Here comes the manager and she’s super cute too! She was kind and charming and definitely the focus of this episode. I mean, we have a new character so of course they are going to be in the spotlight! Her charming and upbeat nature certainly carries the tone of the episode – it’s pretty light-hearted and full of comedy unlike the other most recent episodes to the point where it was a little jarring.
After Sora ruins his shoes he ends up running all over town looking for someone who is willing to put in the effort to fix them, rather than try to sell him a new pair of shoes. It makes sense, these shoes mean a lot to Sora, but I half expected a flashback or a fit from him as he was struggling to find a fix. Instead, they’re used as something to introduce us to Nao Nanao the future manager of the boy’s basketball team. Nao is your classic, cutesy clumsy anime girl. Her first interaction with Sora is her falling right on top of him and before he’s left his shoes with her she’s already tripped over a baseball bat and knocked herself in the head with a Basketball. I’ll admit, when we first met her I was super excited because I thought she was super cute, but her personality and accident prone nature was a bit overplayed. I hope she’s not reduced to “just being clumsy” for the remainder of the anime. That’d be kind of bummer. But I must admit! It will be really nice seeing another “outsider” opinion on the team in addition to Madoka. (But man oh man, who will end up being best girl?)
Sora quickly falls for her charm and suddenly she’s the only thing he can think about. I mean who can blame him? She made quite the impact on him, not only that, but he also gets to wear her shoes! That’s gotta be something! However, it doesn’t look like Sora’s the only team member who’s interested in our new manager. Chiaki and the trio are very quick to try to impress her but Kite and Momoharu even try to get her to acknowledge them. A funny rivalry sparks a bit among the boys as they all get to have a cute girl compliment them on their skills. But as an audience member, we honestly get a pretty solid recap of all of their strengths with her commentary. Chiaki’s awareness, Momoharu’s jump, Kite’s speed, and Sora’s 3 pointers are all highlighted by her. And, she puts it in such a way where, as an audience, we can see how this team can succeed.
Well… despite all of her compliments, Nao’s tone changes when Madoka asks for her opinion of the boy’s team. They don’t have what it takes to win. And ultimately, I think it’s going to boil down to “we have individual, exceptional players, but they aren’t working together as a true team and playing to their strengths and that will be the downfall.” But the moment, she showed doubt in the team’s ability everyone’s attitude towards her changed. I mean, I don’t blame them. She had just finished telling them how good they were and now she’s saying they don’t have a chance to win? Who does she think she is? But I think I’ll take Madoka’s side and trust Nao’s judgement.
In fact, Madoka is so confident in Nao’s observation that she challenges the boys to a match. Both teams are completely uninterested in participating so, naturally there has to be some stakes. Loser has to strip naked and that definitely fires up the boys and gives the girls a good enough reason not to lose. It was kind of funny to see the guys get so fired up, but as a whole I was kind of bummed that all the guys were kind of dumbed down in this episode. Yeah, Chiaki pretty much always acts like he does in this episode, but Momoharu and Kite almost seemed like completely different characters. Maybe I just don’t fully understand the dirty minds of high school boys – good luck Madoka.
Next week we’ll start the showdown! I’m excited to how Nao’s analysis plays out.