A gentle giant this ain’t.

Matsutarou is  a towering meat-head who is far too old to still be in school, but presumably too stupid to graduate. The teachers as well as his fellow students would all prefer he wasn’t there, but Matsutarou actually likes coming to school solely because whenever he gets in trouble – which is always – he is sent to the faculty room, where he is able to catch glimpses of a certain female teacher named Minami whom he has a crush on. Outside school as well he’s regularly scorned by the townsfolk for being a violent good-for-nothing, although his brawn does come in handy for some. According to the synopsis, he will become a sumo wrestler…although we see no hint of that in this first episode.

Yeah. He literally just stole candy from a baby. What a jerk.

So, this one’s kind of interesting because it’s based on a manga that ran from ’73 to ’98 by the legendary Tetsuya Chiba (of Ashita no Joe fame) proving that the recent trend of making new anime based on old manga could really be a thing, and a thing I hope keeps growing steam. Not only that, but the manga won an award of some description, and this new adaptation features the vocals of an apparently famous enka singer popular with the older generations, many of which probably read the manga back in the day. Sumo isn’t really an interest of mine, but I’m all for anime and manga about unconventional topics. However, this first episode did fall short of expectations.
The main drawback is obvious immediantly if you watch it – the animation isn’t just bad, it’s laughably horrendous, taking as many shortcuts as possible. Possibly even worse than the character animation are the backgrounds, which look like they were quickly rushed after someone realized they forgot to draw them. Hell, just look at this cap here. That’s the average amount of effort you’re going to see. I like the guy on the far right who looks like he just realized his bit-part in an anime was this. Now, I know this is Toei, and I know they apparently spend most of their budget on Pretty Cure and One Piece (both of which still have pretty lacklustre animation) but seriously. The retro style is okay in a nostalgic kind of way, and I really dig that its set in the Showa era…I just feel like they could have done so much more with it visually.
The other main flaw is Matsutarou himself, who so far is so amazingly unlikeable that it’s difficult to understand why exactly we’re supposed to be on his side. The show actively goes out of its way to show that he’s a (literal) giant asshole. At first, after he threatened his teacher, threw water on some grannies, kicked dust in a dogs’ face and then pissed on a building, his younger siblings show up and I honestly thought this would be the point where it reveals that he actually has a heart of gold and acts real sweet with them. Instead, he steals candy off the youngest. At the point where you actually show a guy actually, literally taking a lollypop off a toddler it quickly crosses from ‘aint this guy a stinker’ to being hilariously forced. I actually laughed out loud because man, we get it already. He’s an asshole. But the rest of the episode seemed to think that maybe I hadn’t quite reached that conclusion yet, because we also had to see him steal his boss’s lunch, headbutt a truck, hijack said truck, kidnap the teacher he’s crushing on, almost run over his siblings (and not care) before crashing the truck into a public bath. Needless to say, he ends the episode being arrested. I get that this story is probably going to be a long one, and Matsutarou is probably going to end up redeeming himself through Sumo somehow, but man I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show go so far in trying to make me not like a lead character before.
Despite this, I personally feel like I shouldn’t write it off completely yet until I actually see the sumo component, given that it’s a show about sumo. Basically, there might actually be a pretty good story buried under here….one that would probably be a lot better experienced via the manga and not through this appallingly animated show, however.

I’ll admit I kinda laughed at this.

Out of 5,