Konomi seeks her revenge at the Anti-Monkey Rock. The Hanamiya girls meet old and new rivals at the Kanto bouldering championships.
Wall 4 – “Powerhouse Climbers”
Iwakakeru! follows the visual norms of action sports anime. During sports anime action sequences, there’s a refrain of scenes and editorial effects the audience will see. These things become a signature or a familiar quick cut to signal the flow in the action. In Yowamushi Pedal, the signature views were shots of the skies, the rolling blur of asphalt, and bike wheels spinning into a hard turn. In Eyeshield 21, we often saw a quick panning view of grass on the football field, a planted cleat ready to pivot, and Sena’s eyes flashing beneath his green helmet visor. Iwakakeru!’s signature is hand porn. We see many shots of fingers and palms, straining, gripping, and reaching for crevices. The chalk texture pattern on those hands is another one.
These visual cues for the action sports anime genre are more than just time-cutting production techniques. A good episode director can use them to direct the emotional flow of an action sequence. I started seeing the different “flavors” of Iwakakeru!’s climbing scenes during Konomi’s successful sending of the Anti-Monkey Rock problem. I will look for more of these visual hooks as the season goes on because Sport Climbing Girls will spend the bulk of its time using tournaments and climbing scenes for storytelling flashbacks and character development.
Recall that training montage from last week’s episode where those few minutes lead into the start of the fourth episode. We saw six weeks’ worth of time go by. We had no scenes of Konomi becoming better friends with Sayo, Nonoka, or Jun in a slice-of-life setting. This means the main way we’ll be getting to know the main characters will be at the climbing contests. Iwakakeru! will also be bouncing the main characters’ personalities against new opponents instead of each other, so it will be important to understand the emotional background of a climbing scene to understand the Hanamiya High School characters better. Iwakakeru! will not be a fluffy cute-girls-do-cute-things after school club anime, so we need to work with what the anime presents us.
It’s a good thing that Konomi is an approachable main character. She’s funny. She has otaku and gamer tendencies. There’s also no doubt that Iwakakeru! will take advantage of these climbing venues to fill out Konomi’s back story. We already had the coincidence of Konomi destroying a random girl in a jewel-type mobile game when she mistakenly boarded the early train to Anti-Monkey Rock and ended up with a gaming disciple and potential future stepdaughter. This week, Iwakakeru! introduces a way to explore Konomi’s early ballet pursuit and why she gave it up to become a national esports champion. That Kurea girl appears happy to take some revenge on the oblivious Konomi. It’s a wonderful way to build anticipation and interest in a climbing tournament to see more than spandex crotch watching and hand porn.
Oh, it’s muscles again. That’s a buff lady! One must make muscles with love and dreams. I’m convinced. Funny. Konomi has a nightmare about getting too “swole.” Ah. The Hanamiya girls are back at the Anti-Monkey Rock. Six weeks happens fast in Iwakakeru! Ha! Konomi remembers her dream! Konomi’s dream is so random. Jun winning is all that matters, right? Anti-Monkey Rock, the Revenge! Yes, Konomi’s thighs and arms look ready. For climbing, I mean.
Juzo and Kiku are at the rock again too. He just happened to be there at the same time, officially. Konomi has something important to tell Kiku when she gets to the top of the rock. Squee! Before all that, climbing montage with ‘80’s themed music. The hand closeups and chalk textures are Iwakakeru!’s thing. So dramatic with the sound effects. Konomi made it to the top! She’s better than a monkey. Konomi received an inkling of what the view from the top of climbing feels like.
Aw. Konomi let Kiku down gently. No free climbing partner for her. They can still be buddies. Master Konomi orders Kiku to watch her next competition! This is what Konomi’s desperate face looks like.
Instead of grinding for levels, it’s time to upgrade equipment like in an RPG. Nonoka speaks Konomi’s language. Hello Asuka Onee-san! There’s much suggestive language about naked skin and feeling up, but they’re not entering the bath. See? She’s just checking Konomi’s feet… with her cheek! Iwakakeru! adds bare feet to the list of its fetish checklist. Asuka admitted she’s had many feet on her cheek. Experienced…
Konomi the beginner gets advanced equipment. Konomi can go for all the Jewel Quest combos now! Iwakakeru! plays the muscle theme music in the background, just blasting your ears that this is an important scene. Okay. Shoemeister Asuka brags about her experience with feeling up naked feet.
Seeing the same shoes on a panther is a lame transition, but it got Iwakakeru! out of the climbing store quickly. More hot girls in spandex. I can’t complain. I like where Saint Caterno puts those three stripes on their uniforms. Ah. Kiku knows she has a DILF. No wonder she tried to marry him off to Konomi.
How many episodes of Iwakakeru! will the Kanto Bouldering Championships take? Two? Three? More fit girls in spandex. Juzo is too distracting for the Hanamiya girls. Except for Sayo. Kiku’s still playing matchmaker. Ugh. That Akane nyaa-nyaa girl is back. Nijima-senpai of Matsuhashi High is a goofball sensible type like Sayo. The gang’s all here. Iwamine the spooky bunny spider arrives to freak out Akane. Those ears evoke spider fangs more than ears.
I see. The Three Climbing Dames of Iwakakeru! are Masumi, Iwamine, and Sayo. Konomi calls the girls “larger than life,” but only because someone told her a few seconds ago. Jun calls them all “weirdos.” I’m siding with Jun here. Jun became more talkative since the first episode. Anne Kurusu is in the stands. Is she there just for commentary and explaining stuff to the audience? Oh. Peach-haired girl knew Konomi from her ballet days. Another vehicle for character development. Kurea has a bad, jealous attitude. Let’s see how much Iwakakeru! builds her up for the inevitable satisfying defeat.
Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Girls streams on Crunchyroll.