Oh man, tensions are high and personalities are clashing. The “new and improved” soft tennis club is off to a really rocky start. But at the same time it’s also kind of the kick that they needed to get back up and going.
This episode was much more “school life” based rather than the previous episode giving us a glimpse into certain home lives, so we know that Maki’s father is still out there, despite his mother being unaware of this. I’ll be honest, knowing that his father was still “out there” kind of made me uneasy during most of the episode. But for the most part, we focused on the soft tennis club and Maki’s first couple of days with them.
One thing that I learned in this episode is that these junior high schoolers are mean. From the other second years diving straight in to bullying Maki to Mitsue generally having nothing nice to say these kids won’t hold anything back. And to be honest in some situations it ended up helping the team out a bit. When Maki took the chance to stand up to the other club members and basically call them out it certainly riled them all up, but it led them to practice better. Was Maki too blunt? Probably, but he was pretty realistic and got a pretty darn realistic response out of the other members as well. And to be honest, he’s a pretty hard character to read. There are moments where he’s much more relaxed and upbeat, but the next he’s very tense and intimidating. But thinking back on it, it definitely makes him a more interesting!
But speaking of interesting, it seems like a lot of our characters are all pretty different and I have a feeling we’ll get little mini arcs for a couple of them – I mean there is only 12 episodes, so we probably won’t get it for all of them, but I’ll be happy with just a couple! What stood out to me the most this episode is how most of the other characters reached to Touma. There isn’t a whole lot that we know about him except that he’s the captain of the team, his older brother was part of the team and that he actually cares about soft tennis as a whole. But in the little interactions of some of the other characters in this episode and the last, Touma seems to be someone to fear. Even the bullies in the beginning of the episode didn’t want to mess with him because he’s “nuts”. And even Yuuta rejecting the option of a violent response from Touma makes me wonder what kind of person he is. It makes me think back to the previous episode when his mother was clearly anxious at the thought about spending the night alone with him – but maybe there were just rumors spread that reflected poorly on him? Only time will tell. When I think about it though, he’s had a general >:| face for most of his screen time. But I guess we’ll just have to see what kind of character he turns out to be.
Also, I know we just met him, but I wish the best for Yuuta. I’m interested to see how they’ll address his character. We’ve already seen him being bullied for being gay, but we’ve also had Maki nonchalantly say that is was okay for him to like who he liked. I wonder what kind of role he will play in the upcoming episodes – will it turn into one-sided feelings, jealousy, or him just being the best darn soft tennis manager? I don’t know, but he’s caught my attention so I hope things go well. But on that note! Mitsue has also caught my interest! She doesn’t have a whole lot of nice things to say, but she’s pretty darn mysterious and I just want to learn more about her. So, ultimately, I’m looking forward to getting to know our cast even better with next week’s episode!