“I’ve always gone where people have invited me, just going with the flow…” Shoutarou Futaba is okay with sitting in the baseball’s team bench and watching the birds over the field when the game is boring. Having previously tried soccer and swimming, he has never been a regular, but has good grades and to this point there has been no drama in his sport life. That all changes when he sees the odd training of an outspoken rythmic gymnastics male team and follows them to a Cirque-du-Soleil style competition, full of music, perfect coordination and incredible acrobatics. The performance steals his heart, “I didn’t know that the human body could move like that!”, but they lose. The serious, analytical student on his right provides the explanation. It turns out that this is a sport for six people, and a group of four starts with a penalty by default. At home, having good grades and urged by his father to think about what he wants, Shotarou chooses Ao High School. He is lucky. The team is passionate, kind and has a good captain and a good coach. Plus, they are understandably desperate for new members. Overcoming his embarrassment, he goes to them. But the analytical boy is also there, and he turns out to be a prodigy of this sport, but in the individual modality. As the third-years point out, he could have chosen better schools, yet he is here. Why?
Well, those bakcflips surely look great. If I could do that, I would seriously consider my long-postponed project of being Batman. That said, I´ll note that Bakuten!! is, from now, somewhere between the volleyball of Haukyuu!! and the kyudo/archery of Tsurune. And I love Haikyuu!!, but perhaps this is a little too close? There you have a team who needs just the right push to achieve greatness with a comically serious manager, mature and wise third years and a second year prone to Tanaka faces. And are those prodigy issues in the horizon? Of Tsurune, it has the elegance, the ritual, the niche sport atmosphere and the personal, irreplaceable performances of the members, which no doubt will be a source of most of the drama. After all, no one can fill your spot in a sport like this. The team is interesting and well-adjusted, the performance before the opening was a joy to watch and it’s not like I cannot understand Shotarou’s feeling of awe and wonder, but I wonder if it will be enough to keep my interest. We’ll see.
Bakuten!! (Backflip!!) is streaming at Crunchyroll.