SK8 the infinity which premiered on January 10th is an anime original skateboarding adaptation that strikes as one of the most modern and forward-thinking anime of the winter 2021 season. A true technical achievement that could only have come from the mind of Hiroko Utsumi (Banana Fish, Free!), the pen of Ichiro Okouchi (Devilman Crybaby, Code Geass), and the combined staff talent of studio Bones. Sk8 the infinity celebrates every step and bale of the painful journey every real skater takes in pursuit of their art in its first few episodes.
Reki Kyan is the protagonist of SK8 the infinity but unlike other protagonists, he is not a prodigy and he doesn’t master remarkable skills. Though he is in love with skating, he lacks talent in front of other legends on the underground skating competition better known as ‘S’.
During the narration of this character, creator Utsumi forces the idea: What makes one happy? This character, Reki finds happiness through skating, thrill, and danger the sports bring. This description might sound somewhat boring but the eventual moment of self-realization makes the show thrilling to its core.
Initially, it seems like it’s going to be relatively normal with a somewhat inexperienced skater, Reki that works at a local skate shop. One day he comes across Langa, a foreign student who joins up at the skate shop for some extra money. Reki looking for a skating buddy starts to teach him how to skate, and eventually, they become friends. But when Langa not only ends up competing in the S but performing exceptional due to his snowboarding background the plot becomes complex.
Highly illegal, highly dangerous skateboarding track produces such superstar whom Reki will never be on the same level with. SK8 the infinity chooses to showcase how Reki and Langa’s friendship deepens along with naturally changing passion. Langa, who is the prodigy for this particular show, wants to surpass each barrier and challenge every great skater. As for Reki, he realizes that he may never be the best at what he loves, skating.
In episode 8, Reki witnesses a TV interview which provides him a bit of motivation. The interviewee is a track runner who found his passion in shoemaking, he might not be the best in what he always wanted to be but his present job supports other athletes and he finds happiness in doing so and doesn’t need anything fancy to be happy. Similarly, Reki is best when he makes skateboards for Langa apart from skateboarding. Now Reiki has to decide how will go back to those days when he enjoyed the sports for the adventure imbued in it and not worry about his talent for others?
It is enriched with top-notch action. The animation style of SK8 the infinity is refreshing. The series carries the audience along with the ‘hand in hand’ animation style while the characters are skating. It provides a skateboarding video game setup with the refreshing animation style, stunts, visuals, and nostalgic 2000s skating culture vibes. But if you are looking for a real skating anime, this really isn’t it, very little of the actual skating performance performed in the anime is probably even possible.
So all in all SK8 the infinity is a fine experiment in a sport that really hasn’t been given any attention in anime. It is a fantastic anime to just sit back and enjoy.