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How Ao Ashi Puts the “I” in “Team”

One of the most common tropes in sports anime is having characters discover the importance of coming together as a group. It’s not a bad message to convey—there’s a reason these are team sports. But the soccer anime Ao Ashi does something different. Turning the utter importance of teamwork on its head, Ao Ashi stars a hero whose strength is his brand of selfishness. The Tried-and-True Formulas Team sports anime (as opposed to individual sports) typically go one of two ways in recent times. In the first, the protagonist is a brash and talented yet self-centered individual who quickly learns that there’s only so much they can do, and over time warm up to their teammates. Haikyu!! sees a pair...

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