English Dub Review: The Gymnastics Samurai “Special Training Samurai”


OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

While Jotaro works on adding a fourth flip to his signature move, Rei goes on a fun day of shopping with Kitty Zhang, a Chinese gymnast she met at the training camp who is a fan of her late mother’s films. Through this nice day, Rei is able to come to a realization that she wants to be an actress like her mother.

OUR TAKE

I’ve probably mentioned at least a few times now that this show is pretty tepid in its tone, pacing, and stakes. None of these things are bad in and of themselves and I’ve seen at least a few people who quite appreciate this style, finding it to be a story with a lot of heart about a grounded and rarely seen sport. I can appreciate that this is certainly tackling different subjects than a sport anime usually does. However, maybe it’s because I’ve become spoiled by more high energy shows, but have yet to find myself in the right mindset to truly connect with Gymnastics Samurai. I could point to a lot of things that simply are not rubbing me the right way about this or scratching the right itch here, and I probably will in the remaining three episodes when things start to finally pick up speed, but that kind of gives away my main issue with this episode in particular. That being that it feels like it’s taking a breather before we’ve even completed a lap.

We take a break from focusing on Jotaro so he can focus on adding that fourth flip, and the main spotlight of this is on Rei and her sudden friendship with Kitty, who seems to only really exist to bring out this sudden development for Rei in realizing the type of job she wants in the future, namely following in her mother’s footsteps in becoming an actress. That’s certainly endearing to an extent, but it feels mostly disconnected from everything else going on, aside from the tangential thematic connection of following one’s dreams no matter what…except this dream wasn’t super apparent. We also get a little bit of follow up on that one kid who used to bully her slowly gaining feelings for her after noticing how cute she looks after her makeover, which is not even going to be the most out of nowhere and least developed romance in this show as we’ll soon see.

I guess what it comes down to in regards to my feelings about this show is that it all feels pretty half baked. Whether it was because the studio or the director didn’t believe in the work enough or maybe I’m just not the right audience is anyone’s guess, though I’m more than happy to choose the latter. Regardless, next week begins the road to the end and the show finally starts to have a pulse!


David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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