Konomi goes to her first climbing competition and discovers how amazing are her teammates.
Wall 2 – “Believe in Yourself”
There won’t be deep character development in Iwakakeru! except for Konomi and Jun. That’s my prediction after seeing how quickly the story moved to a climbing tournament and introduced outside characters so quickly. In more fluffy type sports anime, the focus is on the relationships between the girls, making the story functionally a slice-of-life or cute-girls-do-cute-things show. Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club was like that, where contests and racing were the backdrops for watching cute girls learn about a new pastime together. As I suspected, Iwakakeru! is going to be closer to Hanebado where we get a parade of new girls with psychological damage appear each episode just to bounce our main characters’ personalities against them for dramatic tension.
Now that I know not to expect a fluffy girls’ club anime from Iwakakeru!, I can look forward to ogling many new girls in several types of revealing outfits. This is a good thing! Besides, we’ll still have our main characters providing comedy relief and calming pauses as they become better friends and teammates together. I’m going to enjoy seeing Konomi’s new friends find out how serious her past competitive self was.
I also liked the switch Iwakakeru! made on our expectations for how a newbie like Konomi was supposed to be nervous joining a whole team of aces. Sure, she felt inadequate, and Jun stressed to Konomi how she only started wall climbing yesterday, but Konomi’s pressure had a nuance to it. She casually slipped in how she’s seen the top of the nationals too and wants to help her new team get there. Let that sink in a moment. A national champion ace just joined a team of other national-level aces. Did not the climbing girls hear what Konomi said? That’s going to be a slow burner of a realization that will be delicious to watch happen.
Wall climbing is an extreme sport according to Iwakakeru!. Or is that Xtreme Sports? The house beat spinning DJ tells me so. This Anne Kurusu “princess” also makes that clear. These climbing personalities all have nicknames. This feels like Yowamushi Pedal, The Prince of Tennis, or even Shokugeki no Soma. Oho. Jun is a cool megane girl when she’s not wearing spandex.
Spider lady! Tall, dark-haired lady Iwamine reminds me of a ghost story. Konomi slowly learns how awesome her teammates are. Sayo is a national champion! Ha! Konomi fidgets like she has a controller in her hands. The videogame sound effect sells it. Sayo wants her sport climbing girls high school team to be champions too, but they need at least three players to add up their scores. Now they have four! Konomi looks nervous.
Let’s learn about Iwakakeru! wall climbing jargon from Jun. She seems fine when she’s not glaring at you. “Sending a problem” means “ascending a climbing wall route.” I looked that up. Nono is short but flexible. The announcer calls Sayo the “Princess of Lead.” Konomi starts putting pressure on herself. She’s not going to have an enjoyable time.
Oh, Konomi, don’t trust some competitor you just met. Iwakakeru! gives us the mean girl subplot. This Akane nyaa-nyaa girl is playing mind games. Ack. It worked. Konomi is jumping from rock to rock, not climbing her usual way. Jun can’t believe what she’s seeing. Konomi messed that climb up. Ah. Jun recognized that nyaa-nyaa girl. Claws are out!
Jun keeps emphasizing to Konomi she only joined the team yesterday. Yesterday! Listen to the crinkly eyebrow! Good. Konomi got her puzzler eyes back. A little bit creepy but I like it!
Akane nyaa-nyaa fell. Ha ha. Cheap animation editing tricks in the second episode already? Not a good sign for Iwakakeru!. Jun is here to get her revenge on Akane. Quick backstory where Jun upstages a young climbing star Akane. She can’t crush Jun, so she’ll crush the spirit of any newbies climbing after her so they can’t pass her. How about Plan B where Akane just gets better at climbing? Crazy idea, I know.
Konomi climbed high up, but she needs training for strength and stamina. She only started YESTERDAY after having been a sedentary gamer. I worried that we’d never see the fronts of these beautiful climbers because physical cameras could only capture up, down, and side shots. Anime saves the day with a transparent wall. Iwakakeru! will use this angle a lot.
Eep. Spider lady Iwamine is creepy. Crush those candies, Konomi! Aw. Konomi climbed higher than Akane nyaa-nyaa, but she tired her muscles out. She needs to get fit. Kyaa! Jun holds Konomi so close.
Uh oh. Akane messed with the spider lady. Time for Iwakakeru!’s version of comic relief. What will Iwamine do with Akane in the dressing rooms? Fufufu. Hanamiya High School swept the podium thanks to Jun. Sayo has grand plans for world domination. Her domination! All hail Queen Sayo-chin! Jun’s on board.
Ah ha. We’ll be meeting all these, ahem, lovely ladies soon according to the foreshadowing in Iwakakeru!. We have a Climbing Spider, a Muscle Maxima’am, a Black Panther who looks quite pale, a Crimson Stormtrooper, a Ballerina of Rock, and that Princess of Climbing we saw earlier. Oh ho. Konomi knows how to make a speech like a national ace too because she was one! She didn’t look so happy up on that stage. Uh, no questions about how she was a national champion? Gamer girl! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Oops, Jun’s mad at the word “game” again. Chicken dinner! They’re all a bunch of fun goofballs. I love them!
Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Girls streams on Crunchyroll.