Annnd the match has officially started! As a whole I think it had a really nice balance of anticipation and humor while still maintaining the seriousness of the game. All around, it reminded me why I like watching the matches in this anime so much – for the most part, they feel realistic. Yasuhara being a relatively new player scoring his first basket for the other team? That was fantastic way to break the ice into the match. And while we’ve only just begun…. I’m excited to see what both teams will bring to the court. It’s definitely going to take me a minute to learn everyone’s names, but that’s part of the fun with meeting a new team.
I want to take a moment express how much I appreciated Chiaki in this episode. He was able to have a solid recognition of growth, but he also had the confidence to lighten up the situation. The fact that he admitted that he doesn’t like putting in effort and prefers to use other people to reach his goal, but is now willing to take a little bit more of the responsibility and score his own points, shows how much he’s grown during the course of the series. I mean, at his core he’s still the same Chiaki that we’ve gotten to know over these past 40+ episodes, but it’s nice to see how he’s developed based on his actions on the court. And on the other hand, by having him on the court right now, he provided a lot of lightheartedness to the episode. I felt that whenever it got two stressful, we were given the opportunity to relax or laugh thanks to Chiaki and a few other small moments, which I appreciated because we’re still early in the game and there’s so much for us left to see. Also, Chiba seeing his shoes was fantastic.
I’m actually really surprised by the “shift” in Hyou’s attitude in this episode, but I think the coach was able to explain it well. Hyou is an entirely offensive players and he definitely has “get points” on his mind, but now he’s limited and it’s really interesting to see him either frustrated or disinterested in the position. I’m interested to see how his perspective changes during this match. They’ve already replaced him with an extremely skilled player (but unfortunately, I have forgotten their name) who is definitely one to keep an eye on. This new player has an incredible amount of skill and has easily put Kuzu High on edge. Plus, he’s nice 🙂 so he has a lot of things going for him. But going back to Hyou, it really brings back the question of what he wants to do as a Basketball Player. He has ambitions sure, but if he can’t be convinced to give it his all whenever he’s on the court… I can imagine that he would be quickly replaced. I don’t know if I want to compare him to Kite at this point, but it seems that Hyou almost represents a someone that Kite could have become. But I’ll wait until next week to see if I still think that.
I think this episode was a pretty solid start to the game! I mean, Kuzu High had a little bit of a rough start given that Yasuhara went and scored in the wrong basket. But his heart was in it, so I still wish him the best for this match. Even Chucky’s gotten more into it with his defense! It’s an… innovative approach, but it seems to be working! And on that note, the whole play style of Kuzu is different than people expect. They’re playing with an interesting mix of players, that are finally starting to learn to rely on each other and their respective skills. They appear more as a cohesive team in and out more than Taiei does at this point. But we are still early in the match so things will shift as new components are added.
So, I’m super excited to see what Kite’s going to bring to the table next week with our “Best Line-up” episode (which makes me wonder, is Yasu part of that line up? Or will he be subbed out for Mokichi? Or are is it going to be a surprise and they’re actually talking about Taiei? Either way, I can’t wait.) Since he’s been removed from the core group for so long, I’m interested to see how his play style has changed and how that will fit in with the rest of the team. I feel a bit bad that Chucky’s been subbed out, especially when he seemed disappointed that he would be taken out for time being but seeing everyone rotate in and out is exciting. All the different line-ups bring different things to the court, so I’m sure he’ll get his chance to shine again soon. But until them, I can’t wait to see what next week will bring!