Review: SK8 the Infinity Episode 1 – Snowfall on a Hot Night

SK8 The Infinity promo image

It’s great seeing a Canadian as one of the two leads in an anime. I really appreciate my country’s representation in this show. As one of the most under-the-radar selections in the Winter 2021 anime season, SK8 The Infinity promises to be both cool and stylish. I could sort of tell how awesome this show would be from the initial PV that was circulating online, but to see the actual debut episode is amazing enough. I didn’t think we would ever get a skateboarding anime, but Studio Bones has finally made the dream a reality. 

Reki and Langa didn’t really hit it off at first, but as soon as they’re both involved in a skateboarding race, we really see them get to bond and build some chemistry. Displaying this budding male camaraderie isn’t something new for director Hiroko Utsumi, who was at the helms of Free and Banana Fish. She’s part of an established number of female anime directors in the industry, bringing fresh, dynamic storytelling with exceptional visuals.

Scene showing Reki talking to Langa

A good example of this is the animation from Studio Bones and the killer soundtrack. Its rough, gritty design of the skate route and graffiti designs is something I wish more anime could feature now and then. Not to mention, with Bones’s reputation, the animated sequences of skateboarding are nothing less than stellar so far, and I expect better scenes to come. Both the music and animation compliment each other very well and that is the perfect formula for getting your anime to a great start. 

What intrigues me most about SK8 the Infinity is its colorful cast of characters. Of course, you have your hot headed, loud protagonist Reki leading things off, whose bullheaded personality contrasts with the calm, collected Langa. Then you have a crazy clown man named Shadow trying to antagonize the two in a skateboarding duel. This man is not in his right mind and his constant shouting and extreme display of clout had me rolling on the floor laughing. As an antagonist, Shadow stole the episode. 

Sk8 The Infinity main character Reki

On the flip side, you have another pair of contrasting skateboarders with their own fan clubs named Joe and Cherry Blossom. In addition to providing some loose commentary on the sidelines, they’re also highly competitive with one another and are often bickering at every chance they get. Nonetheless, I’m hoping to see more of these two later on, as the first episode focuses more on the duel that occurred. 

SK8 The Infinity looks to be featuring more of the racing aspect of skateboarding than the elaborate tricks and flips you can do with a board. Of course, those special techniques aren’t forgotten and are highlighted in moments when Langa uses his past snowboarding skills to race. In return, we also see a fair amount of falls and scrapes, which hits close to home for me because of my past failed attempts to skateboard myself. 

The racing aspect of the show is treated as an underground sport in this world, and it’s keeping me excited and engaged with the story. I think this approach works well with the sprinkling in of flips and tricks as an added bonus. Langa himself is an experienced snowboarder (probably from British Columbia if those snowy mountain flashbacks are any hint) and it’s interesting to see him adapt so fast to using a skateboard. I’m not sure if most of the skills form both activities are transferable to one another, but I see the similarities and don’t think it’s impossible to learn. Hopefully, by seeing Langa’s skills and ability to think quickly, Reki will find the motivation to better himself too. 

Reki faces off against Shadow in front of a crowd

The first episode gives us glimpses into what we can expect in the future. Maybe more fast-paced skateboarding races with exciting flips, jumps, and turns. I also anticipate seeing a grand villain of sorts, along with some man-to-man bromances and drama. As a subject not often explored by anime, I’m excited to see where it goes each week and the curious personalities that will inevitably show up. 

SK8 The Infinity is currently streaming on Funimation.

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