First Impression: Futsal Boys!!!!!

On their way to the opening ceremony of their freshman year, Sakaki and Yamato independently fall (the latter literally) into a group of bullies preventing kids from using a futsal court. Naturally, that means it’s time to challenge each other for futsal dominance and use of the court! However, the hoods aren’t interested in playing fair, though they do retreat when notable player Tsukioka shows up. However, later that day, after Tsukioka has invited Sakaki and Yamato to visit the futsal club, the bullies return with vengeance on their mind. It’s time for a rematch!

I love American football, and I enjoy foosball, too (I own a table). Imagine my disappointment, then, when I discovered that futsal isn’t some variation on the name for either activity, but an indoor, smaller field version of soccer (football). I kid, of course, though I wasn’t aware of what kind of sport it was until this series—not that it particularly matters. Unusual activities are all the rage for sports anime during the past decade, proving that the sport doesn’t really matter when it comes to anime; a series can be great or terrible regardless of the sport it focuses on. Unfortunately, it seems that Futsal Boys is a case of the latter. There’s nothing inspired nor inspiring about episode one. Despite topping Free! by employing five exclamation marks in its title, it does everything worse than that show and the other it’ll be inevitably compared to, Haikyuu. The characters are less interesting, the shots less captivating, and the screenplay less sharp.

Introducing Hinata and Kageyama, er, Yamato and Sakaki?

Most of all, though, what stands out most in episode one is the awful animation. The animators use tricks to cut corners seemingly every single minute, particularly by panning across shots or repeating animation sequences. It even happens in the series opening, which is supposed to a reflection of the animation quality in a series. And that it is, in the most unfortunate of ways. Still, I could live with bad animation, but I can’t live with bad animation combined with a laughably corny script, featuring scenes like hoodlums running away from a fight because an under-18 national futsal team member shows up (better run!) or two beautiful boys catching sight of each other while one flips perfectly upside down on his bike. Whew. It also got pretty annoying to see the word “futsal” show up on balls about 17 times. This series is imitating the team building and rivalry of Haikyuu with pretty boys like Free, but can’t touch either series in any way. If you really need a sports fix, watch one of those. Or go play a game of foosball—I guarantee you’ll have a better time.

Futsal Boys!!!! (complete with all five “!”‘s) can be streamed on Funimation.

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