Ahiru no Sora – Episode 40

So, I’ll be honest right out of the gate in the fact that I actually really enjoyed this episode! Speaking from a strictly anime-only opinion, I think they were able to collect the story better than they have in the past couple of episodes. Was it a little bit rough? Sure, but I think we still got some decent introduction and development across the board. I’ve really appreciated seeing our opponents get fleshed out, we get to see what motivates them and why they keep coming back to the court. It really adds an extra layer of investment to the story.

I loved getting to see Taiei get developed, even if the primary focus was on someone who wasn’t previously on our radar. I think they did a much better job expressing his struggle with just being “normal” better than they did with Chiba’s (arguably they are different, but they actually gave Mineta a story that was beyond just quick inserts on the court). I liked the inclusion of Mineta’s story because 1) we get to see Taiei from the perspective of someone who isn’t a star player and 2) it emphasized the passion and dedication individuals have for the game (as we’ve seen with most characters) and the realization of that passion. Prior to this episode we’ve only had the chance to spend time with Shiraishi, who is incredibly skilled and has a clear, solid goal, and we’ve also dealt with Hyou who is just on a completely different level from a lot of other characters we’ve seen before. And then there’s Yozan, who we’ve seen briefly before – he’s focused and determined, but he’s stuck in a similar situation to Sora, but not he has to compete against all of these tall and skillful players. But, compared to them… Mineta seems like the “average” player. He was good in his Middle School and decided to continue playing in High School, but now he’s found himself with a lot of others in the same situation, thus he just becomes another member of the team.

As a result, I liked seeing the interactions he had over the course of his segment and how it ultimately solidified his own desire to play Basketball. Yeah, it sucks to hear Shiraishi be such a jerk to Mineta, but it played out nicely because of the questioning that Mineta had to go through. Without that immediate shut down, he very well could have just continued to push himself less than he was capable of. If he hadn’t opted to quit the day before he would have never had the conversation with Hyou expressing that playing in High School is not the end goal – they have much loftier things in mind so instead playing for Taiei is just a stepping stone for them to reach what they want. So! I’m happy to see that he came back, and I’m interested to see his growth if he ends up playing in the Kuzu v Taiei match.

Outside of development for another Taiei member, it was nice to revisit our team and see how they were prepping for the upcoming match. I don’t have too much to say about the specific team meeting, but I am thinking back to Nao and Sora when they were on their way to the tournament match. Kuzu High doesn’t seem like a divisive team and they consistently mention Momoharu needing to prove himself worthy to them, but they haven’t shown that existing distrust. Chiaki already wrestled him, Sora just wants to play Basketball, and Kite is a lone wolf. Everyone seems to be acting relatively normal. I wonder if this has to do with the exclusion of Yasuhara content…. in which case…. it’s a bummer that we don’t get see him shine. But as a whole I did like that we got to see our team improving. Nabe is learning how to shoot 3s which is a really big step forward for him and his Basketball Journey. He’s becoming more of a team player rather than just a guy hanging around because that’s what all his friends are doing. I liked the segment we had with Sora going to visit Taro to learn one of his moves. I loved the standoff nature that Taro gave, but in the end sneakily helped Sora figure something out. Taro is definitely growing on me as a character 🙂

But I think my favorite segment and concept from this episode came from Kite and his story. I liked that they were able to articulate him as some who was skilled but not developed and it’s impressive that he made it this far. It encapsulates his play style. He can do many impressive things, but he just bulldozes his way through, never improving his “sense” for the game but his skills are incredible. As the lone wolf type character this would make sense as he is able to do what he does best, but he’s still trying to figure out how to work with the team and work with the support he has. And as a result, I really liked the way that they changed the narrative of “get the points” because I was previously lead to believe that it was Kite’s way of charging through and taking all the shots that fulfilled that goal. But after seeing him make a shot, I understand it more as searching for opportunity and striking where you can and as often as you can. It’s not just about brute force, but about considering the other factors around you. So, I’m looking forward to how that idea will play out in these upcoming episodes.

All around, I thought this was a solid episode. I appreciated being able to learn more about Taiei and one of their players, but I also appreciated seeing Kuzu High strive to be better than they were yesterday. Goals can be lofty, and you may not always see the finish line, but if you just aim to be better than yesterday, you’ll eventually find that goal and reach it.

Quietcupcake

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

3 thoughts on “Ahiru no Sora – Episode 40

  1. Hello! So before starting my (lately usual) rant, I would like to stress that there is no surprise that anime-only people would appreciate it as the story itself saves that adaptation and when there is no basket-ball games, they are of course good. But, as (fanatic) manga reader…a bit tough.

    Thus, record tied this week with almost 106 pages again. So, there were sacrifices of course. But even funnier, let me tell you the story-boarding of that episode which I named “the puzzle/tango episode”. So if we consider the Taiei part being “chapter X”, so we started with chapter X, then…a tiny part of chapter X-1(Madoka part), then chapter X-2 and then fast forward to Chapter X+1. Yeah, they inverted things. And of course, if you had followed, Chapter X-1 has been sacrificed. The reason? That was the explanation of the Yasuhara/Momoharu trouble which exists without existing in that adaptation. So, if next week they do not talk about it, I will tell you what it is exactly. But I won’t be a jerk, they did a good job for squeezing all the stuffs, even though I remain convinced that things could have been handled better, when they suddenly slowed down after episode 33.

