The battle to prove oneself is still going strong and I genuinely have no idea how much longer this game is going to last. And while I only half mean it as a joke, I absolutely cannot tell how much time passed in the game during this episode. But now our team has to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with without Sora on the court, so that probably means there’s at least one more solid episode out of this game.
As far as my thoughts go on this episode, I would say it was okay. There wasn’t really anything that jumped out at me that I haven’t already covered in a previous post. I just really want our team to win and I honestly think they have a chance even though Sora is once again stuck on the bench. Don’t get me wrong though, I have a feeling that he’s going to get subbed in somewhere in the next episode… unfortunately he’s probably going to take Yasuharu’s place. (Yasu you can do this! Please stop fouling!!) But in the mean time, Kite is finally going to get his chance to shine.
I didn’t really notice it until this episode, but Kite has been in the background for most of this game. He hasn’t done anything that’s particularly eye-catching and he hasn’t had any conflict with anyone else on the field… or even internally! Sora is going toe to toe with Taro, Momoharu is trying to prove himself to an old teammate, Chucky and Nabe are just trying to get the game under their fingers, and Chiaki has been finding moments here and there to really shine. But Kite? He hasn’t really been in the spotlight. Occasionally, he’ll call out someone for making a bad call or messing something up, he’s honestly blended in with the nameless players from the other team up until now. Now that Sora’s off the court though, Kite is able to remind everyone that he’s the strongest player on the court. If we’re talking about team work, he still has a long way to go, but in terms of raw skill Kite is probably the most well-rounded and could hold his own one on one. And I can’t believe I forgot about that! During the entire match I was consistently aware that he was a good player – or at least better than Chucky, Nabe, and Yasu, but I had forgotten the extent of his skill. Kite! I’m sorry! You deserve the spotlight now!
Outside of the game at hand we get to see Tokiwa and Chiba make an appearance. And even though it seemed a little unnecessary to include it pumped me up for the inter-high! It could be real! Our team has such a long way to go, but they’ve also come such a long way. I’m already fired up about it, but we probably still have a lot more build up to get through before they even make it to the tournament. Still, I’m glad that the teams that we’ve played before keep coming back. It just makes anime more enjoyable when we see old rivals and know that we’re going to take then on again (and as pretty much a brand new team!)
But! We also were blessed with young Sora in this episode. It made me realize that it’s been a solid few episodes since we were hit with a significant flashback (I think the last flashback was Taro’s about gifting Nao the shoes). I think it was a pretty nice way to bring up Sora’s endurance. By this point in the anime it’s clear that Sora has had to work harder than others to even be a force on the court. Luckily, his mother was in a similar situation and is incredibly supportive of him so he was able to overcome or rather maneuver those challenges. Personally, I like seeing it come together!
And so, we’ll wait anxiously for next week to see if Sora gets back into the game or if Chucky and Nabe can overtake Taro (I mean, two heads are better than one right?). Either way we’re at a major turning point for the game and I can’t see what comes out of next week’s episode.