A good ole’ fashion sports episode. That’s what we got this week. No family surprises, no backstories, we just got to watch the soft tennis club play soft tennis. And that’s not a bad thing! By now we’ve finally had the chance to see where our characters come from and have started to build up our attachment to them. I mean, we haven’t gotten to hear everyone’s story, but man all I know is that I just want to keep cheering on our team. Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid episode. It didn’t bring the drama that we’ve seen and grown to expect from the past few weeks, but it still managed to keep us engaged as we see our new pairs up against a championship team.
This episode really gave most of the team’s personality a chance to shine. It was a fun light-hearted episode and I just couldn’t help but smile all throughout the episode. I absolutely lost it when Shingo shared the victory dance with the rest of the team, 1) because it was really cute and I finally understand what he was doing in that cutaway in the last episode and 2) it just got the rest of the team fired up and it just really emphasized their childish natures. All around it gave me a very warm and positive feeling. They were so into it! They were having fun and I’m here for that!!
And then it’s straight into the match where Taiyo and Nao really set the stage for the rest of the episode. Their opponent has already written off the two of them and the rest of the team because, well… our team isn’t exactly topping any charts are breaking any records. If anything, they’ve made themselves a name for being the school to be least afraid of – so it’s no surprise that the opponent thinks it’s about as challenging as a stretch. But Taiyo and Nao really hold their own! With both covering the back-end of the court, they are really able to support each other by playing to their strengths and covering each other’s weakness. And if anything! It really fits their personalities. They’re both characters who focus more on support and definitely don’t need to be the center of attention. They lift each other up and all around have a really calming but determined dynamic. Of course, the don’t end up taking the match, but when we think about how they were playing in episode 1? They’ve come such a long way!
Next up, Rintaro and Itsuki have taken the stage. Unlike the first duo they take a little more before the other team gets riled up. Just goes to show you, that you really can’t count someone out before you even know what they are actually capable of. This duo ends up getting beat out in the first game, but once they switch sides it’s clear that they both learned very quickly in how to counter the other team. Rintaro in particular is the focus on his observations and how adaptable he is in the heat of the game. Even Maki comments on his incredible game sense. I like this match because it really shows just how much they’ve managed to learn in just a short span of time. It really makes me believe that they, and the rest of the team can really end up winning in the future! You can do it! I believe in you! (ﾉ^∇^)ﾉﾟ
And then, enter the pair of loveable idiots, Shingo and Tsubasa. I love their dynamic and how they just play off of each other. They’re so lively and quite frankly it was a pretty funny strategy for them to pull off (I don’t know much about the sport, but I’m sure that what they did wouldn’t fly in an official match, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was entertaining). And thinking about it, it’s completely unexpected that the other team naturally wouldn’t be prepared for it. So, yeah they really did have a leg up for a while. With these two we didn’t get to see a whole lot of their technical abilities with the game, but they definitely have room to grow, provided they just put their minds to it.
Maki and Toma working together, instead both of them just kind of do their own thing which ultimately works out. This of course is on the court. After last week’s episode, it’d be pretty silly of me to say that they aren’t bound in some way. But wow, the tone of the whole episode shifted once Maki was face to face with the other team’s ace player. That laugh sent chills down my spine – not exactly chills of fear, but more like chills of anticipation. I just want to know how they are going to handle their opponents! It’s pretty clear that they are on a whole other level, but if anyone can humble them it’d be Maki and Toma. And so, I’m anxiously awaiting the next episode to see how everything will wrap up. I’m still on edge from what happened last episode, it’s just a looming fear and I know it’s going to come back when I least expect it. Also, I just really want to see how what Maki’s plan is!!!!! Grumble grumble… I guess I’ll just have to wait until next week to see.