Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

3 February 2016: It's been five episodes and I still don't know who the Prince of Stride is

This isn't part of a race. Riku's just late for school.

Pretty much the only reason I started watching Prince of Stride: Alternative is because it's about running. As a somewhat avid runner, I haven't had a lot of success with manga or anime that feature running as a core component. Generally, the story will screw it up in some sort of way that aggravates me too much to continue. This was the case with the Suzuka manga. I lasted maybe two chapters. I later learned from other readers that the Suzuka manga is aggravating in its own right for reasons entirely unrelated to running. But I digress.

Nana wasn't late for school, but fucked off long
enough she might as well have been.

Prince of Stride: Alternative is only sort of related to running. It's about a fictional sport consisting of relay races that demand a fair bit of parkour and improvisation out if the contestants. I actually have zero interest in the story itself—something about a struggling high school Stride and Sometimes Shogi club—probably due to its otome game roots. Hanazawa Kana plays the club's new "relationer," basically the dispatcher and strategist for the team during the relay races.

Nana and Yu
Nana and some dude who's shocked a girl can do his job.

This is where the show stops caring about being realistic. For some reason, everyone is surprised that a girl can be a relationer. There have been other female relationers, but apparently it's quite rare for reasons never explained. Seeing as how relationers simply keep track of their runners' positions on a computer monitor and control the timing during handoffs, I don't have any idea why a girl wouldn't be just as effective as a boy in this role. It's also sort of unrealistic that whatever positioning system they use would so precisely track the locations of the runners without any appreciable margin of error or latency. The part that really blows my mind, though, is how the runners can run flat out and do all those jumping and vaulting moves without their little earpiece commo jobbies falling out.

Takeru, Hozumi, and Riku
This was the manservice equivalent of a cliched anime
scene featuring girls groping each other in the bath.

None of that matters, though. The races themselves are entertaining and don't break my suspension of disbelief in any sort of way that might matter from a runner's perspective. (An example of something that would take me out of a show is if someone falls during any sort of sprint event, cries for a little bit and contemplates failure in slow motion, but then decides to try really hard instead, gets up, and wins anyway. You'd have to be running against some slow-ass motherfuckers, okay.) It's a pity that while the races themselves are interesting, no other aspect of the show seems engaging at all. Maybe that's a good thing, because it means I could just skip straight to the races each week and save myself some time by not watching the rest. Well, but then I would risk missing some surely horseshit reason should the show ever actually explain why nobody thinks a girl can be a good relationer.

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