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.
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