Giant Killing is a very serious sports series that is produced by Studio Deen. I am the kind of person that enjoys watching sports more than any other thing in this world. I am more of a football fan, but soccer is a really good sport and I do enjoy sports manga/anime. Now, Eyeshield 21 and Prince of Tennis are very dramatized versions of their respective sports and, while Kuroko no Basuke is close to real basketball, there is a lot of comedy going on in the series. The thing that really surprised me about Giant Killing is the fact that the series portrays professional soccer in a very realistic fashion.
Imagine that you have grown up loving your local soccer team. Your parents took you to the games and you have that lucky jersey that you save for game days. However, your team doesn’t always seem to love you back. Unfortunately it has been years since your team has been competitive, but you can’t just turn your back on them. You see that the players always play tough and that there is just something missing. The general manager decides it is time for a change so he hires the former ace of the organization as a coach. The guy seems a little arrogant and he starts to change everything including the line ups. This angers the fans and confuses the players, but Rome wasn’t built-in a day. This is Giant Killing. The act of giant killing essentially means to pull a david and goliath by taking your little team and beating the powers in the league. When Tatsumi returns to his old team after a stint as a heralded coach in Europe, the culture at East Tokyo United is starting to see some change. ETU is a small club that does not have the deep pockets that the other teams have, but that does not mean the team can’t win games. The series revolves around Tatsumi’s coaching methods that must be followed by everyone in the ETU organization.
Obviously in such a realistic soccer anime the entire team and organization get highlighted as recurring characters. However, there is no ay that I am going to feature them al in this section because no one wants to read that much when they come to my reviews. So, I will highlight the important characters only. Tatsumi is the current coach and former ace of ETU. With a mix of arrogance and great tactics Tatsumi has the very realistic goal of making ETU a giant killer. Tsubaki is a rookie on the team with great stamina and speed. Unfortunately Tsubaki is very shy and he doubts himself so he is a work in progress at the midfielder position. Murakoshi is the captain of the team and a veteran midfielder. Murakoshi shows his maturity by making sure that the team follows even the most controversial decisions of the new coach. Gino is the only international player on the team due to the lack of money that ETU has. The Italian born player is a very skilled midfielder, but he s lazy and doesn’t always try his best in matches. Kuroda is an angry guy that often butts heads with Tatsumi. Even though he is a hot head, Kuroda is a very skilled defender which makes him the key to Tatsumi’s defense oriented soccer. There are obviously more players from ETU and other teams, but if you are that interested in the other characters, then watch the anime.
I really enjoyed this series. The very realistic approach that the series is taking is very unique in the sports anime genre and that makes me very happy. We get a look into the struggles that a small club faces when the league doesn’t really have a salary cap and that makes for some good drama. The animation during games is actually very nice and that is what sports anime has over sports manga in most cases. This is obviously a more serious series which is nice because I can’t keep watching tennis shots that don’t bounce and perfectly accurate three pointers from full court.
Giant Killing definitely deserves your time. The serious nature of the series should not only appeal to fans of the sports genre, but also have the ability to grab your average anime fan. There is no DVD release in North America so you would have to probably watch it online. I would really like a second season which is possible because the manga for the series is still ongoing. However, I don’t think the series is being released frequently enough for us to see a second season anytime soon. Read the manga if you are itching for more. Please support this series so that people will make more like it.