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!


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. BlueBlue

    Oddly enough, I have also appreciated that episode. I have even watched it many times. I mean, the pace was so high and the soundtrack well chosen that the “animation” was edible. I mean, the back and forth of the game was perfectly relatable. I also appreciate the fact they did not remove the “explanations” about what’s ongoing. What I mean is that actually (in the manga), this is not for instance Sakamaki (the coachof Taiei) who explains his goal with Fuwa but “a narrator”. And as for the Shinjo game, they had removed the narrator, I was afraid that they would do the same here. I hope that they will continue like that because I warn you already that it will be very very strategic.

    A little tip regarding the player who replaced Fuwa? His surname is YokoYama (playing for YokoHama. XD). What is funy is that…guess what? Well he was a victim of the butchering of the episode 40 as we were supposed to be introduced to him already. He’s even the first one to congratulate Mineta ( ; ; no worry, these are pics from my french volume). Talking about Mineta, last time, you told me that that you were surprised by him not being n the lineup but actually, aren’t you even surprised to see that neither him nor Yozan are actually in the roster (like all the freshmen but Fuwa). Was the opening another misdirection? And as usual you are asking a correct question. What is that best lineup? So many mysteries…XD

    So now, I would like to come back to your reply to my previous comment. For clarifying something, when I said Madoka was the best chance of second season, I wasn’t talking about popularity-wise BUT storywise. I mean, I resist to be be spoilerish but that time I need to kill something. The author plan with Madoka will absolutely NOT been completed in the remaining episodes. Crazy story-boarding or not, this, I guarantee it. Will there be something? Yes. But…well. The reason why I said that is because when the anime was announced, not knowing the episode number but knowing that there were Taiei characters, where they would stop was quite obvious for manga readers. But, not knowing that they would be so respectful of the scenario, I thought that if they were intending to skip parts to save time or give an “original ending” from the get-go, Madoka storyline would be sacrificed/modified as it was impossible to fit it in “just” one season. And as she does not influence that much anymore Kuzuryu male team, that would have been doable. But as it is not the case, I assume that there is a possibility that there will be more…one day.

    Honestly, if it were not for that Covid19 year, I would have been 99.99% convinced of a sequel. I mean, I can imagine that this series is new to many people in the West but we are not talking about an unknown manga for Japanese here. I mean, in its heyday, this is a manga which was selling close to 400K physical copies per volume. And without crazy promotion or anime or whatever as that author is a “weirdo” and not a fan of that. That was slightly twice more than Kuroko before the anime of the latter unleashed girls fan of pretty boys (sorry for being “reductive” but that’s true). Even with a long anime, a series like “Diamond no ace” does not reach (or very barely) the sales level of “Ahiru no Sora” in its heyday. The only issue as I previously told is that all the events which were associated with the anime have been canceled due to Covid19. So, production committee clearly lost money there. DVD/blu-ray sales were not good at all (no pretty boy and well, no animation craziness). So, if they are not happy with the music and goodies sales, well…
    But, let’s see!

  2. Quietcupcake

    Early on in the episode, I noticed that the animation was, as many people have called it, a slideshow. But I think everything that we got in terms of plot and general development made it work.

    I wonder if the animation studio left out Yokoyama to make him an even bigger surprise when he was introduced on the court. But somehow I get the feeling that I’m too hopeful with that thought and they just didn’t have the time for it. I am however, surprised that Yozan isn’t in the line up, but because of the opening and even the promo image (on that note, I guess Mineta is there as well) gives me hope for seeing Yozan on the court.

    I think for something that has been pretty unknown in the West, or at least in the States, I think it’s gotten a decent amount of attention. Granted, it’s not on the level of hype as some other “Sports” anime, but it’s definitely growing on people. Prior to shutdowns, I definitely saw a lot more about it especially at conventions! Looking back on some photos around that time, there were giant posters advertising it at Crunchyroll’s booth. And considering what it was going up against in its release season I’m happy that people have stuck around with it. So, I do really hope there’s a second season on the horizons!

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