    Anyway, talking about jerk, I find funny how people feel about Sei after that episode. Because, yeah he’s a jerk and has an “awful” tongue. The problem is, as many things had been removed in previous episodes, people could not see that earlier. In the Kitasumi game, when being benched, he complained to Sakamaki about Fuwa hairstyle and attitude. And as I told you last week, after Maru game, after having talked with Tokiwa, (in the manga), he trash-talked Yakuma (another victim of the butchering) for having been too “soft and respectful to the seniors” during the game.
    Talking about Fuwa, I don’t know how you were judging him so far, but I hope that after episode, people will start to understand a bit that he’s not exactly the “cliche bad guy” that he looked when he appeared. Actually, something which should be understood (but was also cut during Kitasumi game) is that Fuwa is the only freshman in the “A team”. And the 3rd years and 2nd year hate how Sakamaki is carefree with him and his attitude. Actually, when they are in the bath, in the manga (one again), this is a 2nd year who’s supposed to tell Fuwa to leave if he’s not happy (because he’s jealous of Fuwa being in the first team).
    Yeah, I appreciated that Taiei part in the manga and the way that it was told through the eyes of Mineta. But I won’t hide that I was most excited for the appearance of Yozan (once again, I think my 2nd favorite character). By the way, I don’t know why the anime removed the inserts with the name/details about people but the full name is Yozan Kamiki and he’s actually taller than Sora (1m58 against 1m49, sorry if you use Ft/inches system…).

    So, about Kuzuryu, regarding Momoharu, I don’t think that you should read too much. They are just stressing that he’s the captain and if you have followed the previous episode, the second aim of that Maru game was to make some inspirational parallel with Kuzuryu players. And so, Momoharu needs to “Chiba himself” if I could speak this way. BTW, now, I suppose that you got the reason of the Mokichi/Nabe scene last time.
    I won’t talk about the Sora/Mokichi Toby scene as it was the most ludicrous butchered modified part of that episode. In sum, in the manga, the scene is a bit different with Kite being first a jerk while replying to Mokichi (even though what Sora said is correct). And dear Madoka was supposed to have two other scenes, but well…what’s mattered is that her “phone” is very important to her…

    The game starts next week. Let’s enjoy!

    1. I’m glad that I’m waiting for the end of the anime before picking up the manga (but honestly, I’m really excited about starting the manga!) primarily because I don’t know what is coming in terms of the story/plot. But I’m glad you’re still watching!

      These past few “in between” episodes have really been all over the place with content and pacing, that this episode felt like we finally had a moment to digest what was going on. I know some people aren’t thrilled about meeting a completely new character this late in the series, but I do appreciate how Mineta was able to give us that inside look at Taiei & have those teammate conversations with Yozan, Shiraishi, and Fuwa. Though… I will admit… the single Madoka scene didn’t feel like it added much to the story other than seemingly giving us closure on her interactions with those other boys. Perhaps they’ll add them in the next episode?

      I like that we have a character like Sei, he has a harsh tongue and not the best attitude towards others, but sometimes that sort of character plays a valuable role as well. From my perspective if just shows that he’s very serious about the game and that’s how he shows it. I am interested to see if he will be portrayed as just a jerk going forward or if we’ll get a bit more from him. Yeah! I honestly haven’t been able to put my finger on the type of character that Fuwa is, because he seems like the bad guy, but he’s not really a bad guy. Just confident. Also thank you for the clarification! I noticed that he seemed to be treated differently than the other players, but understanding that he’s the only Freshman on the A team is pretty important especially in relation to his team mates.

      I’m excited to see more of Yozan! He seems like a really interesting character to add to the mix especially after we got the teaser of him when Sora returned after Yuka’s death. Based on the opening I would have assumed that he might be a little bit taller than Sora, but it’s nice to know the actual height – especially since it seems like Yozan really wants to prove himself as valuable as a short player, whereas Sora, albeit similar really wants to play the game and prove himself.

      I liked the overall message that came out of the Sora, Kite, and Mokichi scene but I agree that it wasn’t the most well put together moment. But I suppose they did their best as they tried to add it all in to the end of this week’s episode. I mean, we didn’t even get an opening this week because they had quite a bit to cover.

      Woohoo! I’m excited for the game to start!! 🎉🏀

    2. Manga is far better than the anime but yeah we can say that after a long hiatus, at least 1 Basketball anime is being aired. This is no less than extraordinary to witness this.
      About Kuzuryu, regarding Momoharu, I also don’t think that you should read too much. They are just stressing that he’s the captain and if you have followed the previous episode, the second aim of that Maru game was to make some inspirational parallel with Kuzuryu players. And so, Momoharu needs to “Chiba himself” if I could speak this way. BTW, now, I suppose that you got the reason of the Mokichi/Nabe scene last time.
      I won’t talk about the Sora/Mokichi Toby scene as it was the most ludicrous butchered modified part of that episode. In sum, in the manga, the scene is a bit different with Kite being first a jerk while replying to Mokichi (even though what Sora said is correct). And dear Madoka was supposed to have two other scenes, but well…what’s mattered is that her “phone” is very important to her…

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