Recommend : NO
Does it surprise anyone? Two individual reviewers on here reviewed the series and neither of them had much good to say about it.
So what went wrong?
I personally didn’t go into the reviews hating it because Luc did. I’ve said through the Cheer Danshi!! reviews that a lot of sports anime get compared to Free! (whose second season Final Thoughts was the one out before this go figure!) and whereas Free! tended to pace everything out perfectly, bonded you to a team and focused at the right time on the right drama, ending in spectacular ways (I might not have liked the ending to season 1 but it was, if anything, spectacular) and making you want more.
Prince of Stride didn’t do that.
It had a wonderful cast of characters that you could easily fall in love with and it can’t all be down to bad writing because the show made you fall in love with another team who were hardly in the series. It just let its focus wander too much.
One moment we’ll be hearing about how important the End of Summer was to people for various different reasons. Then the show narrowed and narrowed until beating Saisei wasn’t important, or winning wasn’t important. It narrowed until the final became so unimportant you didn’t even get to see what happened.
Artistically it might have been a great ending BUT the episode before the end of the season just blew it out of the water and made you wonder why they bothered.
They stopped trying to bond certain characters and when they had the whole team that could win, eliminating the weakest character who actually had the biggest heart seeing he only truly joined them so they could keep his club alive too, the focus narrowed to three.
Takeru, Riku and Nana.
Add in the stupid story in the penultimate episode that they knew each other as kids and had promised to win EOS together and forgotten about it and you ended up with the most ridiculous waste of characters I’ve seen.
It made me sad and it made me angry.
It started off pretty good, I give anything at least 5 episode to impress me. I actually finished the series at the time, I didn’t give up like Luc did and not watch it, in fact neither did he he just gave up writing about it. The ending didn’t live up to expectations though.
That is why its a big no-no.
12 episodes isn’t a commitment too difficult to make but I don’t feel like I could recommend someone sitting down to watch it, no matter how fast its over, when the ending is so poor.
I’ll sound like a broken record but they had a whole episode dedicated to the Semi-Final and it worked. It worked because this friendly rivalry had been played up all season long. With their rivals out of the way we then had to focus on a team that was only dramatically there because two people in the team were related to two people in our team. The problem was they only half heartedly built up any relationship drama there.
THEN the final episode didn’t even focus on the race.
It didn’t even focus on “this is where we came from” it sucked all drama out with a silly opening, watching them train and get moany about starting positions and THEN had some dramatic speeches and flashbacks over the top of the actual race and putting half the team at the back of the viewers minds.
My problems run from lack of character development to total bullshit stories being crowbarred in.
They had no warmth, no real drama, no real need for the audience to feel like they need to cheer them on.
It never committed to anything. It seemed to want to go deeper into the sports part of the genre and stay away from anything else but then suddenly realised there was no story if you didn’t get away from the sports aspect so carelessly added more and more random stories in.
The characters I cared about, which was all of them other then the main three, became nothing but “making up the numbers” and it hurt because you CARED about Kuga and Heath and you LOVED Kadowaki and Kohinata. Takeru was a terrible character with no depth and never gained any either, Riku was meant to be his depth but was a mess of a character and Nana walked around the place 9 times out of 10 like she hadn’t had a thought in that pretty little head ever. There was a whole team of people that you couldn’t help but fall in love with there just to give those three some depth and still they lacked any real character. It was like all three had to make up one person of emotion/backstory/etc…
It didn’t work.
So whilst Free! made you fall in love with the team and want to see them do well and currently Cheer Danshi! has made you fall in love with MORE characters (double that in Prince of Stride) and hope for the best Prince of Stride, for me at least, even failed to make me care about the characters they wanted me to care for.
Cheap story cliches, stories that went no where or meant nothing.
The best parts of the story was the comedy moments and they rarely involved the main three.
I felt like it was a waste of potential.