Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls

Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls

Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls anime series cover art
Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls

Series Overview

Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls (いわかける! -Sport Climbing Girls-) is apparently a comedy, sports anime. The sports part I understand considering the series is about competitive rock climbing. The comedy part, not so much. It doesn’t really have any more comedy than the average non-comedy anime.

I’ve never had much luck with sports anime. I know there are good ones out there, but I seem to always find ones that are okay at best. And Iwa Kakeru! is no exception. I think it’s a good premise, but the execution is lacking for a few reasons — namely the animation.

Rock Climbing isn’t really something you would expect to see an anime about, which is why I was first drawn to Iwa Kakeru! I’m much more interested in series about “adventure sports” like rock climbing than I am about traditional sports like baseball.

And I think that this series did a good job at showcasing all that competitive rock climbing has to offer. It features lead climbing, bouldering, speed climbing, and even natural rock climbing as well. Lead, bouldering, and speed are the three climbing types featured in competitions.

In lead climbing, competitors have a set time to complete a route in one go. In bouldering, there are multiple routes and competitors have to finish as many as they can in a set time. And in speed climbing, a standardized route is raced up.

The best part of the series by far were the episodes that focused on the actual competitions. I get that there has to be build up before we’re just thrown into a competition. But the series would have benefited from having more of a competitive focus. I enjoyed seeing how the different characters solved each problem in their own ways.

Main Characters

Konomi Kasahara is the protagonist of the series and the newest member of Hanamiya’s rock climbing team. At the start of the series, Konomi has no experience with rock climbing whatsoever. However, she’s an avid puzzle gamer. And thanks to that, she has an advantage in bouldering due to her problem-solving abilities.

It’s not as if playing puzzle games immediately makes Konomi good at rock climbing though. Even if she can see the route she needs to take, there’s a physical aspect to the sport as well as general knowledge of the sport that she lacks at the start.

Konomi Kasahara from the anime series Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls
Konomi Kasahara

Sayo Yotsuba is the captain of the rock climbing team and considered one of the best high school climbers in the region. Although she excels at all three climbing types, I believe her specialty is supposed to be lead climbing.

Nonoka Sugiura is the vice captain of the team and an all-around more interesting character than Sayo is. And I’m not just saying that because she’s the shortest of the group. Well, I am, but not for the reason you’re thinking. Nonoka has to compensate for her short stature with flexibility and a unique climbing style that make watching her solve problems interesting.

Many times, we’re shown various girls going about solving problems in the same ways. But when it comes to Nonoka, she often physically can’t solve the problems in those same ways.

And Jun Uehara is the final member of the team. She doesn’t really do so well when it comes to problem-solving, so bouldering isn’t her forte. Instead, she’s a master of speed climbing, where the route is always set and known beforehand. I don’t find her all that interesting, but she does bring a unique skill set to the team.

How to Improve Iwa Kakeru!

As I mentioned previously, one way to improve Iwa Kakeru! would be to put more of a focus on the competitions. I’d have much rather watched a series with a small amount of buildup and one, long competition than what we got. What we got was a lot of build-up and a few small competitions sprinkled throughout.

But what the series really needed to be good was some better animation to make the competition scenes more impactful. Think of it like One Punch Man. In that series, the crazy animation was often used to make otherwise mundane actions, like Saitama literally punching once, entertaining.

That same effect is needed to make Iwa Kakeru! work as well. The climbing animation is so plain, or simply static, that there’s not much for viewers to get hyped up about. Watching the girls figure out and scale the walls is definitely interesting, but the series is missing the wow-factor that I think sports anime need.

Jun Uehara from the anime series Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls
Jun Uehara

In a lot of ways, sports anime are just action anime. So would you watch an action anime that doesn’t move very much? I mean, I probably would still. But it would definitely be worse than an action anime that’s actually animated well.

The other improvement I would make is to focus more on the characters from other teams. There are a lot of unique climbers featured on these teams, and yet they barely got any screen time. Variety is important, and since the series mainly focused on the girls of Hanamiya, we didn’t get much of that.

Yes, there was a variety in how we got to see multiple kinds of sport climbing. But I would have liked it to go beyond that. Again, Nonoka was an interesting character because her climbing style was different from the other three main characters. Focusing more on these unique characters wouldn’t have hurt.


I think Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls is a 6/10. I definitely enjoyed it, but it also had a lot of flaws. If there’s ever a second season of it, which I doubt there will be, I’ll watch it. However, it’s not the kind of series I see myself ever rewatching. Maybe just the competition episodes if anything.

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