“SK8 The Infinity is an entertaining and moving series featuring endearing characters. Reki and Langa’s relationship is the beating heart of the story, it’s characters you can only get attached to. Furthermore, SK8 features a marvellous animation!”
2021 has been an amazing year for anime with plenty of surprises. And there’s still more to come before 2022. Every year there’s dozens of new anime but everything is not worth watching, just as with the US TV series. Though, there’s been a clear winner among the novelties and it’s SK8 The Infinity.
It’s an original series that had its premiere on January 10 and ended on April 4. Episodes were released weekly on Funimation in the US. It was created by the studio Bones and Hiroko Utsumi. She previously worked on Free! and Banana Fish. It’s quite a talented director.
SK8 has immediately become extremely popular both in Japan and overseas. In results, the studio Bones announced a new anime project for the series along with two manga series (one adaptation and one spinoff), plus two stage play adaptations! This is a lot of projects. It speaks volumes about how well people like the series. So, why is this the best new anime of 2021 for me?
More Than Just a Sports Anime
Just like Free!, Yuri On Ice and Re-Main, SK8 The Infinity is more than just your average sports anime. It’s also a dramedy that heavily focuses on the relationships between the characters. These relationships are actually at the center of the series. We follow their successes, their struggles and how they band together as a group. It’s the strength of this type of sports anime. Even if you are not a fan of skateboarding or sports in general, there’ll be something for you in SK8. For me that was the case, I’m not a big fan of skateboarding. Though, I had some knowledge about that sport because my dad is an amateur skater. So it was great to watch this series with him. He liked it and so did I.
An Endearing Group of Characters
The key to a great series is to have characters you care about and can identify with. SK8 has exactly that! The characters are so endearing. The leads Reiki and Langa became instant favorites for me. I’ll tell you more about them later. But I also really appreciate the others.
Miya is the youngest of the group but he is extremely talented and represents Japan at skateboarding. He first appears as cocky and know-it-all because he is great at what he does. Even so, he is a very lonely person. Indeed, he has excluded his friends from his life to improve at skating. Throughout the season, he learns that there’s more than winning at skating and he will actually be better with friends helping him. It’s a beautiful and empowering journey for him. At the end of the season, he is mentally in a better place. One of his schoolmates actually says hello to him and he is happy about it.
Then, you have Cherry and Joe. They are experienced skaters and spend their time arguing. They have a formidable dynamic.
And finally, there’s Shadow. He appears as a tough guy when we meet him. But as we learn more about him throughout the series, he actually has a big heart.
Reki and Langa
Reki and Langa are the heart of the series. The first one is an high school student and a huge fan of skateboarding. During his freetime, he works at Dope Sketch, the local skate shop. While Langa is a half-Japanese who transferred from Canada to Japan after his father’s death. He was a snowboarder and once he discovers skateboarding, he uses his skills for the latter.
It’s through skateboarding that these two bond. Reki makes Langa’s skateboard deck and teaches him all the moves up to seeing him becoming the best skateboarder he knows.
However, there’s some drama happening between them starting episode 7. Indeed, Reki slowly realizes that Langa (and the others) is a whole different league of skateboarding than him. It hurts him and eventually leads him to draft away and isolate himself. I felt so sorry for Reki because for three episodes you seem in a lot of pain. Eventually, the situation gets resolved in episode 10. Reki and Langa reconcile to face their upcoming challenge together. They have a beautiful and powerful relationship. And they’re very protective of each other and caring. It’s just great seeing them onscreen.
A Rival Up To The Task
Every show has a rival of some type for the main characters. And I have to say SK8 has beaten all expectations with that. Adam is the creepiest rival I have seen in any sports anime. He literally gave me chills in several scenes! He is borderline psychotic. Actually, he hurts contestants during his races. So that’s quite a frightening rival.
What I love about Adam though is we get his backstory. Thus we understand why he is like that. He has suffered a lot throughout his life. Although, it doesn’t excuse some of his behavior, it does show he is not all bad. The end of the season shows he is ready to change when it comes to skateboarding. However, he still does some shady things on the political spectrum.
I always take Free! for refenrece as the best anime series visually. There’s nothing better. Indeed, a lot of anime series would like to have the same level of animation as them. SK8 has the chance to have Hiroko Utsumi working on it. Obviously, it means that it’s visually marvellous. There are rich and colorful backgrounds. And the characters are always well drown and very expressive.
Opening and End Credits
You can’t talk about anime series without mentioning their opening and end credits. The opening is one of the best openings I have seen recently. It captures well the atmosphere of the series – fun, a lot of skateboarding and drama. Plus, it features a great song – Paradise by Rude-a.
The end credits relies solely on the comedic side of the series. And it’s quite soothing after the more dramatic episodes we encounter at the mid-season. I really love the song Infinity by Yuuri that they used!
SK8 The Infinity is an entertaining and moving series featuring endearing characters. Reki and Langa’s relationship is the beating heart of the story, it’s characters you can only get attached to. Furthermore, SK8 features a marvellous animation!
All episodes now streaming on Funimation!
Collectables Editor at Future Of The Force.
Star Wars and Marvel specialist, anime expert