Thursday, July 18, 2024

Sk8 The Infinity And The Beauty Of Humility

Yo yo what’s going on those within the Lost Summer fold! It has been far too long since an update has been posted on the site! My apologies! To catch people up to speed with what I’ve been doing, I’ve been writing for the good folks at Game Rant and it’s been a really good experience so far! Can’t complain!

But, not everything has been sugars and rainbows honestly. In fact, it was what drove me to write this. I’ve been watching this anime recently called Sk8 the Infinity and it has been a really good anime so far. The animation has been a high point as well as the relationships between the characters. I could go on specifically saying what makes this anime a hit in my eyes, but, one character steals the show. No, it isn’t Langa, for those who have seen the anime, but rather, Reki. The complexity of Reki, rather.

Reki is the first character viewers are introduced to in Sk8 and a lot of the perspective of the anime is within his eyes. He has a passion for skateboarding like no other in the series. He has been skating since childhood, he made friends through skating within “S,” which is the underground skating downhill jam that many skaters attend on a nightly basis. He’s an overall good kid, but he is marred by one glaring personality trait; His insecurity.

He befriends Langa at the beginning of the series and the two of them become best buds. Reki, because he has someone to who he can teach skateboarding. Langa, because it is the first friend he made since moving to Okinawa after losing his father in Canada. The two of them are getting along very well, but, Langa’s skill is something like a freak of nature. His natural skill in skateboarding translated well from snowboarding, a sport he has taken up since he was two years old.

At first, it isn’t much of a problem for Reki, in fact, he has nothing but support for his friend. It isn’t until his skating comrades break the news that everyone is paying attention to his new friend over Reki. Suddenly, he realizes that in the short time Langa has taken up skateboarding, he has not only surpassed Reki in skill, but, damn near everyone in Okinawa in raw talent. His skills are enough to take the notice of Adam, the current antagonist of Sk8 the Infinity who is basically corporate trash. Also, he has a very unhealthy obsession with…high schoolers.

But, back to Reki. Reki realizes this and knows that Langa’s potential is as high as Langa wishes for it to be. Suddenly Reki is the one chasing after Langa in terms of skill and not the other way around. It gets to the point when Reki doesn’t feel like he’s able to talk to Langa due to the fact that Langa is in another league. He feels he isn’t worthy and as such should just quit skateboarding, so, he hits an all-time low as far as mood goes.

It isn’t until he watches a documentary about a shoemaker who was once an athlete that Reki realizes the bitter truth. In this documentary, the shoemaker says that the athletes he once competed against were out of his league, so, instead of leaving the field completely, he designs shoes for said athletes to help support them. This strikes a chord with Reki, though again, it is a very bitter pill to swallow. A profession that he has loved since childhood, one where he lost a friend due to injuries, only to be left in the dust and left behind. Is being a skateboard designer something that he is regulated to becoming? Is it something Reki is willing to accept?

Believe it or not, this kind of thing happens all the time. Let’s take fighting games, for instance, there are several people in the FGC who are nowhere near the caliber of high-level players, yet they continue to remain mainstays within the community. Some of whom had helped develop various levers and arcade sticks with the competitors in mind. Heck, some of whom have even become tournament organizers or influencers in some ways. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that your talents may not rely on the game but instead rely on helping others succeed in the games you are passionate in. You don’t have to be a high-level player to be a relevant player within the community after all. Skateboarding is no different. Knowing the proper skateboard for each of your clients and helping them succeed is a valuable tool to have in your repertoire. Sure, you may not win EVO, but having someone win EVO with the configuration you made is just as brilliant, if not more brilliant.

However, to reach that status, one has to be aware of what they can and cannot do in their respect passion. In the case of Reki, we see this as a rarity in a protagonist. Here is a protagonist who has lost every race he had been in, reduced to being second fiddle to the secondary, Langa, who excels in skill in every which way. Part of the reason for Langa’s success is due to his custom skateboard, tailor-made by Reki to fit Langa as much as possible. Reki is as much of a part of Langa’s success as Langa’s skill is, but in order for Reki to realize this, he has to know that his skills in skateboard crafting is still a part of the skateboarding culture.

When you’re highly competitive, you want to be the best. You want to overcome your obstacles and your own self-doubt. You want to prove yourself wrong over everyone else. You want everyone to notice you for your skill and Reki himself is no slouch. He’s able to hold his own against others on the mountain, but compared to the other high-profile skaters he always finds himself behind and that’s okay. You don’t have to be the best to be relevant in your community, whether it’s skating or fighting games.

If your passion is big enough, you can and will find ways to make it through within your field. Take it from me for instance. I suck at Tekken, but I love the game and its community so much that I want to promote it and them as much as I could. I love the FGC and I wish to do all I can for them, even if I find myself not being anywhere near the best in any fighting game. With Sk8 the Infinity being an ongoing series, it’s unsure what may happen to Reki, Langa, and the rest, but one thing is for certain. Reki’s character development begins in knowing that while he may not be the best in what he does, he can still contribute and help his fellow friends be the best they can be.