Iwakakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls (Episode 12) – The Road to Best in Japan
It’s time for the finals and so far Konomi, Jun, and Nonoka have done well, but will they be able to keep up with Anne Kurusu and her team of climbers? If ever there was a time to focus, it’s now!
In the finals, the climbers go through the different obstacles as one group and first up is the speed-wall and Konomi goes head to head with Anne Kurusu. Konomi puts in everything she has and gets a new personal best, but it’s not enough. Anne smashes the wall and takes an early lead. After the bouldering, Anne Kurusu is still in the lead, but thanks to good performances from Konomi, Jun, and Nonoka, there’s a chance for them still to take the team trophy. It’s all coming down to the final event.
As the leader, Anne Kurusu gets to attempt the wall first and she really attacks it. However, she may have gone too hard too fast and slips on the final grip. It doesn’t seem to matter though as no one else is able to even get close to that height. The final team to go is the Hanayama team. Jun goes first and makes it to the grip below Anne Kurusu. It’s a good start. Nonoka goes next and reflects on the training she did with Sayo. She pushes hard and equals Anne Kurusu.
This sets up Konomi as the final climber of the competition and she has a chance to win it all by sending the wall that no one else has been able to defeat. She pushes on, climbing higher and higher. She passes Jun and then reaches the point that defeated Nonoka and Anne Kurusu. It’s a tough one as she’s going to have to jump. Amazingly, Konomi reaches the final grab and manages to hold on, completing the wall and winning the team trophy.
What did you think?
Firstly, I have really enjoyed this series and this episode finished on an amazing if predictable note. That said, I really wish they had given more time to the tournament. Another sports series from earlier in the year – Tamayomi was nowhere near as good as this series, but it managed to redeem itself with its final arc which followed one game of baseball. I feel like we’ve been cheated out of a lot of great climbing action and I can’t help but look back at the episodes that sagged in the middle of the season.
I was also quite disappointed to see Anne Kurusu taking on the role of queen bitch mostly because I don’t think you need a character like that. Both Hinomaru Sumo and Harukana Receive have shown us that it’s possible to have an engaging sports anime without the Hanebado level evil villain character. I just really wish we’d seen more climbing.
What have you learnt?
One thing to note quickly is how defined Konomi’s muscles have become over the series. That’s a nice bit of attention to detail and it’s the small things that make the experience that much more enjoyable. A lot of it will go unnoticed by most, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had an impact. Much like writing a story, the small details will bring the story and the world to life. Just like building a detailed character profile will help you as a writer, even if most of the details never get into the story. They help you to understand your characters and make their progress consistent… like developing some seriously lean muscles.
Other reviews in the series
- Season One
- Episode 1 – Rocky Puzzle
- Episode 2 – Believe in Yourself
- Episode 3 – The Anti-Monkey Rock
- Episode 4 – Powerhouse Climbers
- Episode 5 – Hard Work and Talent
- Episode 6 – Unbelievable Ability
- Episode 7 – Failure of a Climber
- Episode 8 – Tears of Disappointment
- Episode 9 – The Princess of Climbing
- Episode 10 – Restart!
- Episode 11 – The 15 Second Wall
- Episode 12 – The Road to Best in Japan
“That said, I really wish they had given more time to the tournament.”
Iwakakeru has suffered from pacing problems all season… And really, that killed 90% of my potential enjoyment.
You’re not wrong. When it was good, I loved it, but the focus seemed to wander about and do it’s own thing rather than zero in on Konomi and show us her journey. It’s hard to work out where all the time went for a twelve episode season.