Iwa Kakeru- Sport Climbing Girls, is a rock climbing anime brought to life by anime studio Blade in Japan. The first episode of the franchise was released this Monday, October 3rd via Crunchyroll in North America. As an anime fan, I felt the need to bring this new production to our feed. Why? Because climbing lacks representation in the industry and this new anime is ready to change that narrative.
Sport Climbing Girls tells the story of Konomi Kasahara, a former “hardcore” gamer who discovered rock climbing in her freshman year of high school. Konomi applies her puzzle-solving skills to come up with efficient beta in record time. The integration of her former gaming lifestyle and her newly discovered “obsession,” will surely pave her way in the competitive climbing world.
Episode one of the anime introduces Konomi Kasahara as she struggles to find a school club to sign-up for. However, her problem is solved after she stumbles upon a rock climbing wall. Konomi had never seen a climbing wall before and, because of its colorful holds, is tempted to touch it. She is immediately confronted by Jun Uehara, who tells her that only club members can grab hold. Soon after that encounter you are presented with the two girls at what seems to be the most expensive school gym ever built. Jun teaches Konomi the ropes and the rest is anime history. Must I add that when I say the latter, it’s because the remainder of the episode follows a very traditional sports anime storyline.
Sports anime tend to focus on incredibly talented outcasts who arrive to shake the world of an already established high school elite team member. You tend to have your naive and humble main character (Hinata in Haikyuu or Kuroko in Kuroko no Basket) who sometimes is not even aware of the level of talent they posses. These characters are then challenged by the established, hard working, and incredibly intense frenemy. For example, to any anime fans who would get the reference, Konomi and Jun give off major Hinata v. Kageyama vibes. Of course, let’s not forget about the stoic and the bubbly/comedic supporting roles.
Aside from the superhuman qualities that are assigned to the main character, sports anime echos the passion, drive, and team dynamics that you would expect to find in any other sports crew. Iwa Kakeru seems to be no different than the rest. It still remains to be seen if this is the focus that the anime will have once future episodes are released and more characters introduced. However, the animation, graphics, and attention to detail presented in the first episode will be sure to please both climbing and anime fans alike.
The second episode of Iwa Kakeru- Sport Climbing Girls will be released on October 11 on Crunchyroll.
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