Skate-Leading Stars

TV (12 eps)
3.399 out of 5 from 1,070 votes
Rank #8,038
Skate-Leading Stars

Kensei Maeshima left the world of figure skating after his rival said, “You’ll never beat me.” Years later, he’s using his athleticism to help several high school teams, never focusing on one. But when his adversary publicly announces a shift to a team sport, a kid familiar with Kensei’s past finds and offers him an invitation to lace up his skates and join the world of skate-leading.

Source: Funimation

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As far as sports anime go, Skate-Leading Stars isn’t complete bunk. Most of the standard requirements for your average sports anime are here: attractive athletes, fancy uniforms, an element of competition, the mysterious coach, training sequences, and a new sport never before animated to make things a little livelier. Well, okay, so the sport isn’t entirely new. Take the team skating aspect out of it and you can easily accuse this of riding on the coattails of the last anime to be set in the ice skating rink. It may have been years since the figure skating hype last hit its peak, but Skate-Leading Stars is out here to partake in all the BL-esque implications it thinks is inherent in its chosen sport anyway – even if it pales so badly in comparison to the last one. There’s a beef that gets the story going in Skate-Leading Stars, but you’d be forgiven if you forget about it midway through the story. There’s some ice skating action too, but given that there's so little of it, it’s okay if you don’t catch all of it. At best, the show gets half the job done as your run-of-the-mill sports anime, but at worst, it’s going to slip right off your mind almost immediately after you’ve seen it. Even if it presents something new-ish with its focus on team skating, the novelty dies down as soon as the show settles into its rhythm. Maybe it would have fared better if it had lead characters you could root for and get behind. But as it is, both of Skate-Leading Stars’… well, stars are some of the most unlikeable and selfish characters to lead a sports show in recent memory. Meanwhile, the other characters are sucked into their grooves and so they have to compromise, give way, and completely adjust their styles to them if they want so much as even a whiff of the tournament’s next round. Don’t look to the limited skating runs either to help you maintain interest. Save for the last two episodes, the routines are mostly presented in brief snippets and repeated shots, so the show compensates by way of extensive reactions and lengthy commentary from anyone else who’s not on the skating rink. If not for the side characters doing their part to try and keep things on the (mostly) straight and steady narrative, then the show would have been flat-out unwatchable. It’s not so entertaining that you’ll become a believer in team skating, but it’s not so bad that it will make you swear off sports anime altogether. It’s cute when it wants to be, but it’s still uber-generic, so even if it’s possible to get some spurts of energy from this, you may also find getting through it a bigger pain than it has any right to be.

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