Ahiru no Sora – Episode 16

It’s the battle of egos and we aren’t even done with the first half of this practice match yet! Though, I must admit: when our team manages to keep their cool and not flaunt too much it’s pretty refreshing! Usually it’s the other way around! We’re another whole episode in and there hasn’t been an internal fight yet, now that’s true development. But in all seriousness, I do think that placing pressure on one’s ego does make for an interesting match, regardless of which team is facing the pressure. We have Taro, who stole the spotlight at the end of the last week’s episode and has clearly made a name for himself as an exceptional player, but we also have Momoharu who has to defend his name against and old team mate.

Taro has started up a rivalry with Sora because… well, he sees him as a rival in love more than on the basketball court. Yet, he also knows the best way to put Sora in his place is on the court. Taro beating, or rather completely shutting out, Sora is a matter of pride. So much so, that his own coach recognizes it and plans to make it a weapon. Taro is the star player of his team, there’s no doubt about it, but he has and exceptional team to back him up as well. However, the more he gets riled up, the more independently he moves and the more trouble he causes in the long run. These traits are not surprising, but I do enjoy watching it from the opponents perspective. And this is what I find really interesting: For Sora, it doesn’t seem to be a match of pride, but rather one where he just wants to prove his skills and go up against a really good team without getting completely demolished. So far, we’ve seen Sora in a pretty self-centered position when it comes to playing Basketball, but this time around it seems he’s really found his place and is playing with the team. Ahh, character development.

BUT‌ the ego I’m most interested in, and that I really hope they dive into more in the next episode is Momoharu’s. I haven’t stopped thinking about Konishi showing up in the previous episode and essentially calling out Chiaki and Momoharu for quitting the game. Especially, when he scoffs at them for coming back to play the game. It not only emphasizes his own dedication to the game, but it also raises questions about what it means to be a true player. I can see the argument going both ways! And I just really want to know how they will explore it! Plus, Konishi straight up asking Momoharu why he isn’t taking shots? Ohhhh it’s on now. As an audience we know that this is a major point of contention for Momoharu and his own ability to play the game. I just can’t wait until we reach the heat of this conflict.

As for the rest of the team, I just want to say that I’m just really proud of them. I know I’ve probably said it before, but this practice match really emphasizes how far they’ve come and learned as a team. 6 episodes, this match would have been an absolute mess. Kite would have been fighting against everyone else on the team. Chucky and Nabe would just being doing whatever the heck they please, but man. I’m just really proud. They are holding their own and aren’t getting absolutely demolished. Will they get destroyed in the end? It’s possible because it looks like the opposing coach has something up his sleeve. BUT‌ in the mean time our boys are putting on the heat and gaining confidence because that is what they deserve.

Personally, I’M SO PROUD OF YASUHARU. He got his chance to shine on the court! And he had objectively the best moment in the episode where he just punched Sora out of no where. It was completely unexpected and I loved it.

We are barely at half time, but I have a feeling that the second half of the game will move a lot quicker once a groove gets going. I know that when watching sports anime it can get a little tiring watching the same match for many many episodes in a row. I think at most we’ll have 2 more episodes to cover the remaining quarters and I don’t really mind if that’s the case. We’re getting a showcase of where our team is currently at, but also building up an opponent that we will most likely face on the path to the inter-high. I find matches much more interesting once we’ve already found investment in the opposing team (don’t get me wrong though, I’m still kind of iffy on Taro). Plus! Watching teams go back and forth has the potential to be pretty enjoyable. it shows that you can’t get too cocky, but also shows the adaptability with all our players. When the other team gets the leg up, but our team consistently adapts to the situation and turns them on the head? Heck Yeah!

Though, I must admit that one of the downsides I find to having so many episodes for one match is that I have to keep waiting to see what happens next. But that’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, so I’ll be waiting at the edge of my seat for next week’s episode.

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