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The other sports anime of the season, the introduction to which explained the meaning of the shows title - the "area" is the box on the football field and the "knight," the one player that can dominate in the box, is the one thing that is missing from Japanese football. Whether or not one could enjoy this anime isn't really dependent on being a football fan; I personally only watch the world cup and even then I barely pay attention until it really gets going. For any sports anime fans: this might be one for you to watch out for.
So the series began in a slightly different manner to most other sports series did, with this first episode focusing mostly on how the main character gets back into a sport he once loved instead of playing the game/discovering his love for a sport. As I said this is different from the start of most other sports series: Hajime no Ippo (the hero is tired of getting beaten up, so when witnessing a boxer's strength he decides to pursue the sport), Prince of Tennis (the hero is a prodigy who embarks upon improving), Slam Dunk (the hero discovers the sport from a girl he has a crush on) etc.
What makes the story even more different is that it has such a psychological back-setting right from the start. This made me more intrigued about Kakeru, since he clearly is an able player, something must have happened to him prior to the start of the story that could be of huge importance for his character development - the 3 seconds of his hesitation and him imagining screams of agony confirmed my thought. Looks to be a story of "the recovering athlete" when it will come to his character development.
The first episode was also able to incorporate elements of humour and romance rather well; both of which seemed to centre around the heroine Nana. The love Kakeru has for her seems to be one that will never be expressed, but since she becomes a manager that might change as the series progresses (hopefully we will avoid the whole "love for the older brother" storyline as that would be too clich d). Humour-wise it seems that most jokes will centre around her beating up one of the football players that keeps drooling over her (running-gag is quite probable) whilst also receiving a lot of attention from boys in general.
And as the episode ends, the story remains different as Kakeru engages in an impromptu one-on-one match with someone in an alien mask. What may seem to be just a fun and quite cool display of techniques, is what forces him to admit his love for the game and thus makes him less hesitant to accept his brother's (the captain) order for him to try out for the team.
To sum up: a nice first episode which I found to be more enjoyable than the New Prince of Tennis and it seems to have a lot of potential when it comes to further developments in the story and characters. You can just tell that the manga is well done by watching the first episode.