Prince of Stride: Alternative Episode 12: End of Summer – And Beyond (Final Impressions)
Hmm, you don’t say.
Look at them run.
Whoa, surprise ending!
If you can’t tell how sarcastic I’m being, then you haven’t read my other reviews. We have finally made it to the end of this anime, the, ahem…End of Summer, to be exact. It’s the time the team, and the main three characters, have been waiting for. But at the last minute of their training, they decide to change the order of the runners. Instead of being the starter, Takeru proposed for Riku to be the anchor. And who’s the anchor of team Kakyoin? Tomoe, of course. Takeru knows that Riku will run his best when running with Tomoe and that it has to be this way. Riku also begs the team to change the order, and they all agree with some hesitancy from Heath. And so then they practice extra harder for the new running order, because they have never practiced with Riku as anchor or in any different order really. So with the competition a couple weeks away, we get what we always get in a sports anime. A training montage! After all that we see the team in the club room, Riku talking about his excitement and nervousness about the race ahead of them, and they’re all pumped up.
It’s then the day of the race arrives. We see past characters again, such as Saisei saying good luck and other stuff. We also see the past teams such as the green team and the shitty pink team, all cheering for Honan. They all take their places and this is the moment when Riku finally confronts his brother properly.
The race starts, and while it starts we hear Riku talking to Tomoe about how he pretended to hate Stride but would always skip the bus and run to school, how he met great people in the team, how he’s changed, all the emotions in the sport or something, and all of that. He’s now more confident and is ready to race his brother. He tells Tomoe not to go easy on him, and Tomoe replied that he never went easy on him when running. And…well yeah. I knew that too. It was just Riku’s insecurities getting in the way, Tomoe never did anything wrong. But hey here we are. So Takeru also gets his own monologue talking about how Stride is important to him, especially Riku (and Nana being mentioned a little) because Riku helped him find something he wanted to do in life and….I’ll talk about this later.
It’s finally Riku’s turn to run with Tomoe, and everyone shouts their words of encouragement and stuff and…we don’t even get to see the end of the race. It skips us seeing them at the finish line, and it just jumps back to Nana running to school and playing the same scene from the first episode with the boys jumping the fence and Riku rolling into the tree. The three of them go to the club room where Heath and Ayumu play Shogi, and Kuga’s reading a beginner’s book of the game with Hozumi next to him. Everyone is happy and Nana shouts to make another great day, and they all leave to practice. While they walk out we get a view of a magazine on their table, and then the camera zooms in to the page where it says Honan High School won the End of Summer.
And their story continues…I guess.
Berry’s Final Impression
Prince of Stride: Alternative. I’m still not sure what the Alternative in the title is supposed to mean. That this is an alternative to other sports anime you can watch? Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to watch this again. I mean what happened? Madhouse, why?! After a commercial success from One Punch Man, and also getting good feedback from handling Ore Monogatari (even though I wasn’t a fan, read my reviews here if you haven’t), Madhouse had a pretty good run last year (I was not a fan of Overlord either). But the pain of Prince of Stride being a flop is even more worse when the last thing Madhouse did was One Punch Man, which was insane. I’m a huge fan of Madhouse, as they’ve made a myriad of amazing shows. So Prince of Stride not being good was…disappointing. I had a lot of high hopes for this show and was really excited and was ultimately let down by my favorite studio. What are the problems with this show?
Well, Prince of Stride was the adaptation of a visual novel, an otome game. And when people commented telling us that, I was surprised, and I’m still surprised. For the anime they took out the romance and instead focused on the sport. And from other things people have told us, they took little drama things from the game and inserted them in weird spots in the anime, leaving some drama to be talked about once and then that’s it. I guess the plot of this show, like any other sports anime, is win the main tournament. Along the way to reach this goal they’re going to have drama. And the drama was not good, simply put. Sometimes, it was downright laughable. Such as the incident with the Stride club losing popularity in the school because of the incident that took place with Heath and Kuga, and the stupid misunderstanding.
I’ll start with the one good drama. Ayumu, who was reduced to comic relief. He had real problems. He originally the lone member of the Shogi club but was then dragged into the Stride club. He’s not the most athletic, but he’s still good enough to keep up with the others. But he still didn’t feel good enough and thought himself of a nuisance, and when he wanted to prove himself useful to the team, that led to him getting hurt and having to stop running. I thought Ayumu’s problem was handled well, but again I can’t feel for him too much as the focus on him shifted away, so that sucks.
