Name: Prince of Stride: Alternative
Genre: Sports, Comedy, Drama
Director: Atsuko Ishizuka
Original Airtime: January 5, 2016 – March 23 , 2016
Prince of Stride is about an extreme form of sport known as “Stride” which is a combination of relay race and parkour. It involves 6 players on a team that runs relay races in specifically designed courses through towns. The story takes place at Honan Academy where first year high school students Takeru Fujiwara and Nana Sakurai try to recruit members for their “Stride” club. They request Riku Yagami to join with the help of Takeru and Nana. Their goal is to compete and win the “End of Summer,” a top competition hosted in Japan alongside other schools.
Before I begin, let me clear up a misconception about this show. Even though Prince of Stride was adapted from an ‘Otome Game’ by Kadokawa Games and Vridge for the PlayStation Vita, the anime is NOT a reverse harem. In fact there is no type of romance present in the anime. It’s a plain, straight up sports anime with Bishounen elements similar to Free!
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about story. The story of Prince of Stride is simple. It’s about winning the national tournament and coming out on top by working hard together as a team and overcoming physical and mental limitations. Nothing more, nothing less. And that is what I love about the anime. They did not over-complicate things. They kept it on point, straight forward and wrapped it up beautifully within 12 episodes. Each episode was equally enjoyable and it was consistent throughout the season. Be it with blood pumping Stride matches or with comedy, Prince of Stride kept it entertaining and every episode had something to offer. There was no pacing issues whatsoever. Overall Prince of Stride is the kind of anime you can finish in one sitting, enjoy without using your head too much, have some laughs and intense moments, and come out satisfied in the end.
The main cast of Prince of Stride is all male except for the one female protagonist. Just like most otome games. All the men are charming and good-looking. Just like most bishounen anime. The characters were ‘okay’. They were not unique. Every character trait you see in this show has been done before. Aside from the main trio Nana, Takeru and Riku there were a few main characters. My favorite was comic duo Ayumu (the shogi nerd) and Hozumi (the too feminine to be a guy). Takeru’s over seriousness made way for some very enjoyable comedy moments as well. The leader Heath and the ever mysterious Kuga were great supporting characters as well.
In terms of character development, Prince of Stride does not do very well. Every character developed over the course of the show in terms of physical improvement and in terms of relationship dynamic with the other characters. But the only character that showed true development in Prince of Stride was Riku. His conflict with his older brother and his inner insecurities had made him resent the sport but he had to overcome that mental barrier and insecurities as well as repair his relationship with his brother in order to fulfill his childhood promise with Takeru and Nana. These dynamics gave Riku the most weight in Prince of Stride as a character.
Here are some notable characters from the anime:
The animation of Prince of Stride was very good, as expected of Madhouse. Their signature use of contrasting colors and flashy animation was evident throughout the show. You knew it was a Madhouse production just by looking at the first few moments of the anime.
On the other hand I had some complaints about the art of Prince of Stride. There were places where the characters looked really low quality and shoddy like mere pencil scribbles, kind of like Dragon Ball Super. Other than that, the visuals were gorgeous and it was very beautiful to look at.
Here are some screenshots from the anime:
The music in Prince of Stride was good. All the background score were nicely composed and complemented the anime. Most of the soundtracks were upbeat and techno-ish and went very well with the blood rushing stride races. Jin Aketagawa did a great job with music direction. I really liked the opening theme of Prince of Stride, ‘Stride’ by OxT. The ending theme ‘Be my steady’ by Galaxy Standard was enjoyable too.
I would rate Prince of Stride high in terms of enjoyment. They did not overdo things and kept the pacing steady. In fact Prince of Stride is one of the most consistent anime of the season. Every episode was equally enjoyable. The ending of the show is very predictable yet satisfying. They did not over-dramatize the races and showed only as much as needed to keep it entertaining. I mean yes, the sports matches are the most important aspects of a sports anime but let’s be real guys, it gets annoying at one point when one basketball match takes 10 episodes to end (Shots Fired). Please don’t kill me, I love Kuroko no Basuke and Slam Dunk.
Overall Prince of Stride had a sort of balance and consistency that most anime nowadays lack which makes it a very enjoyable show and perfect for binge watching in one go!
Prince of Stride is a good anime. It may not be the best of the season, it may not be even in my top 5 of the season, but it was enjoyable. I had a good time watching this show and came out satisfied in the end. It’s not anything special, nor is it thought provoking. Yet was a good anime and a breath of fresh air. And these type of anime are important. That is why I will remember Prince of Stride and recommend everyone to watch it.