First Impression: Fanfare of Adolescence

Yu Arimura, idol name “Otonashi,” is quitting his work as an idol. During a press conference, he explains his decision, reaching out his hand toward a beautifully animated vision of racing horses. Not everybody is happy about this, and echoes of heated discussions keep playing in his head as he approaches the jockey academy. There, his classmates comment on the school grounds being full of journalists. One angry redhead doesn’t like it a bit, while the elegant heir of a jockey family thinks the media attention is positive. A brown-haired guy is a fan of Yu, and a short-haired girl laments that the arrival of the first female jockey in a while, namely herself, will go unnoticed. Meanwhile, Yu gets lost in the woods due to the failure of his maps app, but is guided out by a vision of a horse. When he finally arrives at the academy, matters are further complicated by the escape of two other horses, a mysterious classmate with a fisherman’s hat and a skill for connecting with his mount, and the ominous Mrs. President, who is not prepared to let Yu leave his life as an idol.

Well, well. As someone who enjoyed Silver Spoon‘s horsemanship arc, I’m happy to say that Fanfare of Adolescence looks as if it will be pulling some of the same strings. The animation is beautiful, the soundtrack is amazing, the pacing is great, and I can actually tell the characters apart (except for the two long-haired guys). The mystical element of the phantom horses, which seems to connect with a legend known to the instructors, is intriguing as well. I loved how Twin Spica used its own luminous phantoms, and the animation surrounding the metaphoric (or supernatural?) visions is just great. That said, I must confess that I don’t find Yu’s dilemma all that compelling. The whole thing is giving me Tsurune vibes, though I was mostly unable to connect with the sentimental drama of Tsurune. There’s also what looks to be a BL tease/fanservice scene, too, with a vision of a tornado of pink flowers all around the place. So, despite all its undeniable virtues, this story could lose me quickly. We’ll see.

Fanfare of Adolescence can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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