What’s it about? As a child, Riku Haruma loved nothing more than playing rugby, and dreamed of someday becoming a professional player. But as he grew and it became apparent that he would always have a slight build, those dreams slipped away. Now he’s in high school, getting good grades but without any goals or sense of direction. One day, he happens to see Akira Kariya playing rugby, and gives him advice on his form. Now, Kariya won’t stop following him around!
That’s right, friends. Here it is, the final premiere review, after every other show has had its three-episode guide entry. It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that this review will not be joyous, singing Try Knights’ praises to the heavens. Nor will it be hilariously negative, tearing apart the show’s flaws for your savage enjoyment.
No, it will be me desperately searching for something, anything to say about an episode as thoroughly forgettable as this one.
“Production by Gonzo” may be one of the greatest harbingers of doom in the anime industry these days. Their adaptation of 7 SEEDS was a complete disaster, with terrible pacing and janky animation even after a two-month delay. Although it was never officially announced that Try Knights was delayed, the lack of a release date until the summer season was already well underway didn’t really inspire faith.
And lo and behold, Try Knights is totally boring and the animation looks like it was produced over a decade ago. The characters’ faces have that kind of semi-melted look where the features don’t quite fit onto their faces that’s usually reserved for long-distance shots, but this time in closeup. When they’re supposed to be running, they mostly stay in one spot with speed lines around them to show that no, they’re totally moving fast!
There’s exactly one moment that I remember from the episode. When Riku says he wants to play a game of rugby, the club members laugh. “You’re not built for rugby!” one of them says. “Rugby is for beefcakes, like us!” Y’all, this boy had the exact same build as Riku. In fact, everyone in this goddamn show does. There’s nothing to sell the idea that Riku can’t play just because he lost the genetic lottery, other than him being slightly shorter than the others.
If you’re going to have a sports anime that hinges on a character having the “wrong” build, you have to actually put some effort into it! All good sports anime display a variety of body types and frames – Haikyuu, The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays, Free!, and even Run with the Wind. It’s more believable and adds visual interest, especially for the fujoshi audience. Instead, Try Knights throws a dozen near-identical slender bishounen at us and expects us to just believe that Riku is totally slight while the rest of them are beefy strong boys.
WHERE ARE MY STRONG BEEFY BOYS. THIS IS RUGBY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. GIVE ME MY STRONG BEEFY BOYS.
Sorry, I’m going to watch Fire Force for a minute…
Anyway, there’s no women in Try Knights, so it’s not much for feminist content. Will there be a female manager who doesn’t do anything except stand around and motivate the boys? Maybe. It’s a sports anime after all. But I don’t really care enough to stick around and find out.
Try Knights, your name misled me.