Ayumu’s problem led to the next, with the dumb situation with Kuga. We all know what happened, but we spent like two episodes with all this crap where Riku was the only smart one saying “Hey, who cares? Those mean third years aren’t here anymore, so come back to the team?” All they needed to do was explain what really happened, and then that would be it. But they had to drag everything out, and it was unnecessary and also kind of funny, in a bad way.
Riku’s drama with Tomoe…please. It wasn’t that Tomoe was an awful brother, because he wasn’t. He was actually very kind and sweet, and he always cheered on his little brother and encouraged him. It was just Riku trying to git gud and failing at it.
Also, the childhood thing? With Riku, Nana, and Takeru? I’m sorry but it frustrated me. No, I’m not believing that Riku and Nana didn’t recognize each other after only 6 years. They looked exactly the same as children, Nana had the same hairstyle! They…looked…the…same. And like Charibo had said, how could they forget such an important promise such as going to the same high school together and going to the EOS? How did they lose communication with each other since then as they looked to be such close friends? In the final race, Takeru had his own internal monologue, saying things that he promised Riku he’d win. But then all of a sudden he starts talking about how important Riku is to him because he was the one that got him into Stride, he found something he wanted to do because of Riku, he was moved by his serious emotions in his Relation, but you know the problem with everything he said in that moment? HE NEVER SAID ANY OF THIS BEFORE. AND NOT ONCE DID I EVER SEE TAKERU FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT RIKU. He barely said all of this now, in the finale, when he was distant with Riku for a long time. He never showed it! It’s just like the insert song in the show that they play 1000 times in their races says…
YOU GOTTA SHOW ME
Characters were another problem. The characters were flat, dull, boring, uninteresting, you can insert any other synonym of “boring” here. I could not feel for any of them, except maybe Ayumu. I thought Nana was the main character, but the poor girl was ignored. The characters were just so bland that I couldn’t really get attached to any of them, even Heath. Not even Heath could save this show. The dumb drama hurt the characters as well.
Madhouse being known for great animation, it wasn’t shown here. The animation was mediocre at best, and sometimes it looked downright ugly. Sometimes the colors could be a little too bright. I felt like they could have done better with the races, like show us different dynamic angles of their legs, since Stride is a sport that’s all about running. Speaking of Stride…
WHAT THE HELL IS STRIDE? I get it’s like an extreme version of track and field, but just what is it? There are things I don’t get about it. The races contain obstacles where the runners can jump over, run off of walls, and other showy things with their parkour. But there doesn’t seem to be a point to it. The thing that I got out of all these 12 episodes is that speed matters because they only counted time. The fastest team wins. But why add obstacles? Such as with hurdle races, you jump the hurdles and cross the finish line. But with Stride, as we saw with Ayumu, you can just skip the obstacles because it’s optional. So why are they there in the first place? If crossing the obstacles were mandatory, then it’d make sense. Or if Stride was about points, and you could only get points from doing something with the obstacles, then okay! But…no, none of that is there. And even though the anime was supposed to focus more on the sport aspect, I thought that they really did fail with this.
I’m done with this show. I’m literally done with this show. Dumb drama, boring characters, confusing sport, lackluster animation, Prince of Stride did not deliver. Not even the A+ cast could save this show. We have Junichi Suwabe, Daisuke Ono, Ryouhei Kimura, the infamous Kana Hanazawa, even more, you have the best of the best here, and the show was still shit. 4/10, it was disappointing. There are other great sports anime you can watch instead of this so I recommend that you don’t bother.
Thanks for keeping up with this show with us!
Charibo’s Final thoughts
You know, sometimes in life you need to stop running away from your problems and need to finally face them once and for all in order to solve them or if you cannot solve them, to burn them with fire. That’s how I feel after watching the last episode of Prince Of stride. I’ve tried to avoid the problem for too long. Thinking that I was the one misunderstanding the show and thinking that “it’ll be okay, things will work out fine in the end”. But it didn’t. I did not work out well in the end. The end of this show left me with the impression of a giant middle finger, telling me: “ Oooh, you’re still here? You really thought it was going to get better? You thought everything will make sense in the end? Ahaahahah you’re so naïve child. Fuck you, you’ll get no reward for wasting your time on this show.”
