Inazuma Eleven: Ares (Inazuma Eleven Ares no Tenbin in Japan) is an anime series that forms part of the greater Inazuma Eleven franchise.
The anime is an Alternate Continuity of the original anime. The alien attack of the second season never occurred. Raimon Eleven has disbanded due to the Japanese teams being deemed weak compared to their international competition. The members of Raimon Eleven have been sent to different soccer teams across Japan.
The series stars Sonny Wright (Inamori Asuto in Japan) and his small-town football team. Japanese soccer teams require sponsorships to survive, but their island is too rural to get a sponsorship. The team is sent to the mainland to play. Sonny's team replaces the Raimon Eleven as Raimon Junior High's soccer team.
The anime ran from April 2018 to September 2018 in Japan. It is the second of the Inazuma Eleven to receive an English dub. In America, the show began airing in April 2019 as a replacement for Yo-kai Watch on Disney XD's schedule.
It received a sequel series, Orion no Kokuin (lit. The Seal of Orion), which aired from October 2018 to September 2019, and spanned a total of 49 episodes.
Inazuma Eleven: Ares provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The defictionalized Eleven Licenses and Eleven Bands from the Ares and Orion series reveal the character' birthdays. The former also reveal the In-Series Nickname for each character. Some of them, like Haizaki's ("The Demon of the Field") are also mentioned in the series itself, but many of them are not.
- Alternate Continuity: A lot of stuff that happened in the original trilogy did not happen to bring it about. Fubuki Atsuya and Kira Hiroto are not dead. The entire Aliea Arc never happened, thus resulting in them immediately going to the world stage where they get beaten hard due to lacking the training they did during the Aliea Arc, resulting in the original Raimon team going to other teams to act as reinforcements to strengthen them.
- Art Evolution: Compared to the original timeline, the characters are drawn with more realistic body proportions, such as longer legs and less oversized feet.
- Artistic Age: Some characters are taller and more older-looking than their parents and some are so short they don't even look like elementary schoolers, but they're all middle schoolers within a few years difference of one another.
- Ascended Extra: Ootani actually appeared in the games long before she appeared in Ares, but was only a scout character with literally no relevance to the story.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Best friends Iwato and Hattori from Ares. The former is the biggest guy in Inakuni Raimon and the latter is the smallest.
- Bland-Name Product: There are two teams in Ares whose sponsors are a reference to a real-life brand. Zeus' sponsor, God Bull, is a reference to Red Bull, while Minodouzan's sponsor, Hecom, is a reference to Secom.
- Continuity Reboot: Ares served as this for the original series that diverged from the first season. Following this is also a Setting Update where the world of Inazuma Eleven has more updated technology.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- In episode 2 of Ares, Inakuni Raimon scores a single goal in the match against Seishou Gakuen, while the latter score ten.
- Kozoumaru scores the first goal for Inakuni Raimon in the match between them and Seishou Academy, with Fire Tornado. This momentum is short-lived, however, as Seishou mops the floor with Inakuni Raimon for the remainder of the match and concludes with 10-1.
- Disappeared Dad: Sonny receives a letter from his late mother that explains that his father is a professional football player, and she chose to stay behind and live a quiet life because she thought the excitement and scheduling would be too much for her to bare.
- Downer Beginning: The anime begins with not only the local football/soccer team being dismantled, Sonny's mother also died at the same day.
- For Want Of A Nail: Ares is set in an Alternate Continuity where the Aliea Academy invasion never occurred.
- An Ice Person: Hiura Kirina from Ares has the pass hissatsu Ice Arrow, which allows him to freeze the ball before kicking it up high in the air. When he has a "cool prince showdown" with Shirou in the Hakuren match, he's described as "Ice Smile Prince Hiura Kirina".
- In-Series Nickname: As of Ares, every player with an Eleven License has a nickname, including those who didn't have previously: Kazemaru is known as the "Blue Gale" and Someoka is known as the "Passionate Dragon Striker", for example. In addition, all the new characters have a nickname: "The boy who was chosen as the sun" for Asuto, "The Demon of the Field" for Haizaki, "The Emperor of Tactics" for Nosaka and "The Blue Star Magnitude" for Ichihoshi to name the main ones.
