I thought last week was emotional, well that doesn’t even stand up to the absolute onslaught of things that came with this week’s episode. I thought I would be able to hold it together, but I could barely even make it halfway in before I started crying. Part of me expected what was going to happen in the episode, but I really didn’t want it to happen. And even if deep down I knew this outcome was coming, I absolutely wasn’t prepared for just how well it was implemented.

Last week I lamented that it felt like we were led into a false sense of security after Sora’s mom had visited the Basketball match, only to find out that she is just really good at hiding her pain. And, probably because I was trying to deny the outcome, she had me fooled again when Sora came in to talk to her. It started off as such a loving and casual conversation between Yuka and Sora. I loved that they got to laugh and relax around each other, I’m glad that we didn’t just jump right into tragedy. For a brief moment, I really thought she was going to make it, oh… Sora’s hesitation and lie, that’s where the emotions started. And while it was impactful in the moment, I think it’s more significant after having watched the episode! Because when he told the lie, we hadn’t been provided with the information about how long they thought she would live. He probably recognized that there wouldn’t be another chance to win a game to tell her the truth, so he opted for the lie in hopes of making her happy. And oh man did the emotions just go downhill from there. I absolutely lost it when she asked Sora to forgive her because and watching Sora tell her that he’s happy with the life and body that he was given? Ahhhh…. It was just so well done. I adored the way that he tried to cheer her up, trying to take away the blame that she was putting on herself and ultimately… that’s the last we see of the two of them together.

This is probably an opinion I don’t share with many others, but I’m okay with them sidelining the results of the Shinjo game. Yeah, we did spend upwards of seven episodes watching our team really come together and grow, but with the severity of Sora losing his mom… it honestly seemed natural. Obviously, it affected all the team members pretty significantly and by no means am I trying to downplay the results and their feelings, but the loss of a loved one can really sideline a lot of things. So, I don’t really mind that “the end of the game” was shown to us in flashbacks. Additionally, I liked the touch of the rest of the team is languishing in their defeat. And I liked that they included both the conversation of “None of us have cared this much about it before” and “You can only be so bummed out for so long”. It was a nice contrast, though given it was their first major defeat I can’t blame them for being upset about it. I liked what Mokichi’s family members had to say about it by turning it into a turning point for him. Despite this loss and his blunder, will he commit and stay with the team?

And speaking on staying with the team, Kite’s final interaction with the coach was really cool. Kite may be kind of a jerk, but at least he’s a jerk who sticks to it. Personally, I didn’t think Kite would leave the team, but it was nice to get a reminder of his skill and that he is someone who plays or thinks differently than many other High Schoolers. No matter their status in the game, Kite’s objective is get the ball and get the points. It probably would have been better in the long run to pursue that opportunity, but him saying he’d take a bet on the 1% chance of the team was really cool. It makes me want to bet on the team as well.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed in the episode was the difference in how everyone responded to everything. But I think the most stand out reactions come with the death of Sora’s mom. Madoka was an absolute emotional wreck despite only knowing Yuka and Sora for barely a month (but I can sympathize with her because I too would react in the same way). Momoharu and the gang take it as a shock and treat it somewhat as a bummer. Momoharu on the other hand feels something more akin to rage – which is understandable as he’s putting the pieces together. He’s not mad at anyone in particular, he’s mad at the situation they’ve found themselves in. He didn’t know why the inter-high was so important to Sora, he didn’t even Sora’s mom was sick! But now that he knows, I can only imagine the guilt he must be feeling as a captain. And Sora, the person who this affects the most out of our main cast, holds back his emotions. I wonder if he feels guilt as well, guilt that he wasn’t able to tell his mom about victory truthfully before it was too late.

But what really gets me the most about this episode is just how much tragedy struck and not everyone knows it. The biggest tragedy of the episode being Yuka, but Kite, Nao, Mokichi, and Chiaki are all currently unaware of the fact since they weren’t present at the hospital or in the locker room when it was announced. No one on the team knows that Kite was recruited to play for another team. While that probably isn’t probably a “tragedy” it could very well have been a step towards the team disbanding. AND THEN Sora, Kite, Mokichi, and Nao are completely unaware of what’s happening at the school at the end of the episode, at least as far as we can tell. They really threw a lot at us in the episode and it makes me really nervous for next week. Will the team attempt to disband after everything that’s happened to them? Or will they push through everything and look ahead?

