REVIEW: “SK8 the Infinity” is one of the most exciting new animes of 2021

“This anime has an amazing original story and a great soundtrack, the outro, in particular, being very earworm-y, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next,” writes Web Editor Marcy Wilder.


Image courtesy of Funimation.

Marcy Wilder, Web Editor

Editor’s Note: This review was originally in the Feb. 22 “Catching You UP” newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

I have never seen a single movie in the Fast & the Furious franchise, but I have been on the ride at Universal. Knowing that, this anime is Fast & the Furious with skateboards.

“SK8 the Infinity” is a new anime that premiered on Jan 10, 2021, on Funimation here in the states, and is still running in its first season. The main premise is Reki (Tasuku Hatanaka/Matt Shipman) showing new half-Canadian half-Japanese transfer student Langa (Chiaki Kobayashi/Howard Wang) the underground Okinawa secret skateboard competition known as “S.”

The show follows a basic structure of each episode revolving around a “beef” (or race between two skaters with punishment for whoever loses) and the preparation for that beef. The animation of the skateboarding is done very well, using various “camera” angles and edits to make the “beef” as exciting as possible, while also using the reactions to the skating to help raise the stakes. The animation is gorgeous… except when the characters are very far away and it gets ridiculously and hilariously low quality.

Image courtesy of Funimation. Cropped by Marcy Wilder.

The show uses a “show don’t tell” structure, which works by allowing the audience to learn along with Langa but also not spoon-feed information. A great segment of this is a montage of Reki showing Langa different moves over two weeks, but the creators chose to not have any dialogue during it.

In case you were worried, the anime does have classic anime hair. Reki’s bright red hair is juxtaposed with Langa’s light blue hair, and they are the only characters with colored hair of all of their classmates. Reki is a lot looser in his design, clothes, and characteristics, which offsets Langa’s more rigid and straight-cut design, which fits into him being a snowboarder before he moved to Okinawa. Shadow (Kenta Miyake/Chris Guerrero) has one of the funniest character designs, with his character being a Kiss look-alike by night and a kind-hearted florist by day.

The only character I have an issue with is Adam (Takehito Koyasu/David Wald). He is a very well-defined character and villain with being “The Matador of Love” as a skateboarder by night and a businessman/politician by day. It just gets weird whenever he interacts with Langa because Langa is a sophomore in high school and Adam is a grown man. Especially when Adam in his day-life refers to the beef he has with Langa as a “date.” I don’t think the writers are actually going for that as an actual romance-thing, and it may be a cultural difference, but it is very weird.

This anime has an amazing original story and a great soundtrack, the outro, in particular, being very earworm-y, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

“SK8 the Infinity” was created by Bones Inc. and Hiroko Utsumi, and is airing on Funimation.

Marcy Wilder is the web editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @MarcyJWilder.