Coming Soon: Sport Climbing's First Anime TV Series

© Blade

The trailer for an upcoming Japanese anime television series centred around Sport Climbing has been released. Iwa Kakeru! (Aim for the Top!) - Sport Climbing Girls is a female-focused animation featuring competition climbing characters and is due for release on 3 October.

Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls.  © Blade
Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls.
© Blade

The film is based on an existing Japanese manga comic book series of the same name by Ryūdai Ishizaka.

The story follows a high-school student who discovers climbing and uses her video game and puzzle-solving skills to progress in the sport and compete against some of the top athletes of her generation alongside her schoolmates.

Reactions online have been mixed, with some anime fans sharing their excitement for the release, while others have criticised the skimpy and unrealistic clothing worn by the characters.

Given anime's Japanese origin and the growing popularity of indoor climbing in Japan ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games next year, perhaps it's no surprise that these two cultural phenomena have combined in a national TV series.

The film project was led and voiced by Japanese actresses Sumire Uesaka and Yui Ishikawa. Uesaka commented in a press release (translated) on the website of the series:

'It was my first experience of bouldering, but I was told "You can put your hand here!", so I had the the feeling of "Ah, I can do this!" It was fun and I want to do it again. Climbing has been included in the Olympic games and is attracting worldwide attention. The anime will start soon, so I hope you will check it out so that you won't miss out on this big wave of activity, and enjoy the feeling that "climbing is so fun!"'

Ishikawa added:

'I didn't know if I could do it or not until I tried it, but I was happy with the sense of accomplishment I got when I was able to climb and I wanted to go further. I had only a vague knowledge of sport climbing before I got involved with this film, but I enjoyed the animation and the original story of "Iwa kakeru!" as an introduction. It would be great if people can understand that it is a sport with such a fierce battle!'

Popular climbing YouTuber and coach Albert Ok recently released a video showing his reaction to the trailer along with his own interpretation of how an anime character might train for climbing:

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21 Aug, 2020


21 Aug, 2020

Re: criticism re: "skimpy and unrealistic clothing" - the anime character clothing seems to match that worn by some American female climbers.

Wearing that amount of clothing in the UK could lead to hypothermia. *lol*

21 Aug, 2020

Ok but real talk.

Having spent time at some competitions that drew international teams, that kind of outfit is actually pretty common.

Why are most people fine with a topless/vest wearing shredded guy, but triggered by a woman wearing closer fitting clothes, even when there is a perfectly functional reason for doing so?

Why are we *still* viewing womens bodies as something that needs to be covered up, disguised, hidden away?

I know this is an anime but I am so bored of the double standards. Considering that the creators even state the anime is primarily aimed at a female audience, I'd say it's a generally positive thing that women with a muscular, athletic build are being depicted as normal rather than the exaggerated, impossibly thin characters that are still endemic in western animation.



21 Aug, 2020

I'm inclined to agree. Didn't watch the trailer but from the picture I was wondering what was excessively unrealistic about the clothing. Nothing I wouldn't expect to see at the wall during summer.

Though the amount of definition given to the breasts of the woman on the bottom right does feel a bit unnecessary.

21 Aug, 2020

The trailer is very 'teeny' and is mostly about someone discovering climbing and realising it can provide both a physical and mental challenge, plus competition etc. All very normal and realistic.

But some women look like that, right? Put it this way - if it was a guy with a chiseled set of pectorals, would you think it was unnecessary or simply depiction of the body composition of a specific individual?

In my opinion this is societal conditioning, pure and simple. We've been taught that it's inappropriate to see the shape of a womans body, beyond a certain 'point' of modesty. Men are not held to these standards.

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