Prince of Stride: Alternative is a 2016 sports anime based on Shuji Sogabe's light novel series and an otome game created by Kadokawa Games. Nana Sakurai, a first-year Honan Academy student, aspires to join the Stride Club after witnessing an excellent video of the squad on the internet. She finds, however, that the club has been dormant owing to an awful tragedy. Nana and her friends, Takeru Fujiwara and Riku Yagami, decide to reestablish the club and compete in the "End of Summer" competition in Eastern Japan.

Prince of Stride: Alternative was not as well-known as other sports shows like as Haikyuu!! or Yuri!!! on Ice. Here's why it didn't resonate with fans – and if it's still worth revisiting today.


Prince of Stride's Action Sequences and Sport Explanations Failed

Is This Forgotten Unusual Sports Anime Worth a Watch?_0

The majority of sports-themed anime is based on a real-life equivalent. Prince of Stride, on the other hand, is based on a fictional sport called "stride," which is a running relay competition that mixes parkour's militaristic and martial arts. For those who are new with parkour, it mixes speed and acrobatic skill: participants must quickly cross numerous barriers in urban places by leaping, climbing, swinging, or utilizing any movement appropriate for the occasion.

Prince of Stride is unique in the sense that it incorporates these parkour elements; unfortunately, it fails to make these moments stand out. Sports anime are popular among fans for the dramatic action sequences in which, frame by frame, there’s a smooth transition of a swift pass or a hardcore spike. Yet the animation is minimalist in Prince of Stride. There are moments where characters show off their acrobatic skills and agility -- like swinging on a bar or jumping down flights of stairs -- but the action often feels a bit standstill and isn't entertaining enough to the extent that audiences feel engaged in the sport.


Most sports anime, such as Kuroko's Basketball and Haikyuu!!, include dialogue and visuals to explain the featured sport to audiences. Even if a viewer hasn't watched the sport in real life, they can easily pick it up through verbal and visual context clues. Prince of Stride: Alternative, however, has no narrator who explains the fictional sport to the viewers.

Instead, the audience has to guess what "stride" is based on the visual clues in the relay competitions. For instance, when viewers first learn about the sport “stride,” the characters talk about a “relationer.” Since this is a fictional sport, we do not know what a "relationer" is until seeing the characters in action. Nana reports the timing and prepares the runners, so they can tag one another to start the next leg of the race. The explanation of "stride" isn't as clear-cut as it should be for a sports series; thus, viewers may get confused if they don't pick up on these visual cues.


Like many sports anime, Prince of Stride emphasizes the importance of friendship.

Is This Forgotten Unusual Sports Anime Worth a Watch?_1

Prince of Stride: Alternative is no exception. Sports anime frequently highlight the value of collaboration and camaraderie. For example, there is a fight between two third-year stride team students, Heath Hasekura and Kyosuke Kuga. The members of the Stride hear about the KGB event that caused Kyosuke and another member to leave the squad. Fortunately, Heath and Kyosuke made apologies, allowing the latter to rejoin the squad. These significant events, as in other sports anime, establish the relationships between characters and their love of a sport.

However, Prince of Stride fails to provide wholesome endings for some of its characters, specifically Tomoe Yagami. Tomoe is the older brother of Riku Yagami and a talented athlete who was also involved in the KGB incident. Characterized as intimidating and only caring about winning, Tomoe is the reason for Riku’s inferiority complex; the latter would often compare himself unfavorably to his older brother. Furthermore, the KGB incident strains Tomoe’s relationship with his former teammates Heath and Kyosuke. Although he is reunited with all of them in the last episode, it is unclear whether Tomoe rekindles those relationships, leaving viewers with an unsatisfying ending.

Prince of Stride: Alternative is still worth watching for avid sports fans. However, its major flaws may make some anime fans think twice about adding it to their watch list.