By Shanel Kamara
Muscles, a token female, and a whole lot of testosterone, and tears; unfortunately, All Out is just another typical sports themed anime that boasts of no defining features or unique traits. To be frank, I partially expected it to be so. Although All Out is undeniably a sports themed anime show, I actually think of it as a shonen series. The cast features characters that are exclusively typical to conventional shonen sports anime shows, such as Ace of Diamonds. I do not have a problem with sports themed anime shows: I enjoy them in fact. What I have an issue with is sports themed anime shows, or anime shows in general, that fail to offer something new. What I look for in an anime series is a sense of originality. Of course there are some genres I avoid altogether due to personal preference, but in general, as long as the plot is novel and the characters are a little more three-dimensional, and not superficial, I am fairly open (to an extent) to a wide variety of shows.
When I first watched this show, I could not help comparing it to Yuri on Ice!! - another new sports themed anime currently on air this season - because of how much it deviates from it. Unlike the All Out show, which appeals to a predominantly young male demographic, the show, Yuri on Ice!! appeals to a mature female and male demographic. However, as figure skating is very distinct from rugby, it is no surprise that the shows are polar opposites. While Yuri on Ice!! includes a more effeminate male cast with characters that seem more diverse, and relatable, the characters in All Out have less depth to them. What I love about Yuri on Ice!! is that it depicts the challenges and triumphs that come with pursuing a career in the sport in a very real way. It even subtlety touches on the topic of ageism. The characters in All Out are not professionals but high school students (nothing against high school sports clubs), so let us just say the stakes are a lot lower.
If you love rugby or traditional sports-themed anime shows that feature a young over-zealous sportsman as the protagonist, a group of sweat loving workout fanatics, and a kick-butt coach with a predictable back-story, then this is the show for you. This show does not engage me at all, as I am a lover of unique and unconventional storylines.
All Out E.01