Toma Shinjou has a dilemma: he wants to save his school’s soft tennis club before it’s shut down! He seeks the help of Maki Katsuragi, a reluctant student with natural talent and other priorities. It’s going to be their last summer together as a team unless they all find a way to work together to save the club!
I really enjoyed the start of this anime, i found it intersting and even amusing at times. I enjoyed most of the tennis and grew to quickly like the majority of the characters. However, the more episodes i watched, the less i wanted to keep watching. It very quickly turned from a sports anime into an overdramatic family issues with occasional sports anime. It seemed like every episode features one of the team having a concerning family problem, from abusive parents to overbearing parents to bullying to adoption. The fact that basically every member of the team was dealing with some kind of serious family issue was just too much of a stretch for me. Also the episode would present the problem but not really deal with it or have a resolution. For me this anime became an overdramatic cliche and i couldnt wait for it to be over.
This anime is such an amazing one and is much more than just a couple of boys playing soft tennis. As far as the story and character development goes, the creators did a great job layering the story and making it much more than just the sport of soft tennis and a club. They went into depth of the lives of each tennis club member and they humanized them in the sense that they all went through their own person issues just like someone in the real world would. It's almost as is all the boys were going through a form of hardship but yet they continued to push and stay on the team because soft tennis is what brought them happinesses. Throughout the story, a major theme that the anime tends to always fall back on is the idea of LGBT+. Usually you don't find shows talking about this topic, almost as if it's a taboo but the fact that the creators brought this topic up to the surface and reminded the viewers that it's okay to be part of this community and accept those part of it is highly appreciated in my opinion. Due to how nicely layered this story is, you can never really tell in which direction will go next because once you think something will happen, the opposite occurs which is nice if you like surprises in a way. It's like you keep peeling the onion but you can never get to the core because there's so much more to look foward to. This anime definitely needs a season 2 and I'm look forward to it since it cannot end where it is now. Stars Align is definitely one of my favorite animes.
hoshiai no sora is really something i've never seen before. at least in a school club sports anime. lgbtq+ themes, bullying, domestic violence, parent-child quarrels, child abuse, sadness, happiness. stars align is so, so much more than just a tennis anime. to say it's raw might sound naive, but that's really how i feel about it. the reality of many, many households and childhoods is in full display in stars align. nothing is sugarcoated, yet it still warms your heart at times. the characters are all very likeable and human. (though some are disgusting and hurtful.) but i'd like to discuss two of my favourites in particular, and their relationship. minor spoilers ahead !! yu is clearly expressed as non-binary. they're (i'll use they as yu's pronouns are not mentioned but please understand i'm not assuming anything!) bullied and called gay. but they're also accepted by their team-mates and friends. it really and i mean Really warms my heart. as a bigender person seeing a non-binary character properly and realistically portrayed in anime makes me incredibly happy. the show doesn't mock yu for it; it treats them completely naturally. and that's how it should always be. this is one of the first times i'm seeing lgbtq+ things discussed in an anime, in an accepting and open way. it's not something you have to look for in a "fun facts" portion fo a character profile. it's real and it's amazing. it makes me have faith in coming out to my family someday. the second character i want to discuss is maki. he has gone through so much in life, at such a young age. yet he's kind, understanding and open-minded. i have so much love and support for him and he deserves nothing but happiness. the way he accepted yu completely and started using yu's chosen name made my heart swell from happiness. maki has withstood abuse, poverty and all kinds of things a child should never have to deal with. yet he still keeps going, working hard and for that i admire him. i'm so proud of him. (ps. i don't even want to talk about him, but i'll just say maki's dad should rot in hell.) spoilers over. the animation and style is so pleasant to watch. the light colours and cute designs are a treat to the eye. the characters are expressive and dynamic in their movements. the music it really good as well. not once did i skip the ending which with my attention span is rare. tl;dr stars align is a good anime. a great one. it's about real humans dealing with real human things. it might hurt you, but it might make you really happy as well. it's so much more than kids just playing tennis and i loved it. you will too.
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