Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 9 February 2021: SK∞ has a lot of skating but not a lot of dying

This does seem more fun than pointless meetings with morons.

I'm pleasantly surprised at how SK∞ (SK8 the Infinity) is turning out. It's not quite a sports anime even though it does focus on the colorful participants of a secret, possibly illegal skateboard race. (It's sort of a poorly kept secret, honestly.) A significant portion of the racers are successful adult men who have other shit going on when they aren't skating for glory. I was originally expecting the more prominently featured high school kid to be the main character, but his Canadian transfer student friend seems more important so far.

Reki, Langa, Miya, and Shadow
Reki's injuries are so bad he'll probably be bandaged for two episodes.

After five episodes, Skate Dio has emerged as the primary antagonist our valiant skaters must overcome. There's a significant amount of intimidation steering their approaches to this effort, but it's not clear to me what stakes are really at risk. Obviously, skateboarding is dangerous, but avoiding serious injury seems basically assured thanks to the protective embrace of plot-expedient contrivances. And it's not as if Skate Dio is actively trying to murder his competitors. Dude's just out for a good time away from the stuffy pinheads at work.

@AnimeTribunal: Also if ADAM is Dio, then we need a second season with skateboarding pillar men

Dated 19 March 2006: Ginban Kaleidoscope

Sakurano Kazusa
Sakurano Kazusa

After seeing it mentioned in the Animeslice blog, I grew curious about Ginban Kaleidoscope. This show is the very model of the AYAKO DOCTRINE at work. Mamiko Noto, Chiwa Saito, and the voice of Hibiki from VanDread also contribute to Ginban Kaleidoscope, if you need additional reasons to watch it.

The show seems to be a shoujo sports anime, but is heavy on neither shoujo nor sports anime idioms or cliches. Kawasumi Ayako plays the lead character, Sakurano Kazusa, an aspiring figure skater trying to make the Winter Olympics. She becomes possessed by the ghost of Pete Pumps, a Canadian stunt pilot who died in a plane crash.

Pete and Kazusa
Pete and Kazusa

I'm no fan of figure skating, even though I thought the Tanya Harding v. Nancy Kerrigan drama of yore was great entertainment of the highest order. Despite my ambivalence to figure skating, I found Ginban Kaleidoscope pretty interesting, if more for the verbal gymnastics than anything else. Hearing Ayako's English outburst in the first episode sold me on the show, and her brief conversation with Mamiko Noto in English was icing on the cake. I should note that Mamiko speaks in Russian in Ginban Kaleidoscope, although she doesn't have nearly enough lines.

Thanks to the ever-welcome Ayako Kawasumi, I didn't miss Mamiko's presence much. Ginban Kaleidoscope is a surprisingly dialogue-heavy show, featuring lots of banter between Kazusa and Pete. I can't exactly claim this is Ayako's best work, but it is a good part in that it affords her the opportunity to do quite a bit of ranting, which I can't get enough of. Ayako Doctrine adherents can't afford to overlook Ginban Kaleidoscope. Seriously, it has Ayako bitching people out in English, Mamiko speaking Russian, and peculiar mix of background characters regularly speaking thickly-accented semi-Engrish and fluent English. What's not to love?

Sakurano Kazusa
Sakurano Kazusa

Ginban Kaleidoscope is a short 12-episode series with a heartful, realistic ending. Well, as realistic as you could hope for a show about an Olympic-level Japanese figure skater possessed by the ghost of a Canadian pilot. I didn't have any objections to the ending (significant in that the majority of anime series seem to falter with regard to their endings), and I found the series to be an enjoyable and engaging diversion from more heavy-handed, serious fare. For example, the "waitress" episode was cute (although I would have liked a "maid" episode as well as a nod to Ayako Kawasumi's automatic maiden sweetness in Mahoromatic), and seeing Kazusa grow to accept Pete's presence over the course of 12 episodes was satisfying. Perhaps as one final compliment—I would have liked more episodes; Ginban Kaleidoscope left me wanting more.