- Lighter and Softer: Ares returns to an upbeat theme about the new Raimon becoming the national champions with fewer stakes than the previous two seasons, though the death of Asuto's mom, Haizaki's backstory, and Nosaka's motivations keep the season a lot more balanced.
- Localized Name in a Non-Localized Setting: The English dub uses western names like "Sonny" or "Johnny" yet it's repeatedly mentioned that the characters are Japanese.
- Missing Mom: Sonny's ill mother dies at the start of the series.
- Mythology Gag: In Ares, Eisei Gakuen's sponsor is called "Alien", a reference to its members being the same children who were part of Aliea Academy in the original series.
- New Transfer Student:
- Everybody from Raimon becomes this in Ares. After losing to the Spanish team Barcelona Orb, they split up and transfer to different schools in Japan as reinforcement commitees in order to strenghten Japan's soccer before going to face the world. Aki and Haruna also transfer to Tonegawa Tousen and Seishou Gakuen respectively, even though, according to Word of God, the managers weren't obligated to do the same.
- Inakuni Raimon are also this. After their old soccer club from Inakuni gets destroyed, they go to the main land and become the new Raimon team. Haizaki later becomes one, transfering to Raimon before the match against Outei Tsukinomiya in the finals, in a similar way to Kidou in the first series.
- However, the members from both Raimon and Inakuni go back to their original schools at the end of Orion.
- Obfuscating Disability: Implied to be the case with Akane, as seen in episode 7 of Ares. Haizaki is trying to help her recover from her unresponsive state, but she actually responds to Nosaka when Haizaki isn't there and is perfectly able to talk, as seen in episode 13. Fully confirmed in the last couple of episodes, where it's revealed that Akane continued to pretend she didn't recover from her coma even after she did in order for Nosaka to investigate more about the Ares no Tenbin programme and it's negative side effects.
- Power Trio: Ares does something different from the main franchise with its three protagonists: Asuto, Haizaki and Nosaka. Instead of all three being Raimon members, Haizaki and Nosaka are from different schools. According to Word of God, he changed the concept in order for fans to emphatise with opponent teams.
- Running Gag: In Ares, Goujin's obsession with "Fire Lemonade" and Hiroto getting cut-off when he tries to call himself the "God Striker".
- Shower Scene: In the first episode of Ares, Haizaki and Kidou talk about Raimon as they take a shower.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Due to being meant to be an Alternate Continuity where aliens never attacked the earth, one of the things that change in Ares is that Kira Hiroto, whose death is the main reason why the whole alien project happened in the first place, remains alive. He also takes a completely different appearance. Fubuki Atsuya is also spared of the avalanche accident which killed him in the original timeline.
- Trickster Mentor: Mister Yi is a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander, but knows how to properly train the Raimon High soccer team. Most of his training methods involve outright trolling the players and subjecting them to menial tasks and baffling objectives while rarely ever giving any clear explanation of what it's supposed to accomplish. Each member of the team ends up developing skills that serve them best after they eventually realize what he's trying to teach is.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Subverted in the second episode of Ares, where Inakuni Raimon stand no chance against the number one ranked team Seishou Gakuen and are beat with a score of 1-10. Played straight with all their subsequent matches, however. With their coach's strategies and lots of training, they always manage to stay on top.
- What If?: This is the crux that makes Ares occur. Because the Aliea Academy arc never happened, the team decided to go directly to the world scene. Due to lacking the experience and further training they would have gotten from that arc, they predictably get slaughtered in their exhibition match against Barcelona and Raimon disbanding to spread across Japan to train other schools and increase their overall strength. Furthermore, the reason why the Aliea Academy arc never happened is because Kira Hiroto, whose death in the original series was the reason why it occurred, was Spared by the Adaptation in Ares.