A "small" new student, Ushio Hinomaru, appears before the weak little sumo club of Oodachi High School. The words "big" and "heavy" are the rules to this sport, which does not fit this newbie one bit, but Ushio surprises everyone. Ushio and the small sumo club climbs its way to the top with a goal to reach the highest rank, Hinoshita Kaisan.
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Hinomaru Sumo is a good take on a sumo sports anime. The anime has a very good soundtrack and follows the manga well. The only problem this anime deals with is the inconsistency in animation. Obviously there are times where the best animation is less needed but some episodes suffer greatly from very "squishy" animation. Later in the show this problem is fixed and makes for a very entertaining watch. Also, the first op, amazing. The manga is a great read. Unlike a lot of sports themed stories this one goes past "the last high-school tournament arc", and into the professional world. The manga's scope of progression in the lives of the characters is very refreshing.
This show has everything you would expect from a sports anime. The matches have lots of intensity, characters go through hardcore training while trying to find their reasons for fighting, opportunities are created not just through hard work, but also through tactics & strategies, and respect is found when you display your full potential, even if you win or lose the match. The character personalities & development are what make this show enjoyable and worth watching. The characters have real-life struggles and there is good chemistry between all teams. Even the side characters make their contribution to the plot. There is no much of a story, all show is basically about tournaments and training for them. Each character does get a backstory and while some are looking for reasons for fighting, others are trying to overcome their own obstacles and test themselves. The animation may be one of the weakest parts of the show. At some times the characters look muscular at other times just fat with odd body types, it is very inconsistent on this respect. But when it comes to fighting, the editing is really able to create a sense of intensity and power for each match, and the action is easy to follow showing the moves each character make (although is not particularly fluid motion, the cuts are spot-on for each move and countermove they make). The sound effects and music are good, nothing stands up either good or bad on this aspect. The dub is good and I recommend it so you can focus on the action. Overall, I would recommend this show to anyone who likes sports anime, even if they don't care about Sumo at all. Give it a try to the first 2 episodes before you make your own mind to keep watching. Personally, I never care much about Sumo, and my only encounter with the sport so far was one time that I played Street Fighter using Honda, and I never give that character a second try afterward :), so I was not sure if this show will be interesting enough for me. But as it turns out, although I cannot say I'll be following Sumo, nor interested in watching any real-life matches, at least I can say I have a newfound respect for the sport after watching this show.
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