Stars Align Episode 1 Review

Another Club on the Verge
Of Being Shut Down – Oh My

One day, someone somewhere is going to realise that a school club getting shut down is not the end of the world nor sufficient dramatic impetus to make me care about whatever actions the characters might run around and take in order to ‘save’ their club. Particularly when said club is not actually all that into what they are doing. They aren’t going to tell me they actually need school funds to take their rackets and whack a ball around for fun so if they aren’t actually a competitive team what difference does it make whether the school funds them or not.

If that were all the first episode of Stars Align (Hoshiai no Sora) had on offer I’d have thanked it for its time and moved on. I already added a token sports anime to the potential line up with Ahiru no Sora to my Autumn watch list and so I wasn’t really looking for a second one. However, the family drama bubbling away in the background for the two main characters might be enough to keep me watching depending on how it is handled.

Honestly though, this first episode, at least until the last few minutes, is exactly what you would expect. We see the sad state of the boy’s tennis club as the girls beat them at training and we see their generally apathetic attitudes, save for one kid who has some reason he doesn’t want the club to shut down (there’s always one). The student council (always the cause and if not a villainous vice principal will fill the role) changes their funding structure and decides not to fund clubs that don’t achieve results, apparently targeting the boy’s tennis club because clearly no other club is equally unsuccessful. Rather than accepting that gracefully the one passionate kid desperately looks to recruit someone new to the team to help them win a match and save the club and settles on a childhood friend recently transferred back. It’s all very paint by numbers even if competently but not brilliantly done.

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The one twist we have on offer is that the kid recruited doesn’t flat out refuse and then change his mind on a whim. Instead he goads his old friend by saying he’d play if he were paid. Much to his surprise he has a sudden offer of money, a handshake, and a racket thrust into his hands. The tone then changes further when Maki (the transfer student) gets home and we see his peaceful life disturbed by the brief reappearance of his violent father.

While I’m not hooked on this after one episode, I definitely didn’t dislike the episode even with all the standard trappings it rolled out. There was definitely enough in the end to make me curious about where it might go so I’ll watch a couple more episodes and see.


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Karandi James



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100 Word Anime.

Reviewing all the drama in Stars Align.

Images from: Hoshiai no Sora. Dir. K Akane. 8Bit. 2019.

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5 thoughts on “Stars Align Episode 1 Review

  1. “One day, someone somewhere is going to realise that a school club getting shut down is not the end of the world”

    Though not so much for the apathetic bunch in this show… It can be for the individuals involved with the club. The problem with most anime of this kind isn’t that they go too often to that well, it’s that they fail to make us empathize with the characters and care about what happens to them and in their world.

    I wonder if that’s a cultural thing though. The creators of the material can assume background experiences common in their target audience, which isn’t us. (Western viewers.) Kinda like I’ve never worked in a conventional office, so I can kinda sorta empathize shows set in such because it’s part of the Western cultural background… But I also have to work at understanding a show set in an office because I have no direct experience.

    1. Even when I empathise with the characters I sometimes feel the extremes some these anime go to in order to ‘save a club’ are just a little over the top.It would actually be less effort for the kids to start their own community group outside of the school if they really wanted to engage in the activity.

      1. That’s how we’d do it in the West… Would it be seen as a viable option in Japan? School clubs tend to be pretty important as they’re seen as part of the communal experience. (Which is why some schools require club participation.)

  2. I feel the same way about this one. The majority of the episode was boring and generic, and then the family tension and extortion happen and I woke up a bit. What started out generic and cookie-cutter may surprise us yet.

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