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Skate-Leading Stars EP10: Trudging towards the Grand Prix Finals

The skate-leading stars enter the final leg of the Grand Prix Series. Who will emerge victoriously? Who will cave into the pressure? All that in this week’s episode.

Maeshima and Sasugai
The Ionodai Team head to the Grand Prix finals once more!

The Sensational Six is finally complete, and as we enter the final leg of the Grand Prix Series, here’s a rundown of the six competing schools:

· Fresh off a decisive final match and coming in at last place is Kogahara High led by ace Izumi Himekawa

· In fifth place, Matsuyama Fukuonji High (we haven’t seen them yet from previous episodes)

· The Kensei Maeshima-led Ionodai High comes in at a decent fourth place

· Eimei Academy is in third place (we also haven’t seen them yet)

· In the runner-up slot is Chutei University, home of perfect unison twins, the Ishikawas

· And of course, St. Clavis reigns at the top with their ice prince Reo Shinozaki

In Episode 10 (“Finals”), the six contending schools are gathered in some sort of press conference where they also drew lots to determine the order of the performances. The Ionodai will close the free skate program, much to Maeshima’s delight and the curiosity of the other teams. As with any pre-final-leg-of-the-competition episode in most sports anime, not much happens here. But unlike most sports anime, there was not a lot going on to begin with here.

It is perhaps in this episode where we really see how underdeveloped and underwhelming the characters and the story arcs are in this series. While Maeshima and Sasugai are somewhat memorable (the former’s fiery charm and the latter’s quirkiness), the rest of the characters, unfortunately, faded into the background.

Now, it may well be because of a limited episode-run so that’s why the others didn’t have much screen time. But then the series shouldn’t have dumped all of these characters if we aren’t going to see them rightfully shine on their own time and pace. And it’s sad because some of them are just breaking through like Kuonji, the bubbly idol skater, or, a personal favor of this reviewer, the stern Kiriyama (he was so adorable in this episode btw).

Shinozaki and Sasugai
Flashback to the unlikely brothers.

Then you have the plot. At the beginning of this episode, we go back in time a bit for a young Sasugai and young Shinozaki moment. Great, it’s cute, we love to see it. And then the next time this arc appears is at the end and there is no new insight about their cold (pun intended) relationship.

And if you think about it, the reason why Maeshima and Sasugai made a pact and entered skate-leading is to fundamentally get back at Shinozaki. It’s not an uncommon premise, but the way the series executed it leaves a lot to be desired.

Overall, this was a boring episode in an occasionally-thrilling-and-rousing series. This reviewer still looking forward to the last two episodes and the performances. If anything, the actual skating is a consolation to the dull events of these past episodes. But as it stands? Skate-Leading Stars is losing cool real quick.

Skate-Leading Stars Episode 10 premieres March 14 at 10:30PM JST.


Official Anime Website: Skate-Leading Stars Official Anime Twitter: @Skate_Leading #SkateLeadingStars #SkateLeadingStarsReview #EpisodeReview #Review

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