Oh man, oh man, oh man! I am hyped for this next arc! After a week break between episodes, I’m glad that we were able to hit the ground running with the “restoration” of the Basketball team – trust may still be shaky, but as they say, there is no “I” in team, so they’ll all have to work together in order to make their aspirations come true.
I adored the first 2/3rds of this episode primarily due to the dialogue between characters. I think they were able to fully convey an understanding of their situation and provide a reflection as to why they continued with their actions. Personally, I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was a big fight once the suspension was over, but it was really nice that even though the characters didn’t sit down and have a heart to heart with one another, they were able to express the importance of both having a team and being a team with each other. I was surprised when Kite was willing to let Momoharu and the others rejoin the team, especially since he seemed to be the one hurt the most by the betrayal. But at the thought of gaining approval as a team, as Chiaki put it, there isn’t a point without the exact same members. They have to prove themselves as themselves – that they strongly care about the sport – to everyone else. Essentially, recruiting new members doesn’t undo the damage that has already been done. It’s like kicking broken glass under the rug, it provides a cover up, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s broken glass (sorry I’m not the best with analogies lol). I also appreciated the follow up with Kite, where he’s told that being an ace doesn’t necessarily mean success, so he has to come to terms with wanting reliable teammates to help bring him to his goal.
I enjoyed the transition between Madoka to Momoharu as well, which is interesting considering they probably have the most tension out of everyone. Madoka is understandably still going through a lot of emotions not only from what’s happened with Yuka, but also her passion for Basketball and the realization that she’s falling behind in her peers in living out the high school years. She seems very distant throughout most of her screen time, but I did like that they spoke about the mandatory club requirement that the school has – personally, I can’t remember if that was talked about previously, but it makes sense about the requirement considering even the delinquents had their own “club” at the start of the series. I liked the switch to Sora and Nao talking about how Momoharu approaching Mr. Satsuki was something that he needed to face, he feels an incredible amount of guilt, and quite frankly he has a lot of work to prove that he’s trying to improve. It’s been really fun to watch him grow as a character, he was pretty prideful early on (albeit not as much as some others), but seeing publicly get down on his hands and knees to ask Satsuki to be their advisor again was pretty intense. Like the others, he’s really putting in his all to restart the team. Despite that not… being the most successful attempt I’m glad that it led to the conversation between Satsuki and the Principal, primarily because I liked hearing the reasoning for requiring all students to join a club and ultimately how reflects in Sora and the others. It made me smile when he ultimately confronted the team, talking about how they’ve all grown as people or how important this team was, so I’m glad that they’re getting a second shot… despite Nabe giving them… potentially the worse chance at a second shot while accepting a match. But that’s okay! Overcoming impossible odds is always fun – it’ll push them to their limit and give them the chance to prove themselves!
As for the remaining third of the episode, I kind of feel like I’m missing something. The glimpses of the Kitasumi v Yokohama Taiei match left a lot to be desired. I’m not the biggest fan of Taro, but I really think they could have done a lot more with him and his ultimate defeat. I guess we do get the point that Yokohama Taiei is a team that is unlike any other that we’ve seen before and with their lineup, there’s no way Kuzu High has a chance… But I really wish we could have seen more lead up, especially because of his strong emotions after the match, but perhaps we’ll get a little more of that match if Nao and Taro get to talk in the future.
Overall, I really did enjoy this episode! The ending just left a little bit to be desired but seeing as Taro and his team isn’t the focus, it’s understandable that they wouldn’t get as much screen time. I can’t wait to see what this new arc will bring!