It’s incredible how quickly things turn around for Kuzu High. One moment they have their best line-up on the court and they’re truly taking charge and working well as a team to pull ahead and the next they’re running out of stamina just hoping to hold out a little longer against Shinjo High. Even if it’s a small thing, I’m pretty happy that they decided to bring up stamina as an important factor of the sport. It’s all well and good if a team can dominate in the first half, but it also matters that they can carry through to the end. Letting up at any point gives the other opportunity to step in and turn the whole match around. So even though Kuzu High was finally starting to find their groove… if they can’t maintain it, they’re in for a struggle as we close into the end of the match. Keep on going guys! The game isn’t over till the final buzzer sounds!

I appreciate the intensity that this episode continues to build around the match. We start out by focusing on Kojima who is really pushing himself on the court. It was point out in the last episode, that just by having him on the court has completely reinvigorated Shinjo High. Yeah, he’s not the strongest player on the court in his current state, but his passion and drive help to push the rest of the team to keep fighting. I found the back and forth between him and Takahasi to be really interesting because they talk about the internal battle of wanting to win, but also to take care of yourself (really it shows a pretty significant difference of what one thinks on the court vs off), but I also appreciate Kojima adding that he’s “worthless on the court if all [he] does is stand around”. Last week, I talked about how painful it was for him to watch from the sidelines – to lose and not have the chance to do anything. But now he’s on the court and he has to give his all to pursue what he worked so hard for, slacking on the court doesn’t help him or the team at all – watching helplessly from the sideline and not giving your all on the court can lead to the same kind of despair if Shinjo lost this match. So, with him putting his all into the remainder of the match with Takahashi and the team by his side, Kojima is able to give the rest of his team the spark needed to really power through to the end.

And as a result, I loved the way that Kuzu High ultimately responds! At this point, they don’t want to make it seem like they are feeling the pressure because it could easily cost them the game. So, Sora showing up and sinking a three pointer and not even watching his shot after it left his hands? That was so cool. If I were near that court, any confidence for Shinjo that I had after Kojima’s shot just went out the window. And to have a spectator add the line of “Never let your opponent think they have a chance” really help to solidify that neither of these teams are going to back down. It’s an important mindset, especially so late in the game, letting up even a little bit can cost a lot.

I’m really happy that Sora’s mom got the chance to watch part of the game. I’ll be honest, I got pretty emotional as soon as she got to the school. I don’t really have too much to say about her role in this episode, but I really enjoyed hearing her comments and seeing her reactions to Sora playing Basketball. It may have not added any stakes to the players on the court – since they were unaware of her arrival – but as a viewer, I’m reminded just how much Sora wants to show her the inter-high trophy. It would be sad if they lose in the first round, but I am glad that his mom got to watch him play.

But let’s turn our attention back to the court where poor Chiaki is shaken up again. I really liked the way that the episode played out after his technical foul because it opened up a completely new perspective on Kashiwagi. I’m definitely guilty of thinking Kashiwagi was a poor sport and definitely not someone who would be considered a team player. So, both Kojima’s comments and Chiaki’s memory of Momoharu changed my perspective about him. Yeah, he’s not the best at showing kind emotions to others, but he’s passionate about the game and has someone he aspires to be like. Even though his segment wasn’t incredibly long, it really does cement just how much this match means for everyone. It’s easy to just focus on Takahashi, Kojima, and our main crew from Kuzu High, but hearing more about another character really intensified the stakes. His passion for the sport wasn’t really a surprise to me, but the way he pushed himself did. Yeah, he doesn’t help his team mop the floor during practice, but he comes in early and practices earlier to truly strive to be like Takahashi and just the thought of that makes me smile. And to have it followed by Chiaki’s story of Momoharu and the dog reaching the conclusion that the eyes weren’t terrifying, but rather “eyes of people with something precious to protect […] pure and resolute eyes” really hit the idea home for me. I also appreciate Chiaki acknowledging that it’s difficult to fight against those eyes – pure dedication and determination towards a goal is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

I’m definitely interested to see how the next episode will play out. I can definitely see this match lasting at least two more episodes as the two teams battle it out until the very end. Things just keep getting more and more interesting with each episode!


