The time has finally come! The first ice hockey anime is here! I didn’t think I’d see this ever happen, my favorite sport become an anime, but here we are! So, how was the opening ep?
Let’s find out!
I’ve been anticipating this show for months now since it was first announced and as the day drew closer, I could feel myself getting more and more excited for it. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I felt this excited for a new anime. I’m sure there was one but at this moment I can’t think of it. It’s been something I’ve always wanted, a hockey anime, and after watching anime for years now I thought it would never happen. But here we are! Somehow we have a hockey anime about cute girls entering the exciting world of ice hockey!
I’m sure it’s easy to tell that I’m a big hockey fan. Living in British Columbia, Vancouver Island to be exact, hockey is a big deal here as it is in most places in Canada. The Vancouver Canucks are the regional favorite team and while they have their ups and downs, I still cheer for them and I’m looking forward to the start of the new season next week. So it goes without saying that hockey has been a part of my life since grade school. For all my passion for hockey, I’ve never actually played ice hockey on a team before in my school days and what’s even funnier is that I can barely skate. Most of my hockey experience comes from street hockey, which I played a lot back in my school days. That was the big thing at school and it was something to look forward to every time recess came around. With that quick personal backstory out of the way, let’s take a look at the lives of these girls as they get their first hands on experience with ice hockey!
I did find it hard to believe Canada would lose like that in a medal game, it’s just not something we do, but anime is anime and stranger things have happened. The opening flash forward showed us the final 45 seconds of a finals game between Japan and Canada, with Japan scoring in the dying seconds to win 5-4. Gotta say that was a nice shot though. What came next was a surprise.
Our girls aren’t just hockey players, they’re also idols. So yes this is a hockey anime but also an idol anime. Seems like at some point every anime becomes an idol anime. I’m not opposed to this aspect of it, I just hope the hockey part is what the majority of the anime is spent on.
The flash forward ends and we’re introduced to our lovable cast of cute girls long before they start their hockey journey. Their origin story starts in the embroidery club doing embroidery activities along with other cute-girl-doing-cute-things activities. Our main girl, Manaka Misuzawa, seems to be part of the student council as she was asked to help put up some fliers, one of them being for a hands on hockey trial put on by the local team, the Dream Monkeys. Sounds like a great chance to get some hockey experience!
We start to get more of the bigger story when we meet Coach Yoko, who has a big ambition of bringing hockey and idols together for the ultimate on ice entertainment experience. Sounds like what happens at every Las Vegas Golden Knights game. Right from the warm up, it’s clear Coach Yoko isn’t hiding what her true intentions are either.
While at the rink our 4 lead girls are joined by 2 others, Riko Saginuma and Naomi Takagi, who seem to be pretty close friends. With the 6 of them on the ice, Coach Yoko goes through a very brief overview of hockey and the key points of how to play. Gotta say it was nice seeing they took the time to show some of the basics too and not breeze over them and onto something else. True there is a lot to know about hockey and I don’t expect them to cover each and every detail about it, but I’m guessing like other sports shows we’ll be shown some basics of the sport and how to play it. Enough that a viewer might be interested in checking it out for themselves at some point. Which I definitely recommend doing because hockey is awesome!
The remainder of the ep is spent with the girls on the ice getting used to stick handling, puck control and passing. I guess it’s a little too early to go into faceoff drills and such. They’re quite unskilled at it so far, but with lots to practice they’ll soon be like they are in that flash forward, playing like true professionals. One of the main girls, Mami Ono, was quite concerned about the possibility of getting hurt while playing, which is totally possible and it’s no secret hockey is a rough sport. But after getting on the ice and getting a feel for it, Mami’s initial fears went away and she was eager to get back out there and play some more. That’s the spirit Mami!
The opening ep gave us a nice overview of what to expect from this show. Cute girls doing cute things, this time playing hockey and being idols. The final scene though shows us a future member of the team, one who presumably isn’t there for a fun time but to win. I’m sure we’ll learn more about this girl in the coming ep and what her story is.
All in all I really liked this opening ep! It was so great to see hockey in anime and I can’t believe it’s taken this long to finally happen. I can totally see myself getting side tracked while reviewing this to talk about hockey and such, but I’ll try my best to stay on topic for the anime. I’m just so happy this is happening!
So what did you think of this first ep? Did it make you just as excited for hockey? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you!
With the start of this review, it’s also important to note that this is the final anime I’ll be reviewing here on Anime Corps as the blog will be closing at the end of the year. As happy as I am to be reviewing this anime, it’s bittersweet as this really is the end for this blog. I’ll save all the sad time for a future post in December but I just wanted to say I’ll really be trying my best with this series to make it my best review to date. Whether or not that’ll actually happen remains to be seen, but I’ll give it my all for this last series review.
Going forward I’ll aim to have new ep reviews out each Wednesday night but if I’m busy or something comes up then I’ll try to have it posted by Thursday. As always you can stay updated on the blog’s Twitter as I’ll post updates there regarding upcoming releases.
That’s it for me, thanks for reading and I’ll see you back here next week!
As always, stay safe and healthy!