So that’s it. Prince of Stride has finally ended after 12 weeks… 5 hours. This show took 5 hours of my non precious time. And you know what? I’m quite pissed off. I don’t mind spending time watching stuff that I like. HunterxHunter took me 61 hours of my life, I spent 31 hours watching high school guys playing Baseball and I did not even know the rules of baseball at the time. But I don’t regret spending them watching it… But I do regret for Prince of Stride. Why? Because it was bad, so I’m mad. Let’s end this once and for all, I’ll close the POS case and put in in a shelf with lots of locks on it, next to Diabolik Lovers, Boku no Pico, Mars of Destruction and other shit Harem anime cases.
Art: First, I thought it was king of refreshing. The fluo colors everywhere were a bit disturbing for my poor eyes not used to the light, since I live under a rock but after a while I actually thought those colors were kind of nauseating. The animation quality also dropped a lot around the middle of the show. The characters were drawn quickly and faces became derpy. It’s a bishounen show, how can you explain that expect from Heath and Reiji, I don’t find the guys attractive? Well, the art has a lot to play in it… In the end, the guys were closer to some kind of noodles than actual humans. And I’m not so sure about their faces proportions too…
Sound: MEH, MEH and MEH again. I’m not the biggest fan of that kind of music. I don’t even know which kind of music it is… Anyway, the music was here trying to get me pumped for the races but I couldn’t care… The same tracks were used all the time especially the annoying ” You’ve got to show me” one. You know what? Don’t, don’t show me anything. I don’t want to.
Story: Ok, so the line is pretty basic but I wasn’t expecting much. It’s a sports anime after all. But here, it’s not working. I don’t know who to blame. Should we blame the Otome game for having a bad story or the anime for making the bad choices regarding the different routes’s adaption? Thing is, Prince of Stride was falling between two stools or like we say in French, it had its “ass between two chairs”. On one side we had the sport aspect and on the other side the Otome/drama part. While the stride part was put before everything else in the first episodes, the anime focused on the Otome/side plot on the last episodes. I found the races not trilling at all. I was bored watching them. It was fun at the beginning but it got boring after a while. To be honest I hate running in general since I don’t see the point but that’s just me. I also hate Ping pong and swimming but I liked watching Free and Ping Pong the animation. Here, the striding part bored me to death. Also like Berry said, what the actual hell is stride? But it’s not like I care now…
Then, the Otome/ drama part… God, that, THAT WAS THE WORST PART. The whole “Kuga hurt Heath” to protect the club left me wondering “Why? Who cares?”, the brother inferiority complex was unnecessary, I grew up to hate Riku during that part, Nana’s father part was just ” ugggn, why?!” and the childhood stuff killed me… NO… Actually I was dead before, but without knowing it… The childhood stuff found my body and stabbed it with a silver fork… I’ve already explained why it was lame and unbelievable in my last review and Berry made a pretty good job summarizing the problem with that part so I’ll just leave it there. Drama= WORST PART
Characters: When you watch a reverse Harem anime you’re kind of expecting the main heroine to be a limp noodle, since you’re supposed to identify with her. I’ve never thought it was a compliment though but that’s not the point. In reverse Harem animes, the attention is actually focused on the guys. So you have to give them nice personalities and stuff otherwise there’ll be nothing left to save in your show. Well, in POS, that’s the case. There’s nothing left to save. Nana is useless and invisible, is she even their friend, I’m not so sure… And the guys are boring too. They are not attractive nor funny. I’ve said that Reiji was the best guy and I still think he’s the best guy of the show but against some other guys from other animes he won’t stand a chance. He’s mostly the best guy because he’s not involved in some shit drama.
Final Note: 4/10
It’s a bit harsh, I know. But I don’t like seeing people shouting everywhere that this anime was good since it wasn’t. Honestly, I think the only target audience for the show was the shipping Yaoi fans… Other than that I don’t see who can enjoy this. It was technically bad, the episodes were poorly written and the characters are just forgettable. Other than being shipping material Prince of Stride was nothing, it was a shittier version of Free. Like, Free: Shit Parkour edition.