Overtake! Episode 1 Review

Overtake! Episode 1 Review

A Good Racing Anime?

Overtake! Episode 1 is the start of a brand-new racing anime that might actually be good. However, I’m going to keep my expectations low. In general, most sports anime aren’t that great. And that’s especially true for motorsports anime, like this one.

I get that there are some popular motorsports anime out there, like Initial D. But, can you name a single other one? The only other motorsports anime I can name is Two Car because I watched it years ago. And, you’ll be shocked to find out that it was just alright.

Now, when it comes to most sports anime, I don’t really care. I don’t watch or play any traditional sports. But, I’ve been a motorsports fan for a while. I’ve been watching F1 for 11 years, I used to watch MotoGP, and I sometimes watch endurance racing. I’ve even been to two F1 races and an American Le Man Series race.

Belsorriso F4 cars from the anime series Overtake! Episode 1
Belsorriso F4 cars

Considering I like motorsports, I want there to be a great racing anime. And my hope is that Overtake! can be that. But, even if it’s not, the first episode gave me hope that it can create new motorsports fans.

Most people who watch this series are already going to be into racing. I get that. However, Episode 1 did a pretty good job of introducing racing concepts to newbies. It explained that there are different classes of Formula cars (briefly). And it explained things like the formation lap, yellow flags, and safety car.

Oh, and there’s the fact that the protagonist, Kouya Madoka, knows nothing about racing. That facilitates teaching newcomers about the sport in a natural way. It allows other characters to explain things to Kouya (and the viewer) without it seeming out of place. Many anime fail at this.

Formula 4 at Fuji

I guess I can explain Formula 4 a bit more for anyone who’s unfamiliar with racing. Formula racing is a kind of open-wheel racing, with the highest category being Formula 1 (F1). Below F1, there’s F2. Below F2, there’s F3. And below F3, there’s F4.

F4 is pretty much the next step up above karting (go-karts). So, the drivers in F4 are basically amateurs, and many of the teams are self-owned. By contrast, in F1, drivers can have 8-figure salaries, and many of the teams are owned by car manufacturers.

In this episode, we see an F4 race at the Fuji International Speedway. I’m not familiar with how the Japanese F4 circuit works. But, I imagine that they race at multiple tracks around Japan, not only Fuji. So, throughout the season, we may see some other famous tracks, like Suzuka Circuit.

The F4 starting grid at Fuji International Speedway from the anime series Overtake! Episode 1
The F4 starting grid at Fuji International Speedway

As a fun fact, Suzuka Circuit is one of my favorite racetracks. It’s actually what the DoubleSama Discord server’s bot, Suzuka, is named after. I’m really hoping Overtake! has at least one episode at that track because it’s a cool one.

Anyway, one thing I’m a little bummed out by is the lack of racing content in the first episode. What I want from a racing anime is a lot of racing. However, I get the feeling that this series is going to focus a lot more on the characters. And that’s why I have my doubts about it ending up “good.”

There are a lot of anime out there with great characters and stories. All I want from a racing anime is great racing action. Think of it like a shounen battle series, but with cars. I want there to be nonstop action. Will we get that? Probably not.

Mobile Chicanes Komaki Motors

We met two of the F4 teams in this episode. First, there’s the front-running team Belsorriso. This team has two cars that seem to regularly start races on the front row and go on to win. But, they’re not the main team of the series.

The main team is Komaki Motors, a backmarker team that only fields a single car. Komaki Motors typically doesn’t fare too well in races, which is to be expected. Their team has a single mechanic, who’s the owner’s son. And judging from the lack of decals on their car, they have no sponsors.

It’s pretty clear that Overtake! is going to be an underdog story. By the final race of the season, I’m expecting Komaki Motors’ Haruka Asahina to win his first race. And, along the way, he’ll learn to be more of a team player than he currently is.

Haruka Asahina of Komaki Motors from the anime series Overtake! Episode 1
Haruka Asahina of Komaki Motors

Haruka isn’t the only character who needs to grow, though. Kouya also has his own stuff to work through. From what we’ve seen, he’s incapable of taking portrait photography. He freezes up when pointing his camera at human subjects — at least when their faces are visible.

We didn’t get much backstory for Kouya in this episode. But, we can infer things from the little we did get. When Kouya tries to take photographs of people, he has flashbacks to violent waves in the ocean. And we saw that he got a lot of hate online for not saving someone.

So, my assumption is that he was photographing someone who fell overboard and was lost at sea. That would explain why he doesn’t photograph people anymore. But, he was able to photograph Haruka after he crashed out at Fuji. And this is the start of Kouya’s healing process.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of Overtake! Episode 1? Are you going into the series as a motorsport fan? Or is this all new to you? What are you hoping to get out of the series? And, what do you think the event was that gave Kouya portrait photography PTSD? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about supporting this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of Episode 2 is available now.

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