By Deanna Nguyen
Every so often, an anime comes along and piques your interest before turning into a full-blown hyperfixation. Don’t even try to hide the fact that you’ve dedicated your every waking thought to a series because, honestly, same. More recently, that series is SK8 the Infinity.
Cue Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” but make it plural! Studio Bones’ latest project is all about skateboarders in the “Hawaii of Japan,” a.k.a. Okinawa. The Winter Season is stacked with sequels and new adaptations, but SK8 the Infinity stands on its own legs as an original with the backing of a well-known director, Hiroko Utsumi, and the reputable studio animating it.
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We’ve got plenty of reasons (eight, to be exact!) as to why an anime about handsome skateboarders is your next obsession. The cast isn’t just eye candy; they’ve got their trials and tricks that make them seem fun to be around, even if they’re, sadly, fictional.
Keep reading to decide whether or not SK8 the Infinity will take over your life like it has for us!
It’s from the same director as Free!
If you’re a fan of the Free! franchise, then you know that Hiroko Utsumi directed Seasons 1 and 2 of Free! under Kyoto Animation. She then directed Banana Fish at MAPPA before working with Bones to create her own original work, SK8 the Infinity.
Utsumi has a distinct direction with her projects, from the insanely detailed close-ups of characters’ pupils to the goofy expressions reminiscent of ’90s cartoons. These touches are very much present in SK8 the Infinity.
Aside from her role as a director, she was also a storyboard artist and animator for many of KyoAni’s works like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Hyouka and Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!
The production value is top-notch.
From the studio that brought us My Hero Academia and Mob Psycho 100, Bones continues to blow us away with its animation quality, particularly in action scenes. Instead of epic fights this time around, the studio is animating skateboard tricks and races that give us just as much of an adrenaline rush as intense face-offs with supervillains!
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SK8 the Infinity is full of energy in almost every scene; Bones’ attention to detail (and its work with Studio No Bones) in how skateboarders perform tricks and maneuver on different kinds of terrain is as realistic as it is logical in terms of physics.
Well, OK, maybe it’s reaching juuust a bit when LANGA effortlessly rides a skateboard for the first time with his feet duct-taped to the board. Still looks cool, though!
Oh, look—cute boys with personalities and designs to suit everyone’s tastes!
Utsumi’s works have focused on a cast of ridiculously good-looking young men, and SK8 the Infinity is no different. Do you like the cheerful character with a heart of gold? Meet Reki, the show’s red-haired protagonist. If you prefer the laid-back type who doesn’t have any bad camera angles, Langa is your man.
Other characters gradually enter the scene, all of whom go by nicknames whenever they appear at the “S” races such as SHADOW and CHERRY BLOSSOM. Although some of the characters seem larger than life, Reki and Langa are relatable in the sense that they’re still trying to improve their skateboarding skills and work on their shortcomings through trial and error.
Honestly, we’d love to hang out with all of them!
An OP that makes you dance and an ED that’ll induce head bobbing.
SK8 the Infinity’s OP and ED themes are instant bops, and not just because of the music. Utsumi works her magic on the OP animation sequence by having Reki and Langa dance on their boards.
Some of the moves might even seem familiar (hint: go watch Free!’s ED theme, “SPLASH FREE”). The OP theme, performed by Rude-α, is called “Paradise,” which you can listen to on Spotify right now, or above!
The ED theme is appropriately titled “Infinity” with Yuuri as the performing artist, and it’s also available on Spotify! Because the song is super chill, you might want to put on sunglasses and imagine yourself strolling along the beach as your head bobs to the beat.
Both the ED theme and animation sequence definitely capture the Okinawa scenery! Not to mention it showcases times when the awesome tricks in the series don’t go as planned…
There’s a fennec fox!
That’s right—SK8 the Infinity features an adorable fennec fox! The fox doesn’t have a name (yet), but it seems to be the skate shop owner’s pet. It’s pretty feisty around Reki and Langa, biting their fingers and walking away with its nose in the air as if nothing happened.
Will the fox have a backstory, or will it just be the show’s mascot? Either way, it’s the cutest animated fox we’ve seen!
The racing contest is like Mario Kart but with skateboarding.
The “S” contest in SK8 the Infinity isn’t your run-of-the-mill skateboard race. It’s dangerous and devoid of any rules, which means the contestants can play dirty in order to win.
Think Mario Kart but with skateboarding. The first episode reveals just how competitive the race can be, with SHADOW throwing Haemanthus bombs in REKI’s path. That’s like chucking a green shell at a nearby racer to make them spiral out of control!
Skateboarding is an extreme sport, but the show takes it to a whole new level. After all, who could actually create firecracker bombs out of flowers?
The title breaks are comic doodles!
Title breaks are often just simple animation sequences with the show’s title, but SK8 the Infinity doesn’t want you—or the characters—to catch a break.
Instead of flashing the title for two seconds, the show offers animated comic doodles of the characters performing tricks or doing other shenanigans. Not only is it fun to watch but it calls back to Reki doodling and sketching skateboards in his notebook during class.
Every aspect of the show oozes skateboard culture and doesn’t let up on the high-energy. Which brings us to the last point…
It’s a love letter to skateboarders and fans of the extreme sport.
You can tell that the staff put in a lot of time and effort to research about skateboarding because all the details are there in SK8 the Infinity. Whether it’s Reki thinking of ways to modify Langa’s skateboard to better suit the latter’s riding style or the boys talking to each other in skate lingo like “bail” and “ollie,” the setting and characters really do feel authentic.
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As a matter of fact, a fan pointed out similarities between the tricks performed by Miya Chinen and real pro skater Rodney Mullen, a skateboarding legend and trick pioneer.
The show had to pay homage to prolific skateboarders in real life somehow (and we’re still banking on a Tony Hawk cameo appearance later on), and we’re stoked that someone caught the influence!
It might feel like skateboard culture is a relic of the 2000s, but SK8 the Infinity proves that nothing ever dies if you’re truly passionate about it. Don’t want the show to end? A spinoff manga and full series adaptation are in the works, so that’s something to get excited about!
In the meantime, stream SK8 the Infinity right now, exclusively on Funimation.