Ao Ashi is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yūgo Kobayashi. Production I.G produces the Anime Series adaptation. This series involves the protagonist Ashito Aoi in his journey to making it as a professional footballer through his experiences in the Tokyo Esperion Youth Academy.
Introduction to Ao Ashi:
The story is interesting as it is able to captivate a sports fan into the journey of football and the cliffhangers at the end of the episodes leave one desiring for more. Now we have to remember that reality and Animation need not be on the same page. If we are to dissect it as the Real Game, then of course it will come of short of what is reality but as an anime series, I feel it has the “oomph” factor that can keep me as an audience interested.
As far as the baseline for sports Anime is concerned for me, then I always compare it to Haikyuu which I thought had brilliant animation, story and characters. So in light of that, It is maybe not as good but not far off either of course because as I am writing this I am still 10 episodes in and waiting for more.
The story revolves around the protagonist Ashito who comes off as arrogant straight away and I for one am irritated by his character. And that is a good thing. It only means that the storytelling and character development are done very well to be able to invoke such a reaction right from the start. However, as the series progresses, one can also see that he is not all talk. In fact, he is able to take in criticism in a positive way and improve on his negatives. He is arrogant only because he has never been really challenged in his skills but as he makes his way into the Tokyo Esperion Youth Academy he finds out that there is much more to playing football than scoring a goal.
Anime Characters and Story:
The storytelling is good and there is not much to fault, it’s entertaining and there is much realism injected into it that it doesn’t seem fantasy-ish. I can understand the difficulty in making sports anime because the fun factor is limited and for a game like football it must be even more so.
The characters apart from Ashito were all well designed. Each character brought along a set of baggage with them and it just adds to the overall presence of the Anime. But the kind of Growth the Protagonist went through was just splendid. He improved because he was made to realise his limitations and it’s not just because of the guidance he received either from his mentor or from the help of his teammates but it was more like he became stronger because he worked at it.
I felt the best thing about Ao Ashi was also the unpredictability of what is to happen to the characters and story. The “He will improve but then how will he do it” cliche was quite nicely done and it kept me interested enough to keep on waiting for the next episode.
Overall it is quite an enjoyable anime series and especially if you are aware of the “Game” then perhaps you will be wanting more.
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