Come for the promise of a decent sports anime, stay for the Fukui-ben.
I don’t tend to watch a whole lot of sports anime – maybe just one or two every year. Mostly because team sports don’t do a whole lot for me in general, but also because I’m not a huge fan of the “friendship and teamwork solve literally everything and this sport is literally our lives!” kind of mentality. You’ve seen one sports anime like that, you’ve basically seen them all as far as I’m concerned.
I was worried at first that 2.43 would be much the same, since the first few scenes don’t do that much to dispel this idea. You’ve got the genius main character who’s naturally gifted at his craft and 1000% driven, the second main character who’s way more easygoing and not particularly interested in dedicating himself to anything much, and a club of nominal volleyball players in a rural high school who’ve never played in any competition, much less placed in one. Clearly, the first MC’s going to whip the rest of the group into shape and they’ll all miraculously discover the true power of sweat and sparkles, right?
Well, maybe not – as it turns out, there’s a bit more here beneath the surface than the premiere initially lets on, and while I wouldn’t necessarily call the show dark or even complex, suffice to say that the characters and character dynamics (both in and out of high school) are way more interesting than just “ice-cold guy with a bit too much ambition but terrible people skills” and “laidback childhood friend in need of a motivational boost”. Of course, whether the story is going to take this to a genuinely interesting place remains to be seen, but I think the show at least has potential.
Production-wise, I don’t have much to say. The artwork and animation look decent, probably above average in most respects, and there’s thankfully little to no awkwardly-integrated CG to contend with. I’m not really into the OP and ED music choices, but I’ve definitely heard worse. Incidentally, this anime is based on a light novel series which was then turned into a josei manga – this may partially explain why the overall look and tone lean more toward serious/grounded than the whole cheery/dynamic high school club thing that many shounen sports anime are known for. Think more along the lines of Hoshiai no Sora than Haikyuu.
The major bonus for me is that the series is set in the boonies in Fukui prefecture. Anyone who’s been following Otaku Lounge for a while knows that I love me a good rural setting. However, I also happened to live in a tiny town in Fukui-ken myself for two years, so going into this without having first read the synopsis and then hearing all that countryside dialect was a fun surprise. Needless to say, I’ll be giving 2.43 at least another episode or two to see where things go from here.