Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: SK8 the Infinity

Original Run: January 10, 2021 - April 4, 2021
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Sports

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers SK8 the Infinity. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Having grown up in Canada, Langa Hasegawa (voiced by Chiaki Kobayashi) returns to his mother’s native Okinawa. Although an accomplished snowboarder, Langa hasn’t been on the slopes since his father died, and the island paradise isn’t exactly known for snow. However, a spark that had gone out rekindles when Langa meets Reki Kyan (voiced by Tasuku Hatanaka).

Reki is a skateboarder and frequents the underground skating scene. Out and away from the authorities, nightly races are held, which offer great prestige at the risk of serious injury. Langa goes with Riki to one of these events. With one thing leading to another, Langa finds himself in a competition.

Despite never being on a skateboard before, Langa is a natural and defeats veteran skaters. Soon this unknown rookie becomes the talk of the entire skating world.

Series Synopsis

The fact of the matter is, it takes a lot for a sports anime to impress me. While many are excellent and worth watching, I can’t remember a series in this genre that has truly blown me away.

With that in mind, SK8 the Infinity put in a pretty damn good showing.

Admittedly, it was odd to watch a skating story in 2021; that heyday has long since passed. Still, I wouldn’t hold that against this series. If there was one thing SK8 the Infinity was, it was fun.

Three points worked in this shows favor:

  1. Its action.
  2. Its characters.
  3. Its voice cast.

By combining these three elements, SK8 the Infinity is easily one of the best sports anime in recent years – if not one of the more memorable.

This series walked a fine line between technique and physics-breaking insanity. While skaters pulled off real-world skate moves (I assume), this show was not afraid to do away with believability in favor of badassery. SK8 the Infinity’s “beefs” were fantastically entertaining.

These segments of the show were fast, thrilling, and exciting, a rather incredible feat since throughout the majority of this show, there was only one track in use. Nevertheless, each run was its own beast, filled to the brim with unexpected twists and turns.

Granted, it was hard to grasp how long the track was, and part of me believes there was no consistency whatsoever. Fortunately, that didn’t matter. All that was important was speed and the competitors.

And of all the races, the climactic beef was awesome. To say the track was dangerous would be an understatement. Heck, if this show weren’t so inherently lighthearted, I would have expected someone to die.

Given the lack of variety in racecourses, any other series might have run into problems. SK8 the Infinity avoided this by making up what it lacked in location diversity by delivering characters worth rooting for.

Each race was unlike the others because of who was participating in it. Depending on the skater, a beef could be more technique-based or more I’m-going-to-bash-your-head-in-with-a-skateboard aggressive.

To my great surprise, SK8 the Infinity flushed out all of its main cast. We got a solid idea of who everyone was and what drove them. Additionally, this show firmly established everyone as a quality skater; no one was an in-name-only threat.

If this series wanted to, it could branch into several different side projects centered around one of its many supporting characters. Everyone had enough personality to warrant their own spin-off show.

To conclude this section, I must make a point to mention the outstanding voice cast in SK8 the Infinity. The actors brought their respective characters to life, providing much to their mentioned personality.

Everyone was loud when they needed to be, commanding when it was called for, and relatable when necessary. There were no phoned-in performances.

And while our heroes were great – Mr. Chiaki Kobayashi and Mr. Tasuku Hatanaka, who played Langa Hasegawa and Reki Kyan, respectively, were especially noteworthy – the scene-stealer of SK8 the Infinity was Mr. Takehito Koyasu, who played the antagonist Ainosuku “Adam” Shindo.

I don’t remember the last time I watched a sports anime with an antagonist who was as intimidating as Adam. Of course, Mr. Koyasu knows a thing or two about playing the bad guy (he was Dio Brando in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure).

This show rose above the usual sports anime. It serves as proof of what it takes for a series in this genre to leave a mark.

It will be interesting to see if SK8 the Infinity has a future.

I know I would like to see a continuation of some kind. Be it with this same cast or a whole new group of people. I think this is a franchise waiting to happen.

Series Negatives

I need to go back to what I said at the top of this review. It takes a lot for a sports anime to impress me.

Although SK8 the Infinity hit all the right boxes and excelled in so many areas, ultimately, it was still just a sports anime. This show could not escape the fatal flaw of its genre.

This type of story has been done to death.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A rookie new to a sport quickly picks the basic mechanics. Soon they are not only competing against more seasoned players; they are winning. Our hero is initially encouraged by a friend who is a veteran of the community (in this case, skateboarding). While the two start close, the veteran begins to feel some friction as our hero, the rookie, begins to overtake them in skill.

Soon, the rookie is marked by the biggest and baddest player of them all. This top boss has lost sight of what they loved about the sport and has since turned cynical and conniving. The rookie becomes an obsession of the boss who will stop at nothing to crush the former’s spirit.

This is a narrative I have seen play out time and time again.

To its credit, SK8 the Infinity had the polish that allowed it to shine brighter than most of its contemporaries. Plus, it was sufficiently entertaining, making the rinse and repeat story fun to sit through again.

Sadly, if you’re expecting this show to break the mold, you will be left disappointed.

However, if the only thing you care about is watching a series that knows what it is doing, then you’ll most likely get a lot out of SK8 the Infinity.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps there will be a sports anime that will come along and blow me away. This series failed to do that in the narrative sense.

But, in terms of characters, excitement, voice acting, and entertainment value, this show was an all-around winner. So even if you’re tired of the same old formula, this is still worth a look.

SK8 the Infinity has earned a recommendation.

But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise SK8 the Infinity? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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