Sport climbing is a sport that makes use of both the body and the brain to climb walls. Kasahara Konomi, a master at puzzles, just happens to discover her school's climbing wall, and it looks almost like a colorful sort of puzzle in her eyes. This fateful encounter brings big changes to Konomi's life! With her teammates in the Hanamiya Girls' High School Climbing Club, Konomi races for the top in this passionate climbing story!
Believe in Yourself
The Anti-Monkey Rock
Hard Work and Talent
Failure of a Climber
Tears of Disappointment
The Princess of Climbing
The 15 Second Wall
The Road to Best in Japan
There is your standard shitty sports anime and then there is Iwakakeru Sport Climbing Girls, which is your standard shitty sports anime on steroids and speed. Not only is this because of all the half-baked characters, it’s also because of how the series is always, perpetually, and eternally on fast-forward. Plot is a thing that happens here for sure, but because the show absolutely has no sense of timing or pace, you’re subjected to at least five different plot points and about a gazillion more tropes every week. It’s not that Iwakakeru doesn’t know which story to tell – it’s that it wants to tell all of the stories. It’s got a checklist of everything it thinks makes a sports anime work and because it can’t decide which one to really dive into, it gives each item on the list approximately five minutes in the spotlight like it’s racing to meet some weekly quota. The result: you’re force-fed an entire arc’s worth of storylines in the span of just half an episode. Then as if realizing how messy it actually is, Iwakakeru overcompensates by mouthing off all the sport climbing terms it knows without showing you once what the fuck any of those things actually mean. Characters climb walls and bystanders cheer. Meanwhile, you, as the audience, are left in the dark as to why they’re even happening at all. For Iwakakeru, the money shots are not the actual climbs or sends, but the views from up top and down below – meaning inappropriate boobie and ass shots for days and days, that you start wondering why anyone even bothers to really watch these things in real life. There are no characters in Iwakakeru, only female high schoolers who exist only to provide shitty fanservice and regurgitate tropes in hopes of moving the plot along. And move it does – to breakneck speeds, that is – but whether you’ve seen actual sports climbing competitions or not, it’s still pretty easy to feel sorry for the sport for getting stuck with lame-o promotional material like this. If the goal was to get more people involved in sports climbing, then Iwakakeru falls off the wall on all accounts. It’s not about to encourage young girls to get into the sport any time soon. But it may, if it’s lucky, bring some lecherous man onboard anyway, even if it’s only to sit on the judging panel like the loser with the weirdo hair in this show, content only with making ill-informed comments about the sport and thus, making life harder for anyone else who has to listen.
As a climber I was super glad to see an anime about climbing, and as far as the basics of the show are concerned I thought it was pretty solid. the problems all stem from a lack of episodes. Characters remain underdeveloped, plot points rushed or entirely dropped, and a lot of potential goes untapped. That being said, 11.5 of the 12 episodes are still quite good, and the only thing that let's me down is that it ended, and quite abruptly at that.
Main Thoughts: Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Girls is an anime that seems good, interesting, and unique (with a sport that’s not exactly the most commonly seen in anime) and a bearable storyline. This, in turn, leads up to a continuous downfall with the execution, mainly due to the fast-pacing of the story. Story: The story in Iwakaeru! is definitely the weakest part throughout the anime. The pacing of all the episodes is extremely fast, they showcase this with multiple scenes throughout the episode. When showcasing this it’s done with terrible transitions that don’t exactly help the episode flow. They also do this by introducing many topics at once all in one episode. They leave internal conflicts unsolved for one episode, introduce another, whilst introducing another goal for the team. This is seen evidently in episode 5, “Hard Work and Talent” and in episode 8, “Tears of Disappointment.” (I felt a lot of tears and disappointment throughout this anime) Another downfall for the story of this anime is how predictable it is, due to its unrealistic circumstances. A prime example of this is evident in the main character, Kasahara Konomi. The moment she picks up rock climbing she’s practically a natural and this was all showcased without any actual help from another one of our main characters, Jun Uehara. In other words, where are the struggles and failure? Please note, they show these factors somewhat later on but fail to at the beginning. Lastly, some other key details that could’ve lead to the downfall of this anime are the lack of information and foreshadowing given. When a certain character struggles with an inner turmoil it happens out of nowhere and we see no given signs of it throughout the past episodes. These inner turmoils are particularly solved in the same episode, then are continued on with a whole different scene. One of my main issues with the story is how we, the viewer, are given no information on how the competitions or the finals for rock/wall climbing, in this case, work. This can lead to a lot of confusion about what’s happening and whether or not it’s all on a different or same day. A notable thing about the story of this anime is how they teach the viewers about rock climbing, this is typically shown through our main girl, Kasahara Konomi, as she learns about rock climbing and different methods. Animation: The animation for Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Girls is average at best. Throughout some scenes you see the animation shine, and this is typically done through comparisons of what a character is like when they’re climbing. This is especially shown through Kasahara Konomi and how wall climbing for her is like a puzzle. Throughout the episodes, you can tell when they recycled a certain frame or when a certain character’s proportions are a bit off. Hell, even in some scenes when a character is shown panting or out of breath they seem perfectly fine, so it doesn’t exactly end up matching up. They also consistently avoid showing characters climbing and rather opt for some animation they make it a simple still frame. Sound: There was absolutely nothing special or amazing done with the sound in Iwakakeru! It’s mostly just the same basic or standard shit you’d expect from a sports anime. The most impressive thing done sound-wise is the ending climb for Kasahara, and even that is a common trope for sports anime. The voice actors are well-suited for each of the character’s personalities, they even have the annoying characters have an irritating voice. The opening and ending is average at best and nothing throughout both was note-worthy to make either interesting or catchy. Characters: The characters of Iwakakeru! is another weak attribute for this anime. Each of the characters has their own inner turmoil, which is a good thing, but this was done terribly due to the execution of it. (Pastly stated in the Story section) Some of the character’s inner turmoils don’t exactly make sense to have in the anime or overall is just a stupid flashback to reason for why they act the way they act. When there’s a character you don’t necessarily need a flashback about it’s mainly due to the fact they don’t impact the plot that much. This was especially shown in some side characters throughout the anime. Then there are characters that would be important to see a past or flashback of, due to the fact they impact the plot greatly whether it be for the entire anime or for certain episodes. Not to mention, when said turmoils were shown it was either spent skipping throughout multiple episodes, barely shown, or lasts 5 minutes. We barely get little to any key interactions between the characters, but we still get to see how they affect each other and how that in turn will affect their overall performance whilst climbing. This is a key part that actually made the anime enjoyable enough for me to finish. Ending Thoughts: Overall, Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Club is an anime that seems good in hindsight but is a complete failure when indulged upon. This failure is due to the fast-pacing story, commonly shown lazy animation, average yet plain/standard sound, and a cast of characters that make yet break the show. I wouldn’t personally recommend this anime as the most it’ll possibly offer you is a cool animation scene that’ll last about a minute, as well as a funny interaction or two amongst the cast of characters.
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