Konomi is looking for a club to join and wants to try to be a bit more active than her past exploits as a gamer. When she stumbles upon the sport climbing club, she thinks she may have found exactly what she’s looking for!
What did you watch?
As soon as I saw the promo image for this series, I knew that I would have to watch it. I’ve loved climbing since I was very young and my mother often tells the story that if she ever lost me, she knew that she just had to look up and there I would be – in a tree, up a wall, whatever. If it could be climbed, I would be on it. So, seeing what of my earliest loves merging with my ever-present love of anime filled me with lots of warm and fuzzy feelings. Anyhow, let’s get on with the review which will contain spoilers.
So, Konomi joined the sport climbing club, although she had to prove she was truly interested before she could fully join. With that out of the way, it was time to learn all about climbing, but not before taking part in a quick tournament. There’s nothing quite like trial by fire to get someone new fully into a sport. There, Konomi got to see just how skilled her new teammates were and how much she had to learn if she was to get better.
Before long, Konomi had developed a real bug for the sport, and after an impressive display in a tournament where she made it to the finals despite being completely unknown, the sport really started to open up to her. Of course, this recognition came with some unwanted attention from the current number one climber who didn’t want some new girl muscling in on her fame.
What did you think?
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It did have a bit of a saggy middle, especially how we had two almost identical stories with different girls in back to back episodes. When the series focused on the climbing and training it was great and I found myself getting really caught up in the action and techniques. There was one other thing that annoyed me and I’ll get into that in a little bit. On the whole, though, it was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun sports anime to watch.
What was your favourite moment?
While we didn’t see nearly enough climbing in the final competition, it did a great job of setting up the final segment which was my favourite part of the series. Anne Kurusu, the number one climber was all set to win the individual trophy, but the team trophy was still up for grabs. The way it worked out, all three of the Hanamiya climbers were set to climb the final challenge last and victory was in their grasp. It wasn’t going to be easy, but there was a chance.
Each of the climbers stepped up and put all of their training to the test, showing how they’d grown through the series. After a couple of great efforts from Jun and Nonoka, it was Konomi’s turn to take on the wall that no one had managed to send. Of course, Konomi did it and secured the team trophy. It was always going to be that way, but it was a great feeling seeing it happen.
What was your least favourite moment?
I first got into watching sports anime when Harukana Receive aired back in the Summer of 2018. At the same time, I was also watching Hanebado. These are two very different series. While Harukana focused on the positive side of sports and competition, Hanebado spiralled into a world of bitterness and ultra-competitiveness. Naturally, I enjoyed Harukana far more. After that, I discovered Hinomaru Sumo and once more was won over by the love of the sport and the friendships made. What I’m saying is I really don’t have much time for the jerk athlete character type any more.
So, as you might have guessed, that was the thing that really annoyed me with Iwakakeru, especially as it didn’t look like that was going to be a thing for most of the series. There were mini rivalries and they were enough to keep everything going, but then Anne Kurusu waltzed in and pissed me off. It’s an element of sport that I’ve always had a problem with and seeing it pop up and take the sheen off a show I was enjoying, even with the pacing issues, was really frustrating.
Who was your favourite character?
I found Konomi to be the most interesting character and that was largely down to the fact that she was the main character and the one learning the new sport. You got to see her coming up against obstacle after obstacle and trying to puzzle her way through things. I really liked how they gave her a background in puzzle gaming and used that to set her off with an advantage in the world of sport climbing. I would have liked to see more of the Hanamiya team doing stuff as a team as that was probably the second most appealing part of the series, which was never truly explored beyond some images in the OP.
Who was your least favourite character?
This seems kind of obvious and I don’t care. Not only did Anne Kurusu act in an unprofessional manner, but she also had the most annoying catchphrase that her fans would parrot back to her over and over and over. Her level of pettiness and snide remarks to Konomi did absolutely nothing to make the series more enjoyable. If anything, I just wanted to see her fall off the wall and out of the show completely.
Would you like some more?
I actually would like some more. It’s not every day that an anime about climbing appears and when the girls were climbing, it was a lot of fun. I could probably watch twelve episodes with just climbing montages, but that’s just me. Overall the series suffered from some pacing issues that made certain elements quite forgettable and when you think back over the series, it’s hard to see where the time went. I also think the length of time it tried to cover was a little too ambitious for a twelve-episode series, especially as the final competition deserved at least three episodes dedicated to it.
What have you learnt?
I mentioned it in the episode reviews and I’ll mention it again. Work out what your strengths are and focus on that. For this series, it was the climbing and the friendships within the team. The rivalries and strange decisions to not show climbing segments hurt the show. Had they focused on the stronger aspects and given them the time it deserved, this could have been a really good series. Far better than it was. Always play to your strengths.
Other Posts 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