Title: Shakunetsu Kabaddi (Burning Kabaddi)
Synopsis: First-year high schooler Tatsuya Yoigoshi, the former ace of a junior high school soccer team who has come to dislike sports, receives an invitation to join the Kabaddi club. Initially mocking the idea of Kabaddi, he takes an interest after watching an intense competition akin to martial arts at a practice session. (Credit: https://myanimelist.net/anime/42395/Shakunetsu_Kabaddi)
After so much disappointment with the sports anime of winter 2021 (I’m looking at you Skate-Leading Stars and 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu), I was wary about another sports anime. Especially about a sport I know absolutely nothing about. I have never heard of the sport, kabaddi. In fact, the only reference I have ever heard of the sport was in the anime, Chio’s School Road. In Chio, one of the characters was obsessed with the sport and used it as fair game to feel up her competitors. It was a bit lewd, and actually a bit funny, but it didn’t really go into what kind of sport kabaddi was. All I gathered was the chanting of “kabaddi” as you tried to tag someone. Very strange, but made for some funny scenes.
Kabaddi is actually the national sport of Bangladesh. It’s almost like full-contact tag. There are obviously rules that make it different than tag, but without going into too much detail, that should give you a very, very basic idea of what type of sport kabaddi is similar to.
After watching the first episode of Kabaddi, I sensed potential greatness to this show. It has all of the elements of a great sports anime. We have a protagonist that has lost his love of all sports despite being very talented. We have a sport that isn’t mainstream. We have strong supporting characters. The best part? They actually play the sport the anime is centered around. In the first episode, we get a full breakdown of kabaddi, how it is played, and the strategy involved. Most of all, we see a spark in the protagonist that had died.
This first episode was pretty entertaining and quite funny. Also, I learned about a sport that isn’t really known. In all my years, I had no idea that this type of sport existed, so I am glad there is an anime to teach us about it.
I definitely recommend giving this anime a shot. This is definitely one I will continue to watch if they keep up the comedy and story building through the sport.