Battle Athletes Victory, episodes 1-6:
No wonder chaz as a man of wealth and taste likes this show, because it feels like the complete product after the practice run that was the OVA. Considering this franchise is built around a preposterous future sports setting, the OVA was probably too epic for its own good. The 45-minute episodes felt bloated, even though at only six episodes Akari's overall character arc also felt kind of abridged, seeing how fast she became a god-tier athlete. But now that I've been exposed to what Victory has to offer, the omission of one particular genre staple in the OVA has become noticeable to me: even though it's a sports anime (of the fan-service variety, but regardless), there really wasn't any traditional hot-blooded sports anime characters in the main cast. Tanya comes closest, but she's more of a half-animalistic wild child than the archetypal "hard work and guts" person who overcomes all obstacles by sheer force of will alone.
Now, I'm not saying that a sports anime must automatically check this particular box - in fact, I thought one of the best things about the OVA was the somewhat unexpected core cast, especially in terms of Akari's roommates. At the beginning I thought Tanya was going to be her wingwoman/mascot animal for sure, but instead Akari got roomed with
the Moon Amish princess and the guy in drag. And yes, the most elaborate spinning sakuga ass shot in the OVA is man-ass, which I found beautifully trollish.
But on the other hand, when all of your characters are either timid or ice cool with no firecracker-types in the mix, their interactions can lack the sort of spontaneous bursts of emotion that one would expect in the context of competitive sports. And I think the creative team working on Victory realized this as well, because they added in Ichino, a million-volt tomboy
who really feels like the crucial piece that was missing in the OVA. She's all speed lines and reaction faces and screaming, and I love her. And since the longer format of a two-cour TV anime gives Akari plenty of time to start out as a near-hopeless fuck-up, her friendship with Ichino, her complete opposite in personality and outlook, also gets time to shine, and it's this relationship that gives the show its heart. It's the sort of friendship where the self-assertive person is constantly exasperated by the insecurities of her shrinking violet bestie, but at the same time would take a bullet for her if need be, and it's such a sweet and entertaining dynamic. So hopefully the show maintains this level of fun (read: Ichino) throughout.