Breathing. Ice. Suddenly, an ice hockey game is taking place before our eyes at lightning speed. The voices of our young girls with gem-like hair and eyes. Their coordination is just perfect. Japan versus Canada, tie on the scoreboard, and five seconds to the end. A shot nearing the end of the game results in an impossible goal, and then the team launches into an idol-like dance, “We Are Smile Princess”, that I, ahem, don’t think was a good idea. Opening, and flashback! The historical Embroidery Club, four members, founded by the current president’s grandmother, keeps up its peaceful day-to-day existence. We have our energetic and cheerful genki girl president, her critical younger sister, a courteous and cheerful friend and the prodigy girl with a natural talent (and disposition) for embroidery. They hang out at the great, ancestral Japanese hostel where the aforementioned grandmother instructs our prodigy and the club eats strawberries. But how about trying something new, like ice hockey, just for the experience? And what if an enthusiastic coach with a Machiavellian plan to show off her old gear in a victory dance, a resigned assistant and team mascot, and other fun players were there? Would the commitment to embroidery tremble? But perhaps the life of the new team won’t be so chill, as suggested by the closing scene featuring a tearful, raging hockey prodigy whom our characters have yet to meet…
Well, well. I don’t know if I would have done that. I mean, the first sequence tells me that yes, the dream came true. Harmony was reached, Yu was able to cooperate with everyone, the team reached the World Cup representing Japan, and the Embroidery Club girls were able to adapt to ice hockey and its challenges just fine. It even tells me that the even more crazy dream of our coach came true (though, luckily, she renounced the idea of dancing herself). So, the more potentially intriguing elements of the show are sort of rendered null. The aesthetics are pretty nice (though the CG sometimes stands out), the character dynamics were fun, I’m interested in themes of tradition and legacy, and the fact they end up representing Japan means it will probably avoid the “death-by-sweetness” problem I had with K-On (which feels like it was in the background of this one). But I don’t think that the question of how exactly they got there can generate enough intrigue to take me to another episode. But if you enjoy the company of these characters enough to just spend time with them even knowing how it all ends, lace up your ice skates.
Puraore! Pride of Orange can be streamed at Funimation.
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