Stars Align

Alt title: Hoshiai no Sora

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2019
4.238 out of 5 from 1,297 votes
Rank #615

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!

Source: Funimation

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Ooh, I feel like I'm not as much of a critic for giving this such a high rating, but I feel like this anime legitimately deserves it. It was amazing, it pulled me in from the first episode, and it only got better as it went on. The story was basically about this underdog soft tennis team, and how they have to win a game at a tournament to stay a club. So when this sports anime popped up in my Hulu recommendeds, I wasn't sure what to think. I'd never watched a sports anime. I didn't know what to expect. Luckily, I took a watch, and learned that the story was so much more than that. There were a lot of characters, and each episode was partially centered around one (or more) of their home lives. It tackled matters such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, helicopter parenting, an LGBT character, an adopted character, and more. And despite how many characters there are, they all manage to be unique in design and in personality, and they're all formed by their home experiences. They all keep you interested, and there wasn't a single character whose experiences or part of the show bored me. So despite being a sports anime, it's really about the characters. That's one of the things I loved about the story. It's not just about the characters' soft tennis club. It's about the characters, themselves, and the soft tennis club. It's about how the characters develop, and why they act the way that they do. The only thing that made me knock the story down a number was that it wasn't always focused on the story, and that story arcs weren't resolved, although, admittedly, that's probably because the anime was originally meant to have 24 episodes. Hopefully we'll get a season two for that. It's also easy to start out thinking that it's gonna be a lighthearted show without all of the drama that it has. But the main reason that I did end up starting the anime was the art style. It looks beautiful, and once I started watching, I saw how smooth the animation looked with it. The art just has this beauty to it that I have trouble describing, especially in the theme song, where it takes this sort-of watercolour-y style that just blows me away. The music. I could just say that. But I won't, because this is a review. It picked up at just the right moments, creating suspense, creating triumph, creating joy. And yet, at other moments, it stayed silent, making you feel like even breathing could shatter what was going on in front of you. (In the best way.) I also really liked the VAs, and I felt like they made good choices for who voiced who. Overall, 10/10. I would recommend this anime.

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