Manga of the Month: Giant Killing

Giant Killing by Masaya Tsunamoto and Tsujitomo

narutaki_icon_4040_round Ah, to return to Giant Killing is quite a thrill! And one I never expected to have for a long (43 books and counting) serious soccer manga.

I say serious not because the manga is terribly gritty but because Giant Killing is about more than just the players vying for a championship. The story tackles characters in every facet of the sport: coach, player, manager, owner, PR coordinator, reporter, fans young and old. This panoramic view of the soccer scene is what makes the series so intriguing.

Giant Killing’s basic plot sounds like a classic: washed-up team is revitalized by new unconventional coach who previously betrayed the team many years before when he was their star player. Coach Tatsumi brings a lot of baggage and drama into the lives he upends by returning to his former team. But he is good at what he does, is smart, and has enough charm to make it work.

Shifting the focus to the coach already makes Giant Killing feeling a little bit different from many other sports manga we’ve had the chance to experience in English. Then the series does one better and spreads the focus to so many other characters which makes it a standout.

~ kate


Go Love Giant Killing Again (or For the First Time)

Giant Killing was my favorite show of 2010 so to say I recommend it heartily is a bit of an understatement. Sadly the series has never gotten a home video release in the states, but that comes as little surprise since it is a sports series. It was streamed by Crunchyroll however during the transition to almost everything being simulcast. I was so excited to see each week’s episode! But now it is being removed from the CR site so I’m watching it again and so should you before November 9th.

Need some convincing?

The soccer isn’t what compelled me so thoroughly. I can’t remember ever watching a match of soccer before Giant Killing. In fact, if anything I’d say the show actually got me curious about the sport as opposed to the other way around. Don’t mistake liking sports anime to being a fan of said sport.

It is Giant Killing’s unique perspective shifted from star player or young genius and instead focuses us an ensemble cast with the coach at the center. Everyone involved when it comes to sports from the players to the fans, from the press to the managing staff is a part of this story. Hisui and I wrote an article about that very thing; Giant Killing is about a group of people and how they work together.

Giant Killing is a character story that also happens to have really great bouts of soccer.

Also awesome opening.

The Show Must Go On

Your reaction to the ending of a series can be as varied as stars in the sky. By the end some  shows will make you laugh, cry, scream, scratch your head, or even wonder what feeling you have at all. At times you will fondly find catharsis in a series that comes to a satisfying conclusion while others will make you glad you never have to watch another episode of such a train wreck. But since anime can be nothing more than very elaborate commercial for a manga series you will sometimes get a show that just abruptly ends and assumes that you will run down to your local book store and get the conclusion there. Other times production decisions will cutting off a story before it can reach its scheduled resolution. This week we will be looking at five anime that for one reason or another ended at a place that left us both wanting more. We will also each pick one series the other has not seen as bonus as well.

In my earlier days, I remember watching shows and not knowing if there was more, or often assuming there was more because how could you end the story there! Of course I have since come to realize this happens a lot, you get just a taste, wish for more, and never do get it. So this is a celebration of titles that we want more of being aware that it might or more than likely might not happen. This is just the beginning of a list that certainly has many more titles to come.

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