want to give more sports animes a chance, since I know almost, if not all, have that friendship and teamwork I liked in this show. Of course, it has its flaws, but it was well done and enjoyable. And I haven’t even talked about the art in this show. Because I have you know, it is absolutely gorgeous. Especially the backgrounds. The opening sequence is probably the most visually pleasing, using some interesting colors for linework. It somewhat reminds me of the aesthetic that the Noragami openings created. I just love it far too much. I’ll leave a link to it so you can experience it for yourself. Even if you have no interest in the show.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review, and maybe you want to watch this beautiful show.
Announcement: I have nearly 50 followers now! A little over a year ago, I started this blog with no hopes of it picking up. I figured nobody would want to listen to a teenage girl’s anime rants, but you all have proven me wrong, and I can’t be any more grateful for sticking with me. Thank you all!
Follow me on Twitter @letstalkanime1