This was not an episode filled with subtlety and nuance; I’m beginning to see some troubling trends in SK8 the Infinity as it powers through its second half. While the first half of the series focused on falling in love with skating and the wonder of it, the second half seems to be more focused on melodrama and ridiculous skateboarding stunts that are as dumb as they are unbelievable. While it’s fair to say that sports anime often have somewhat of a fantastical take on things, SK8 the Infinity began as a very grounded show that focused on skateboarding in a realistic and authentic manner, but that seems to have gone out the window as time has rolled on.
This episode sees two of the tournament matches take place. First off is Joe versus Langa, which was fine for the most part and despite some ridiculous moments—like Joe removing his feet off the board and riding it from his hands in a Superman-like position. This manoeuvre could not possibly be performed in reality. That said, it is anime, so it’s fair to give it a pass. The race is a bit back-and-forth, before Langa ultimately wins after some sideline cheering-on from Reki.
The Reki and Langa drama is still going on but is largely put to the background of this episode, as it explores the history between Adam, Joe, and Cherry. It seems that they were all skating buddies back in their high school days, but somewhere along the way Adam became the awful piece of shit that we now know him to be for reasons yet to be explained.
We also get the main event match of the episode, with Adam and Cherry going head-to-head. Adam attempts his stupid Love Hug move, and when that fails Adam literally hops off his board, runs full force at Cherry, and beats him over the head with his skateboard—which somehow means he wins the race. Cherry is hospitalised and Adam faces no repercussions for hopping off his board mid-race and physically assaulting his opponent. This was, for me, the jump the shark moment for SK8 the Infinity. It just makes no sense that this would happen, nor that it would be an acceptable thing to do in an S race. We knew that Adam had injured other skaters by “out skating” them and causing them to crash or fall off the boards, but to see him just swing his board at Cherry’s face like a baseball bat was beyond my suspension of disbelief.
All in all, I thought that this was not a great episode for the series and one that ultimately just lost the plot completely and devolved into a moment of utter nonsensical violence. I hope that SK8 the Infinity can get back on track again after this episode, but I am feeling more and more that the series is skating away from what made it so great in its early episodes, and my enthusiasm for it is starting to grind to a halt.