In the year 4998 the biggest sporting event is the competition for the title of “Cosmo Beauty” and girls from around the world brutally compete for the chance to represent their respective training academies on the University Satellite.
Clumsy and slightly clueless 16-year-old Akari Kannzaki would love nothing more than to hide away from the world. Unfortunately for Akari, she is the daughter of Midoh Tomoe, the most famous Cosmo Beauty in history. Akari must somehow tap into her athletic abilities to overcome insurmountable odds and achieve victory.
I know you’re thinking that “Cosmo Beauty” is the dumbest title ever and you’re right, it is. But you shouldn’t let that detract from this series because over all, it is wonderful. I have seen a lot of sports movies, but Battle Athletes just makes sports in general look really spectacular and awesome. Especially since the entire second half of the series is set in space, so some of the events are very creative. Zero-gravity lacrosse? Who WOULDN’T play that???
The characters are really great, even the mean ones because they are just so funny you have to love them. There are a couple of hurdles you have to be able to overcome, however. First of all, Akari’s self-esteem is critically low throughout most of the series. She cries a lot and quits every other episode and that can get a bit annoying. But her personality flaws are offset (wonderfully) by the other characters. Every character is competing because they were somehow inspired by Midoh Tomoe and the irony that Akari never even saw her mother run or compete in any sort of sport is poignant.
I really enjoyed the character relationships in this show and how they revolve around Akari, kind of weaving through her life as well as one another’s. The perfectionist Jessie who hates Akari and yet somehow spurs her onwards toward greatness. Does she really hate her? You be the judge. The roughneck, brassy Ichino who serves as Akari’s rock. The wild and crazy Tanya who serves to remind Akari that sports are fun! The list goes on. And of course, as is necessary with any story of this sort, the other girls learn something from Akari as well.
Every character has her own little back story and the series does a wonderful job of filling us in without taking up too much time or becoming boring. Also, unlike other shows where the the theme is “Just try your best”, Battle Athletes takes a different approach, almost as if to say “If you win, you know you tried your best”. Unconventional but I love it. I don’t care how many feel-good sports movies/shows you watch where they tell you that “winning isn’t everything”, we WANT to win.
The character design isn’t spectacular (and there are some definite “hair” issues with some of the characters – really, what were they thinking?), but the animation is incredible. I never thought running could look so cool. Some of the sports are a little…excessive and unrealistic but honestly, it is set at an academy…in SPACE. So, we’re not starting off realistically, anyways. I wish I could have been at that meeting when they made up some of these sports. At any rate, whether the sport is real like the pole vault or fake like the whole life size air hockey competition (which was awesome, by the way. They need to actually find a way to make this work in real life), we are only here for the ride, folks. Enjoy it, for it is sweet.
Recommended audience would be 9+. All violence in Battle Athletes is purely of the slap stick variety and there really isn’t any fan service. I give Battle Athletes a 9/10. Now, go watch it!