By now Spring anime for 2022 is in full swing and boy has it been looking good. Star and I had expected to drop a decent amount of anime by this time. After all, we started out with like nearly 20 titles. Alas, here we are, still watching like 18 shows each week and they are all actually good! And we thought the year might be downhill from last season’s amazing titles. Anyway, today is also Boys Day in Japan, something you can read a bit about in Star’s latest post on Golden Week. So I thought that today we should focus on an anime with a majority male presenting cast: Fanfare of Adolescence.
So what is Fanfare of Adolescence and why should you be watching it? Well, it’s a sports anime about horse jockeys and is very drama heavy. Now, let me tell you from the get-go, there is nothing that interests either of us in horse racing normally. But the drama and the tea in this are SO strong. The main character is an ex idol who quits the showman business to become a horse jockey. Due to this, he’s actually really not that good at riding, and he’s being filmed for a documentary about his journey to become a jockey. Already that dynamic within the group is odd–his presence brings so much attention to the jockeys in training and the academy. There are lots of tidbits of the camerawoman interviewing other students. The fact that our MC is an ex-idol isn’t just for fun either. There are already some plotline threads that are coming into play that have to do with the idol industry and just how toxic it can truly be for the idols. To me, that adds some flare to the generic and straightforward sports formula–plus I love me some good idol drama that showcases the difficulties of stars.
But on the note of there being a good amount of idol drama beginning to happen, I will also say that it in no means overshadows the sports aspect. In a weird way, I feel like the show is balancing the two sides of its plot well, if not a bit precariously. I would really like to see the idol and sport side interact more, which I do think will happen as the show continues. We start to see the two intersect in parallel plot lines in episode four so I hope they continue to intertwine into their narrative, getting more and more tangled. I really don’t want to see either one really overshadow the other–because on one end, I do really like the idol plot line, but on the other hand, I’ve also been really into the sports portion of this anime. I like to see the group train, and I like to see the way they each approach their horses and how they ride. As I said, I have no actual interest in horse racing, but the way the show approaches it entertains me. It also gives really helpful insight into the difficulties of being a jockey. Like any good sport, it’s tough, but the past few episodes have really shown just how difficult it truly is. In a way, the way they are approaching the dark sides of being a jockey and being an idol are very similar. Which to me is really intriguing.
Honestly, if I had to state a weak point of the show right now, it’d probably be the way that the show is actually shown. It sometimes feels like disjointed storytelling, and this can occassionally be disorienting–especially when moments don’t fully end. Though this usually seems to be a choice that means the show will end up rewinding to fill in the blanks in the future–but also this doesn’t always seem to be the case. Either way, when watching it–it feels weird. Like either way, we’re just sitting there and waiting to see if we get the extra context or not and sometimes we do a little rewind and sometimes we just don’t.
Another light in this show are the characters. So far, they are delightful. I could not tell you their names, but that’s mostly because we’re only four episodes in and there’s a lot of them (I still don’t know all the names from Bakuten and I loved that sports show). I think the reason I like them is because they all feel distinctly different. Like, they don’t just fade into the back–even the generic ones that feel like they should. Their dynamics are also good. Specifically the dynamics between the main character and his teammates, we do see him building unique relationships with them. Him and uh…the one who speaks fluent horse also get along really well. The first time they met, there were some serious BL vibes going on, but we’ll see where that goes. And for context–when I say serious BL vibes, I mean one was holding the other and there was soft lighting, slow motion, and really pretty bokeh. So again, I look forward to see if that was bait or we’re going somewhere with it.
As for other things, the music isn’t anything special–I can’t remember any particularly good tracks so far. The animation of the characters is nice, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I kind of hate the CGI horses. Their movements look so clunky to me–it’s not the worst CGI I’ve ever seen, and it does capture the micro movements of the animals–but it’s just not for me. It’s too peculiar looking and a stark contrast to the rest the animation.
Overall, I’m really enjoying Fanfare of Adolescence so far. It’s not amazing, definitely has it’s hiccups and quirks, but it’s really good so far. And again, it left us on a killer cliffhanger recently which was…bold considering it’s on episode four. I can’t wait to see where we pick up and what kind of things will happen the rest of the season. Until then, these have just been my first impressions.