Ahiru no Sora – Episode 32

Oh… I’m emotional and I have a feeling that next week they’re going to kick us while we’re down. I must admit that this time around I wasn’t as interested in what was happening on the court. I mean, what did happen on the court really built up suspense as we approach the final seconds, but compared to the various conversations that happened throughout in addition to the ending, the actual playing of the game seemed to take a back seat this time around.

As soon as we were shown that Momoharu was taking free throws for the team, it was pretty evident that even though there was less than 2 minutes on the clock there was still a lot of the game left to play. I also found it funny that both Chiaki and Mokichi were fully prepared for him to miss the two shots! It makes sense! He’s not known for his good aim. In fact, he’s definitely known as the one without any aim. But I will admit even I suspended my belief in hopes that he would be able to make his first distance shot. Oh well, at least you gave it your best. After he missed the shot and Mokichi went in for the rebound, I must admit that I felt Mokichi’s internal monologue was a bit out of place. It seems to be playing off the significant moments from the previous episodes, trying to give him a real push for the stakes in the game… but it didn’t have as big of an impact on me. Instead, it seemed to push in the direction of “If only I didn’t quit, we’d win”, but that just… doesn’t seem to be the kind of person he is – but perhaps I’m wrong and we’ll see a bit more this thought expanded in future episodes.

I really enjoyed hearing the thoughts from Madoka’s senpai. I think he did a good job of really summarizing what the writers were trying to portray during this whole match: that everyone participating has their own unique motivations to keep playing. It’s not just Sora trying to win the Inter-High to bring to his mother, but every character has a reason to play the game. Some motivations may have a smaller magnitude, but they’re still a motivation and one strong enough to keep them playing. I think she also let us know that Kuzu High winning this match would pretty much be a miracle. As much as we want them to win, we can’t ignore the fact that they’ve only had about a month of dedicated training. Sure, they have some outliers, but as a whole their experience is far below that of Shinjo and likely everyone else competing. She even mentioned that it wouldn’t really feel good to lose to a team like that. As invested as I am in the Kuzu boys’ team… she does have a good point. I also like the call back to the girl’s match that we got at the beginning of the arc. The girls are seeing their situation play out in front of them except this time the team they want to win is in the lead. For the team in the lead they just want to keep the lead and will do whatever they can to make sure that happens, whereas the opposing team just wants to get a shot. It’s when in their grasp and they can snatch the victory within seconds.

I also really liked Takahashi putting Kojima back in the match practically being unable to move. A few episodes there was conversation about just how much power Kojima has as far as providing energy to the team. Just by being there he can power them up. I do wish, perhaps Kuzu would have taken note of him being on the court though, but I was satisfied by the short flashback of Nao discussing what her plan would have been if she had been in charge. That was a good way to reveal the plan. And while we don’t necessary get to see the result of the plan or the conclusion of the match, I’m not upset. I don’t think that the segment about Yuka would have been enhanced had I known the outcome of the match.

That being said let’s talk about what’s going on with Sora’s mom. It was obvious that something happened to his mom the moment the scene went to the hospital. I’ll admit that I was a bit confused as to why the grandmother was crying it definitely led me to believe that Yuka had died. Everything felt very sudden. I did however appreciate the way in which they had Madoka “work backwards” to put the pieces together. Madoka is in an interesting position when it comes to Yuka – her sister is a nurse and is very aware of Yuka’s situation and Madoka is really just a friend to Sora so there’s no reason why Yuka would want to make her worry. It makes sense that she would put on a facade of being happy and okay. But oh wow… when the little girl came out to ask about the actress that’s really where I started to feel all the emotions. As a watcher, I could understand Madoka’s reactions in those moments because we had just seen her happily watching a game and even when she left, she said that she found something that she wanted to pursue. As much as it was hinted that she was not okay this still managed to come as a surprise. I appreciate that this anime is willing to let us know that there are a lot of things happening even though we aren’t able to see it.

And man, they really do hit you with those ending title cards don’t they. If anything, I think those are just as much of a cliffhanger if not more than the actual end of the episode. I’m interested to see what next week will bring us.

2 thoughts on “Ahiru no Sora – Episode 32

  1. So? Emotional right? As some of us french readers like to say, that author knows how to toy with people feelings. And once again, as you said, this not only about Yuka but everywhere.

    Talking about Mokichi, it may indeed sound off but as I told you, that is due to the accelerated pace of the story-boarding since the last three episodes. Indeed, if they were still on their “original” pace, that episode would have ended on Kojima’s basket after Momoharu missed free throws. And as I told you, all the chapters until we see the grandma crying are named “what must be protected” in the manga. So yeah, this is part of the same topic than last episode (same goes for the “last” 3 seconds).

    About the girls, I am happy that you pointed out the irony. Because, even though, I have been late to the party, I reread almost everything you wrote before, and as I like to say, you point out sometimes think which makes me “laugh” inside as you have good guesses. And so, for instance, when they showed the girls’ game, you were hoping that it was not a foreshadowing for the boys. Well…partial answer. And what I actually appreciated, it’s the fact that even the ensuing action is similar so far (the miss, the rebound, the ball kicked out for another player). What happened? We’ll see, but if it may help you, I can tell that we will have the answer very fast.

    Yuka, Yuka, Yuka, what can I say? As you wrote, I think that the most “sadistic” thing here is how one week ago, we ended up with hope and future. And now…but well, let’s hope no? And once again, I come back to the small foreshadowing details. I mean, me too when I read it at that time, I wondered what was the deal with the hush gesture that we saw her make to the little girl before coming to the game. And so on…and next week I may point out another hint about something else in that episode (nothing that important, but a “funny” basket-ball detail). And I will also have a funny story, especially regarding those “complaining” about cliffhanger.

    Anyway, as I like to say since three episodes, let’s fasten our seatbelt! And that is NOT (only) about sport.

    1. Absolutely emotional! After I finished watching I was so concerned over the last portion of the episode that I could barely think of anything to say about the final moments of the game. I was just so fixated on the conversation between Madoka and the girl in the hospital. I just felt so safe after Yuka left the tournament. I thought things were going to start looking up for her. I agree about the hush gestures! When it happened I didn’t thing too much about about it – I thought it was just her playful nature… but now that I know what the girl actually saw… that just makes it all the more impactful.

      Oh! It makes a lot more sense knowing that Mokichi’s segment was originally closer to what what we had seen in the previous episode. It was definitely an interesting inclusion for this episode. Perhaps a similar effect to the manga might occur if one were “binging” the series? I was fully expecting this episode to end while they were still on the court, but I think having it end with a focus on Sora’s mom might was still a pretty good way to end the episode. I could also have seen it ending right when they cut to the grandmother crying – that would have been quite the cliff hanger.

      Haha Sometimes I wish that my guesses wouldn’t be so close. But I really appreciate the conversation that they were able to have about the similarities. I like that the series also takes the perspective of spectators to further the narrative. It’s been easy to get caught up in the game and everyone playing, but that inclusion of an on-looker’s thoughts are just so “game-changing”! As always I’m looking forward to what they’ll bring us next week and your input as well 😀

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