I live up to my username, but I hope we can be friends!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. BlueBlue

    Hello there! I was impatient to know your thoughts because…for the first time, I will be negative about that anime! But, this is once again due to me being a manga reader so no worry… (sorry, as my post could be longer than usual…but there is some positive at the end)

    Broadly speaking, I am always more a manga guy rather than an anime guy and apart for manga that I really cannot deal with the art so do not read it at all, I always prefer manga to anime adaptation. So, where was my main issue with that episode? Pace! I mean, I found it funny that your post started with “quickly”. Because, even though I know that you were not intended the same thing, I can tell you that yes, they accelerated the pace and even cut small things (good news for those complaining every week lol). I mean, to give you an idea, if they were going at their usual pace, that episode should have finished on the Chiaki’s technical foul (so yeah, 6 mins earlier than the end there).

    I honestly don’t know what happened to the staff, especially that they were on the right pace so I don’t get it (and I am afraid that it will be the same with the next episode). So, why was it a problem for me? Well, because everything fell flat to me, as things were just juxtaposed. I felt almost zero emotion, even for Yuka’s arrival. Which is weird as so far, their main skill was emotional scenes adaptation. Also because we are getting into the phases where the slow pace is important. But once again, I am influenced by knowing what’s coming, so I logically expect kind of “more”.

    But even the title. I mean, it was a reference to the 3 point shot of Kojima, and that scene was already over after three minutes so I don’t understand the choice LOL. Talking about that shot, this is funny how by trying to add a cut, they messed up because as you have certainly noticed, Kojima was stepping on the line so that is NOT a 3 pt shot! (but this is a mistake of the anime as they added that cut lol).

    Interestingly, I felt for the first time the same thing that the manga author (who refused during all this time an anime adaption, as people tend ot forget that this series started in 2003…) when he wrote on twitter after watching the 1st episode: “you have become someone else’s child”…I found it so poetic and it was a strange feeling for me to experience it for the first time. Lol

    But anyway, let’s be postiive! And yeah, what a surprise now with the spotlights on Kashiwaghi. No one was expecting this and I can tell you that you are guessing right once again (it was indeed short…but there is reason…). What I also liked is that contrary to what people may think, it is not a magical trick. I mean, already in episode 26, Chiba and Tokiwa were pointing out the fact that Kashiwagi style was emulating Takahashi. And that close-up on his sight was awesome!

    Talking about Tokiwa and Chiba and things which have been removed in that episode. In episode 25 (so when Kuzuryu met them before their match), they were discussing with Momoharu about their loss in another tournament. The team they lost to is the team coached by Sakamaki (Yokohama Taiei). That information was supposed to be at least the pre opening sequence and I don’t understand why they remove it (even though I agree that this is not the most super important information).

    Anyway, fasten your seat belt!

    1. Quietcupcake

      That’s totally fair!

      This week was really interesting in terms of pacing. When I was originally writing down my thoughts about this episode, I thought that I didn’t have a whole lot to talk about… but I think in reality everything moved faster than expected that I don’t think I had a chance to fully react. The moment that really emphasized that for me was Yuka’s arrival. Since I didn’t know what to expect, I still felt a little bit of emotion, but I couldn’t really find anything to talk about from her arrival. There really was a lot of things packed into this episode.

      Thank you for sharing the author’s thoughts from twitter. It’s a very interesting thought! Even though he was the original creator, once it’s passed over for an anime adaption, they are no longer the one choosing the direction for the narrative. So, even though significant points remain it’s ultimately up to the studio to decide what’s significant enough to keep and how to implement that. It is a really interesting thought! I’ll definitely be thinking about this for a while haha.

      Also thank you for filling in the gaps of knowledge from the anime and the manga!

      1. BlueBlue

        You’re welcome. Ah by the way, I forgot to explain what I meant last week by “where the game is played”. But now, I think that you realized that they are supposed to be in a double-court gymnasium. So actually, the place is bigger that the closed-shot the anime suggests. So, Sora’s mother is totally on the other court and there is even a game on that other court. So the risk for him to see her is extremely low…
        But anyway, talking about Kashiwagi foreshadowing in the earlier episodes, this is actually something very frequent with that series. What I mean is that there are subtle things that become important latter (sometimes even waaaay latter ahahaha). But I am sure you will have fun remembering them when they will pop out, as so far I can say that you have been very good at guessing/interpreting things!

        Thanks for having read “the novel” that I previously wrote! (I talk too much…)

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