For episode 3 of Gurazeni things are changed up a bit because this time the events surrounding Bonda take up the whole episode length instead of having two parts like in the previous episodes. Things start off with the introduction of the new character of the week, Yukio Ohno. He is an outfielder for the Spiders, but his talent lies in batting. Along with Bonda and Toku-san,Yukio is part of the Yamanashi Prefecture clique, as they all originate from that area. Currently Ohno is going through a bit of a slump and he hasn’t been able to deliver on the expectations that people have of him.
The happenings in the episode are fairly straight-forward. First we see a game where Yukio failed to come through when he needed to, then there’s a outing with the 3 members of the Yamanashi Prefecture clique where Toku-san, the senior of all the members, gives the other two a stern reprimand and then afterwards there’s a succession of games where they are finally able to redeem themselves. It’s all cutely uplifting to be quite honest! Well, I personally enjoy this show’s tone a lot, so it was another nice episode for me. My criticism remains the same: I just want to meet the cast faster, but it’s okay, I can be patient, too.
The things I enjoyed the most about this episode were the inclusion of the explanation of seniority within the clique and how that affected who picked up the tab and the discussion of baseball statistics and the relevance of them for the contracts. The first thing I mentioned is pretty interesting to me because it seems to go against the talk of hierarchy based on contract amounts, but the comparison to school clubs relationships of senpai-kohai helped me make sense of it, so that was cool to learn. I suppose it’s something that can also be relatable to adults in Japan where there’s a lot of importance given to these relations and the traditions associated to them.
The baseball statistics are interesting to me for two different reasons, first off, although I like baseball anime, I’m not that knowledgeable about baseball besides understanding the basic rule and some amateur strategy, so it was educational to learn how they were calculated and what the meant. For example, I didn’t know that their performance for one game can count a potential for the whole season. That was quite surprising to learn, but it explains how players who play in less may be able to stand out among their peers who play more often.
The second thing is that the explanation highlighted the kind of pressure pro baseball players are under. Even Yukio, someone who was talented and advanced quickly is also very negatively impacted more easily now that he’s going through a slump in his career. Thankfully this anime is not exempt from using good ol’ plot armor so both Bonda and Yukio pull through in the last game and manage to make a great comeback in terms of their stats for the season. I’m not sure how likely these kind of developments are in real life, but I can be forgiving when it comes to a cute show like this.