Prince of Stride: Alternative Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

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“Stride,” is an extreme sport that involves six people on one team who run relay races through towns. Hōnan Academy and other schools compete to win eastern Japan’s top Stride competition, “End of Summer.” However, Hōnan’s team has shut down. First-year high school students Takeru Fujiwara and Nana Sakurai attempt to restart the club, but they must recruit six members for the team. They ask Riku Yagami to join, but he turns them down by saying that Stride is the one thing he doesn’t want to do. ~ANN

Animation Production: MADHOUSE ( Aoi Bungaku SeriesBECK: Mongolian Chop Squad /  Chihayafuru/ Death ParadeBirdy the Mighty / KurozukaMoryo no HakoMONSTER NANATokyo Godfathers /

Director: Atsuko Ishizuka ( Storyboards on MONSTER episode 74 / Storyboards on No Game No Life episodes 1 and 12 / Storyboards on Btooom! Ending Sequence)

Series Composition: Taku Kishimoto ( Script Writer on Gin no Saji series / Script Writer on Boku dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] episode 1 / Script Writer on Haikyu!! seasons 1 and 2)

Character Designer:  Gu-nyon Wang ( Key Animator on Zetsuen no Tempest episode 23 / Key Animator on Death Parade episodes 1, 2 and 5 / Animation Supervisor on Prince of Stride: Alternative Opening Sequence / Key Animator on No Game No Life episode 11)

Music: Yoshiaki Fujisawa ( Music Composer on Akuma no Riddle / Music Composer on Rail Wars!)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Storyboards: Atsuko Ishizuka

Script: Taku Kishimoto

I really enjoyed this.  The subject of free running is interesting.  This reminds me of Air Gear back in the day. There’s only been two manga that have covered this sort of topic one is Air Gear (which received an anime adaptation and a few awesome OVAs) and its about rollerblading!  The other was a kickstarter project  entitled R.u.N. by a couple of Greek authors.  This show is pure entertainment.  Anything more than that and you might want to check out something else.  Simply because Stride’s first episode contains many tropes that tons of sports anime have overused in the past.

High school students look for club members.  This is set off with one of the only girls we see in this episode–Nana Sakurai.  The acting isn’t terrible but it could be better.  It does help that the female lead is voiced by Kana Hanazawa (Akane Tsunemori of Psycho-Pass) because she is able to develop a character nicely.  One of the other tropes used in this is what otome works are known for–lead girl meets a bunch of pretty boys that she is able to encourage throughout her journey.

The part of this show that has peaked my interest is my favorite studio MADHOUSE animating an entire sequence of a relay race.  And it looks amazing.  Also want to point out that the music is pretty solid.  Upbeat strings and pop really fit the tone of this show–the comedy isn’t all that great but the music handles these scenes without being staggeringly boring.  I’d recommend this show to anyone that wants a series without thinking too much.  We’ve already got plenty of shows that have very strong narratives this season so this is a good anime to break the mold a bit.

The sound effects are very good in this.  It sounds as if Jin Aketagawa took his transition sound samples from No Game No Life and thew them in this show.  It didn’t work for that video game-based anime but Stride‘s focus on sports screams potential for him as a sound director.

OP: “Strider’s High” by OxT

Directed by: Atsuko Ishizuka

Storyboards: Atsuko Ishizuka

Animation Supervisor: Gu-nyon Wang

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Animation is really pretty.  MADHOUSE did a great job animating this show so far.  Not really a fan of OxT’s hard rock the vocals don’t match the song very well. It’s too generic for a sports series.  As for the instrumentals they knock around that this is a sports show we’re watching. The visual transitions are fantastic and I like the direction of free running throughout this sequence. As amazing as the visuals are in this it makes sense considering there is a rookie animator that worked on a few episodes of One-Punch Man and another animator that handled part of Onna’s ice skating scene from episode 11 of Death Parade!

ED: This episode didn’t have an ending rather the credits played over the finale of the race.


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