Quiz bowl is an actual thing, yes, although I wasn’t actually aware it was until I saw Fastest Finger First. FFF is basically about a whole bunch of nerds trying to answer questions based on classics, history, religion, and popular culture. Becoming such a competitor requires knowledge and strategy. From what I’ve seen of real Quiz Bowl on YouTube, FFF is so dramatized to the point where it focus on a certain skill portrayed in the anime (and not present in real life, but possible), and that is buzzing in before you hear the entire question. According to the show, the host will leave clues in their voice and in the question they read, and you buzz in immediately once you pick up on them. That’s just purely insane, because you lose points if you don’t buzz in or get the question wrong just because you didn’t hear the entire question. Quiz competitions are supposed to be game shows, but Quiz Bowl has gotten to the point where it’s a sport now, and not a game anymore.
Quiz bowl takes up approximately 80% of the entire story, with other plot points focusing on the characters themselves and getting a working set of buzzers. Their backstories seem legit, especially for the female lead Mari Fukami who has passion for the sport and a legitimate reason for getting into quiz bowl in the first place. Shiki Koshiyama’s backstory isn’t explored very well, despite being the main character, but he makes it up for his vast library of knowledge that the other characters don’t have. Their club president, Gakuto Sasajima’s origin is mysterious at first and his initial appearance really has hyped up several students to try out quiz bowl. During the finale of the show, when we find out he was a former member of one of the best quiz bowl teams in the country, we begin to see him in a different light. Daisuke is just dead meat and is only there for comic relief, but Jinko isn’t so bad since she made them new buzzers.
Throughout the show, we’re introduced to several characters not part of the main cast, or rather part of the supporting cast. One of them, Mikuriya (my favorite character) is a worthy rival and the main inspiration and encouragement to get Shiki stronger than he already is. However Akira Sonohara (I hate him) stands in his way of getting to the top due to his unorthrodox methods of quiz bowl.
To be very blunt with you, I was unsatisfied with the voice acting for this anime. The casting choices was poorly chosen, especially for Mari’s who’s voice actress is just fresh into the industry. She was given a main role right off the bat as her very first role, which downplays her experience and makes her voice very unnatural.
The show has only one plot and focuses on that, thus it makes the show very boring. The pacing is alright, although character development is lacking in most characters, especially for the main cast. Quiz bowl isn’t a huge thing, but this show will most certainly upheave popularity of the sport in Japan, although not so much in America. Also, don’t hire first-timer newbies for main roles….