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Gunjo No Fanfare Horse Racing Academy - What We Know So Far

With the rise of shows like "Haikyuu" and "Kuroko's Basketball," sports anime have become more popular than ever. Combining the thrill of competition with the storytelling capabilities of the medium, sports anime have the unique ability to provide visceral, character-driven stories about competition without relying on the level of violence that the shonen genre puts front and center. To that end, it's no wonder why the sports genre has acquired such popularity and why every new season brings at least one or two new entries into the fold.

Perhaps the most promising of this season's newcomers is "Gunjō no Fanfare Horse Racing Academy," an anime focused wholeheartedly on the art of horse racing. Unlike many other anime, "Gunjō no Fanfare" (literally "Fanfare of Adolescence" in English) is an original work from Aniplex and animation studio Lay-duce (via Anime News Network). With a release window scheduled for this upcoming spring season, "Gunjō no Fanfare"" may just be the next big thing in sports anime. With that in mind, here is what we know about its release date, cast, and plot.

What is the release date for Gunjō no Fanfare?

Give credit where it's due to Aniplex, because the company wasted no time in filling in fans on the most crucial details regarding "Gunjō no Fanfare." On August 28, Aniplex announced the ongoing production for the series via Twitter and revealed its projected release window (along with a trailer) in one swift motion.  Assuming all goes well for "Gunjō no Fanfare's" production, fans will be able to tune in for the first time sometime in spring 2022.

Before you get too excited, however, this is just the release window for the series' release on Japanese television. Aniplex has not announced when "Gunjō no Fanfare" will be made available internationally through streaming services. Luckily, fans in the west likely won't have to wait long, as many anime these days go international within a year after its initial broadcast, usually through major streaming services such as Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Who are the characters in Gunjō no Fanfare?

The story of "Gunjō no Fanfare" focuses on the adventures of three 15-year-old boys as they attend a prestigious racing academy. The main character of this trio, as it were, is Yu Arimura, a former idol star who falls in love with jockeying at first sight and endeavors to chase his new dream (via Anime News Network). He is voiced by actor Shougo Yano.

The second member of this critical trio is Amane Grace (Natsuki Hanae). A boy of noble English heritage, Amane is the only member of the trio who has prior jockeying experience. Not only was his father a jockey, but he has previously attended other horse racing academies. This is in stark contrast to the trio's final member, Shun Kanami (Shumba Tsuchiya). Shun grew up on a rather isolated island and was only ever introduced to horse racing through radio broadcasts. That doesn't stop him from following his passion for the sport.

What is the plot of Gunjō no Fanfare?

The horse racing academy at the center of "Gunjō no Fanfare" (which Aniplex has conveniently left unnamed) is one of the most prestigious in the world. With an entrance exam up to 20 times harder than that of its closest competitor, this academy only takes the best of the best when it comes to academics and fitness (via Myanimelist).

Our trio of heroes forges on to follow their dreams of becoming successful jockeys. Though Aniplex hasn't shown much of the core conflicts Yu, Amane, and Shun will be facing, they all likely center around two major obstacles: making sure they perform academically and placing well in the school's various races. With this in mind, we can see a huge opportunity for "Gunjō no Fanfare" to delve into the minutia of horse racing, just as shows like "Haikyuu" get in depth about volleyball. To that end, the series could be equal parts educational and exhilarating as viewers learn more about the sport as the races unfold before their eyes. 

The show's official site describes it as a "youth drama," meaning the relationships between Yu, Amane, and Shun are an equal, if not greater, focus than the actual racing. Whether it lives up to these expectations will be seen when "Gunjō no Fanfare" releases in 2022.