By all means, feel free to disagree with my reviews : I'm doing these as discussion starting points, and I'm curious about other opinions.It's cool and all that Jhiday writes these reviews for us, but they are his personal opinions, based on his own tastes, and may not be in accord with your own.
The Knight in the Area (Area no Kishi)
What's it about ?
High-school soccer melodrama.
Kakeru, our protagonist. He used to be quite a good soccer player until he injured his left leg (the flashbacks are quick and vague), although since he's running around without trouble most of the damage must be in his head. He's switched to being the "manager" of his high-school soccer club (in the Japanese sense that he has no authority whatsoever and is a glorified go-fer). While he's enthusiastic about it, he's obviously in denial.
Suguru, his older brother, and the captain/star player of the club ; there's a pre-credits scene of him marking for Japan against Brazil in the under-15 Cup, just to hammer the point. To say that Kakeru has an inferiority complex over him is an understatement. Suguru is getting annoyed at Kakeru's denial and passive-aggressiveness, and frankly I'm with him. He pulls strings to get Kakeru back onto the team, which hopefully is going to get him out of his funk.
Nana ("Seven"), Kakeru's tomboyish childhood friend. Her family had moved to the US for the last few years, but now she's back. She claims to be making a move for the manager position, but I hope she gets to be on the team somehow, because she's got spunk and she's shown to have been quite good at it back in the day.
There's a mysterious person (disguised as a grey, of all things) who surprises Kakeru as he was playing soccer alone in a park at night, and plays around with him for a bit. Kakeru thinks this may be either Suguru or one of the few other named players we've seen so far, but I'm not fooled for a second : this is obviously Nana.
We see a few of the other members of the soccer clubs, but because Kakeru seems to prefer associating with the underdogs, that means they're the perpetual loser and the mandatory horny dude. Sigh.
Quite low. It overuses still frames, and the animation's nothing to write home about. I don't really like the way how Suguru looks so much older than Kakeru despite them being stated to only be one year apart. Also, the score is laying the melodrama a bit thick.
This is quite better than I expected at first. Kakeru is very annoying indeed, but I was pleasantly surprised that the series seems to agree that his attitude needs to change. I quite like the other characters (well, aside from the horndog), and I'm intrigued by the hints that Suguru may not survive the next couple of episodes.
I'm somewhat optimistic about this one, although I'm not sure how long I'll keep with it (especially as I'm not sure for how long it's going to run).