Basquash! (2009)

“DESTROY! DESTROY! DESUTOROIIIIIIIIIIIII!”

Seriously, I began to lost count of just how much I heard that single word over and over the course of animation studio Satelight’s (which I have never heard of) 26 episode original anime – Basquash!

Hmmmm, yes. That’s actually quite a peculiar name. Just what does it mean? Surely it must have something to with bad boys playing squash. Ah, no. That’s wrong. Well, is it a fighting anime? ‘Basquash’ sure does sound like a sound effect for beating someone up – both sexually and non-sexually, of course. Nuh-uh, wrong again.

Then just what is Basquash! all about? It’s, uh, well about basketball being played by guys in semi-giant robots which eventually ends up saving the day. Yup.

Synopsis from MyAnimeList: On the planet Earthdash, its inhabitants gaze on its moon and the technologically advanced lunar city of Mooneyes with awe. Dan JD, a boy living in Rollingtown on Earthdash’s surface, gets caught up in Bigfoot Basketball—a fast-paced sport played with giant Bigfoot robots.

Now you must be thinking why would any sane person watch something with a premise as dumb as this. Yeah, that’s what I thought too when a friend recommended this anime too. I said to myself, “Well, I do like playing basketball and I guess mechas are cool. And the guy recommending does have good taste. Meh, let’s see how this turns out.”

And to my surprise, it didn’t just turn out fine. No. It was even better than I expected.

Basquash! is quite literally one of the main reasons why I love watching anime so much. I mean, a group of people gathered somewhere and decided that a show about mecha-basketball saving the dystopian day would actually sell. And, wow. They actually made it really interesting with quality visuals and sound to boot. Satelight, the mad-studio, he actually did it. Haha!

The first half of Basquash! is pretty much background for what’s to come later and an introduction of the many characters of the show. Dan JD, the main character, hates Bigfoot Basketball (bigfoots are mechas) due to an accident which caused his little sister to lose her legs. Donning the persona of Dunk Mask, Dan goes around town smashing TVs which showcase Bigfoot Basketball matches and causing general mayhem. A childhood sweetheart, Miyuki, then comes back to town and shows Dan the errors of his ways and also instills the love of Bigfoot Basketball in him. And that’s where the journey begins.

After a couple of instances of chaos and a year-long prison sentence later, Dan is seeing as a legend all over the place with his rad ball skills. He then meets Sela, the cliche girl with hidden issues, and Iceman Hottie (lol ), the source of “DESTROY!”. They then eventually form a team thanks to Haruka ‘McTits’ and play Dan’s version of chaotic ‘is this even a sport anymore?’  basketball all over the world to gain fame and a chance to go the heaven that is Mooneyes where all the rich people live.

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Haruka McTits!

Yeah, that’s pretty sums up the first half. The second half of the show is where things boosted up to a whole new level.

In a radically bizarre twist akin to that of Kill la Kill, the Dan’s planet Earthdash and Mooneyes are in danger of destruction and Dan and his buddies have to save the worlds with the help of Dan’s version of basketball which he calls ‘Basquash’.

I’m not going to get too much into the second half because I wholeheartedly recommend this show and want people to experience the greatness themselves. However, I will talk about a few specific stuff.

Firstly, character development finally takes precedence in the second part as the over-arching plot is gradually revealed. Iceman finally gets a grip on himself and starts saying “DEATH TO TROOOOOOOOY!” a little less. Romance blooms between Dan and Rouge, a girl from a rival basquash playing idol group. Rouge becomes a very important character later on so [REDACTED].

Secondly, the ending is super rushed. It should have taken a good two or three episodes to come to a proper conclusion. But for some reason, the anime just ended in an instant and you were left confused with no clue as to how the hell did the worlds just get saved. I had to re-watch the last episode just to figure this out and even then, it was just so half-assed, it left a poor taste in my mouse. Another problem with the ending is that it’s open-ended. Many things are left unanswered and there is no conclusion to Dan’s love plot.

For the first 10 episodes or so, the animation is smooth and slick with heavy detailing everywhere. The CGI for the bigfoots blend perfectly with the 2D elements of the show and this is just a pleasure to look at. Even the Basquash matches have the greatness of cool fighting scenes. Sadly, though, the animation quickly deteriorates after these episodes. It becomes rough, the detailing takes a hike, and the Basquash matches start looking like slideshows of stills.

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Nike plays a huge role in Basquash!

The background music is just… wow. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘pumped’. Whenever the electrical guitar piece, which sounds like a mix of traditional Arabian music and underground techno, starts playing I get all upbeat and ready for action. Even the dramatic background music plays at the perfect times and really softens you up. And then there’s the “Running On” track that plays during a crucial scene with Dan and Rouge. Just amazing.

I didn’t like the first Opening. The first hip-hop Ending was a neat song. The second Opening took some warming up to. Same goes for the second Ending which is a generic idol song but somehow hooks you up.

Sure, I do have quite the qualms with certain parts of the plot. First of all, it just took a while to take in the fact that I was actually enjoying a show about psuedo-basketball saving the worlds. But then I also reminded myself that I had greatly enjoyed Kill la Kill and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan so that matter was resolved easily. And then there’s also the fact the first half of the show has a lot of visual and story continuity errors.

But, I still massively enjoyed Basquash! and I hope you will too so, I’m going to give it a lofty score of and 8 out of 10.

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