- Titles: AOASHI
- Genre: Sports, school
- Episodes: 24
- Studio: Production I.G
Do you know the expression Big Fish in a Small Bowl? It means that a person is considered particularly talented in some way but is also compared to a very small group of other people making it easier to stand out. Ashito Aoi is a big fish in a small bowl. He’s the star of his school’s football team and one of the best players around, but he lives in a small village. It’s not like the most talented players are flocking to the place. The thing about big fish in small bowls is that they tend to get a pretty huge shock when the bowl suddenly becomes an enormous aquarium and there are sharks and whales around. You need to adapt fast and not all of them do. So how will Aoi handle it when he manages to make it onto the Tokyo City Esperion FC Youth team, one of the best junior teams in the country? Now that his amazing instincts and natural athleticism are run-of-the-mill, his lack of technique is rea;y going to show. Will he be able to figure out what makes him a player worthy of the field?
Some of you may know that I have a soft spot for Sports! anime. I plan to start watching Bleu Lock any second now. I’m not going to say I watch every single entry in the genre because there is quite a lot of them, but I try to get around to as many as possible. And a lot of people recommended Aoashi. I was pretty excited t start it.
Let’s face it, Production I.G has cornered the market when it comes to Sports! anime. They have created a whole lot of them and they know what they are doing. It really shows in Aoashi.
I really liked the way Aoashi looked. It doesn’t take any crazy chances. The camera angles are what you would expect, and the art doesn’t get wonky or change in style. It’s an extremely clean and straightforward production. Which goes with the story. Aoashi isn’t one of those Sports! anime where the players have almost superhuman abilities (at least not in this season ) or where the rookie can magically take on seasoned vets every time. It’s a pretty down-to-earth anime and the visual style echoes that. And honestly, it’s pretty. Traditionally pretty in a way I simply didn’t expect. I kept thinking, sheesh everyone is so pretty…
I enjoyed the voice acting but I’m afraid I can’t say that anyone stood out in particular. It was a case of them all being pretty good. I will say I found that there was more audible chemistry between Aoi and his buddies Tachibana and Otomo, than there was between Aoi and his potential love interest Hana but it wasn’t distracting or unpleasant in any way.
I didn’t notice the soundtrack but I did think there were some nice kick sounds during games and practice.
Story & Characters
I called my post Back to Basics because Aoashi is a basic Sports! anime in a good way. Except for the fact that it’s clearly missing an exclamation mark and the end of the title ( Someone must have gotten scolded for that!) Aoashi is a quintessential sports anime. Kinda.
It follows the formula and structure of a sports anime almost to a T but it does change up some pretty classic tropes and I found that this made way more of an impact than I would have thought.
First, Aoi leaves his little hometown pretty early on in the series, and from there on, he’s in a very important team. Esperion are not the underdogs. And that’s pretty rare. Now they only took the subversion so far since Aoi is in the B team of the junior team. Meaning he’s in the lowest possible spot you can have and still be on that team, so that’s kind of underdog-like but he’s the worst of the best and his uniform commands respect.
Second, Aoi isn’t all that special. You know, in a lot of sports anime, the people you’re supposed to be rooting for just looooOOOvvve the sport so much it’s kind of pathological. Like if a person was like that in real life, you might worry. But that love makes them practice harder than anyone and also they happen to have this one rough skill that they can’t use that well but it’s unique and it gives them an edge when they need it.
Well Aoi doesn’t. Yes, he looooOOOOvvvess football. But the anime makes it clear that they all do. And yes he does practice extremely hard, it’s remarked on a few times. But it’s also clear that his teammates have been practicing a lot more than him up until now and he’s actually mostly catching up.
And yes Aoi does have that one unique talent. I actually don’t have a but for this one. It’s impressive and whenever anyone notices they’re all speechless and think it’s impossible. But it’s a talent he completely neglects and that forces him to play in ways he doesn’t like. Look at that, I did have a but after all.
In any case, the dynamic is a bit different than a lot of sports anime. For those of you who are connoisseurs like me, I would compare it to Kuroko no Basuke but back when he was in the Generation of Miracles. I’m going niche today.
Ok, how could I forget this? Shows you what I pay attention to! Aashi has a romantic subplot. It’s not all that present but it is consistent and it starts in the early episodes and lasts all the way through. Now that is extremely rare. I can’t think of another show that has that.
I realize that when I talk about Sports! anime I start to get really precise and analytical. These posts are probably pretty useless to anyone who isn’t as familiar with the genre as I am. I find it hard to take a step back and write more generalized reviews for some reason but I’m going to try.
Aoashi looks good and that’s already a plus. It’s a pure sports anime meaning that I wouldn’t particularly describe it as either a comedy or a drama. There are funny things here and there and some more emotional moments but for the most part, it’s really concerned with football and how team dynamics develop.
Yes there is a romantic subplot but it’s woven through the rest of the story and to call Aoashi a romance anime would be a blatant lie. However, if you like a little bit of romance sprinkled in, then this will be perfect for you. A lot f the comments were really gushing about it in the Crunchyroll forums.
You might like this anime if:
You just want to watch a well made Sports anime with a huge cast
My favourite character:
Aoi’s super hot mother. One of the few things I really did not like about the show is that Aoi’s family sort of disappears after he gets to Tokyo. I wish they would have found excuses for us to see his brother and mother more!
- Every time Aoi and Hana bicker – take a sip
- Every time Shun is being a great big bro – raise your glass
- Every time Otomo is a social strategist – take a sip
- Every time Aoi’s eyes change colour – take a sip
- Every time we see Esperion’s club logo – be impressed
- Every time Aoi scores a goal – cheer!
- Every time Aoi is full of himself – take a sip
- Every time Tsukishima is cheerful – take a sip
- Every time we see Hana as a child – awwww
- Every time Otomo cares about cute girls – take a sip
- Every time Juun is an ice princess – take a sip
- Every time the coach seems to make up random rules – boooo
- Every time there are crows – are crows associated with sports?
- Every time they mention the sponsors – take a sip
- Every time we see a blond Fukuda – try not to spit out your drink
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.