This episode was an absolute whirlwind of emotions and I’m once again surprised by just how much they were able to give us within such a short amount of time. I cannot wait to see how we will move forward after everything that’s happened. This was a phenomenal episode!


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

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. BlueBlue

    Life is tough… isn’t it? (no pun intended…well a bit). I will first share with you that quote: “A first milestone has been reached. Well, let’s just say we’re finally back to square one. In this volume, I think I managed to concentrate everything that was important to me when I started this series”. That is the preface of the author in the volume containing the chapters which are adapted since Sora was driven to the hospital (volume which BTW got a perfect score by a French website). So yeah, that is the end and beginning of a part and…that is not really over yet…

    As you said, one of the “funny” thing is that we have been warned for a long time already and if you are anime-only, the previous episode was even a reminder, but…it hurts anyway. Also because as you can see, that author is a roller-coaster master and also made a complete use of “When it rains, it pours”. You already said what should be said about Yuka and yeah I agree that the beginning fools you and then…well. And the way that it is announced just after a gag scene…

    Anyway, but what I always liked in that part is that no one is safe and everyone gets his share of trouble. And ironically, that is Tobi who’s first to fix his issue while there is the dagger. But the one always touching me (as I relate a bit to him) is Chiaki. I mean, our goofy-happy guy takes on himself that bittersweet compliment from Takahashi which is nothing but the truth.

    So, just few precision. First of all, yeah I can confirm you that Madoka is really really really shattered by what happened (I won’t say more). Regarding Yasuhara, they removed an important scene (to me) in which when they are eating/playing (before knowing about Sora’s mother), he asked the others to go all together tomorrow for watching the 2nd round (once again showing how he’s invested). And for the cigarettes, just to precise that there is censorship in the first episodes of the series as in the manga it is explicitly showed that Momoharu & cie are smokers and drinkers before deciding to “follow” Sora.

    Now, my little funny story regarding those complaining about cliffhangers regarding the previous episode. In the manga, the scenes where Sora rushed for trying to block the shot while the grandma is crying were indeed THE END of a volume. That means that you had a true double cliffhanger and had to wait for the release of the next volume for seeing what…an ellipse first. Imagine the feelings! LOL. And yeah, I agree by the way that “binging” would give a different feeling.

    1. Quietcupcake

      Oh! Thank you for sharing the quote. I like the way it’s phrased as it gives me a lot to think about given everything that was conveyed.

      Chiaki is such a fascinating character. Most of our other characters wear their hearts and feelings on their sleeves, it’s pretty easy to tell when they’re upset or what they’re feeling. But Chiaki presents himself in a much different way from others and I really appreciate seeing the many different sides of him. His various responses depending on who he’s around is very interesting. And the the Takahashi scene was really good! I like the way you phrased it “a bittersweet compliment which is nothing but the truth”, that really nails it on the head.

      Ah, that’s a bummer that they took out Yasu’s scene about wanting to watch the second round. I’m honestly surprised that the second round wasn’t really mentioned at all. At least the way the way I felt the anime presented it was that the tournament is at a close and what happens now isn’t necessary for our cast. Though, I do wonder why they made that decision. As far as the cigarettes and drinking, I’m not all that surprised that Momoharu and the others engaged with that stuff. Especially since they were labelled as delinquents. Personally, I think it would have been better if they had not censored it early on because it does come as a bit of a shock from an anime only perspective. It definitely raises flags of “why were they smoking?” “how long have they been smoking” and doesn’t really give us the thought that it was something they used to do “before” and what they found was left over from that time.

      Oh man! The end of a volume?? I can only imagine how stressful that must have been! It was hard to wait a week to find out what would happen next, but for anther volume… wow. I can only image how rewarding it must have been once the next one was finally released!

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