This week we’re back on the court and boy is this match getting a lot more intense! Kuzu High finally has a solid lead, but Shinjo isn’t ready to give up as Kojima finally gets on the court. I wasn’t sure how they were going to follow up last week’s episode, but this one was another solid episode, though rather than focusing on Kuzu High we get to delve a little deeper into the Shinjo seniors.
But before we even get to playing Basketball we’re hit with some incredibly heavy moments from the start of the episode. It’s been a few episodes since we’ve heard about Sora’s mom, but as she lays in the hospital, she makes a request to go see Sora’s game and that makes me worried for her! She’s been trying so hard not to let Sora know that she knows he’s close by, but to say something like that so suddenly and rather solemnly… I’m worried that she’s running out of time. As a result, I’m kind of conflicted about her seeing the match. On the one hand, I want her to go watch Sora and cheer him on because we don’t know if she’ll get the chance again, but on the other hand, I know Sora’s thoughts could be clouded if he does end up seeing her – especially because he wanted to reunite with her after the team was victorious at the Inter High! Ah, I hope she’s able to see Sora before anything bad happens.
But so far, the prospects of moving on to the next are looking pretty good for Kuzu High I they continue to get the lead on Shinjo. For this episode, I don’t know if I have a lot to say about Kuzu High, but I really did like the cut away to Saijo. I really appreciate that they took the time to acknowledge that Chiaki is a top-tier player who is not playing the position he should be in. It really makes me realize just how impressive he is as a player, he’s able to adapt to any situation, and his incredibly observation skills can help to re-route the ball once Sora sets a play in motion. Plus, there were just some really cool plays that he was able to start in this episode. The elbow pass? That’s pretty impressive!! So impressive, that Saijo is convinced that Kuzu High will be their opponent in the next round. Which would be pretty cool! But I really don’t think they should disregard Shinjo just yet.
Since the beginning of the match I’ve talked quite a bit about how happy I’ve been with the series taking the time to develop their opponent. By developing the Shinjo team, it makes it difficult to want total victory for Sora and his team. Especially when they turn the focus to Takahashi and Kojima. As much as I truly believe that Sora and everyone else is a group of misfits who came together with their passion for Basketball and that they are the underdogs – Takahashi and Kojima have always been in that underdog position. It started out as just the two of them and they essentially built the Basketball team from the ground up. They’ve put in so much work to get where they are now that it would just be unfortunate if they were to lose it all now. And I can’t even imagine what Kojima would be feeling in this moment. Due to an injury he is unable to play and he has to watch his dreams slowly slip away from him. I honestly can’t blame him for wanting to put himself back in the game to chase his dream, and because if it I really hope he and Takahashi are able to fight till the very end. Ligament injuries are no joke, I’m impressed that he was even able to hold up on the court for as long as he did. But at the same time, I get why he’s pushing himself to keep going. As someone who had a ligament injury in a similar situation I understand the feeling of wanting to finish the game out and be able to give it your best shot regardless of the pain (and it really does hurt a lot!). If they lose, at least he was able to give his all in his final match and not have to live with the regret of not playing (arguably, he could potentially mess up his knee for life). And if they move on, he’s closer to winning the Inter-High.
This most certainly is not the last stand for Shinjo High, they’re going to keep fighting until the very end and Kuzu High will keep pushing back. Shinjo High may have an injured player on the court, Mokichi’s stamina seems to be wearing thin. How will both teams work to ultimately become victorious? I have a feeling things are going to get really intense next week as we approach the 4th quarter, it’s probably going to be a very close game and I’m nervous just thinking about it!