Ahh… wow this episode was absolutely brutal for Kuzu High. Taiei has found their rhythm and has figured out how to shut Kuzu out. Quite frankly with Taiei’s skills and confidence, it will be pretty difficult for Kuzu to turn things around. But as they said at the end, the match isn’t over yet!
If I’m honest from the get-go, I don’t have very high hopes for Kuzu to win this match, even if they pull a miraculous feat and manage to catch up to their opponent in the second half. From what I can see, this match will certainly be a learning opportunity 1) to just show the incredibly difference between skills, and 2) to also recognize skills that need to develop. But that isn’t too say that they won’t pull off impressive things in the second half! But this episode really showed how well rounded Taiei is – as mentioned in the episode, they have to fight for the right to wear the jersey, so they can’t just hone one skill and be good at that one skill, they need to be impressive and put in 110% towards everything. Kuzu… on the other hand, while they currently have their best line-up on the court… each member really only has one skill. Momoharu has his jump, which helps the team get rebounds, but he can’t shoot. Mokichi is incredibly tall which helps the team out tremendously and he also has his hook shot, but his lack of stamina and middle school predictability hurts the team. Quite frankly, this episode showed Taiei’s adaptability skills and they have completely shut their opponent out. At this point it seems like all of Kuzu’s cards are on the table and Nao doesn’t really have any wild cards to pull. But hey! We’re only at halftime, and Sora’s gotten tips from the opposing team’s coach, and he and Yozan are finally going to interact with each other!
That being said, I’m super excited to see how the interaction between Yozan and Sora will go! Yozan is definitely the player that I’ve been hoping to see in action the most – I have a feeling he has another connection with Sora aside from being short, but I haven’t quite figured out what it might be… if there is something. If anything, I want to see the two of them and their play styles. Yozan, playing for Taiei, obviously has a lot of competition in order to even get on the court, so based off of that I assume he will be just as much of a threat as the current players on the court… However, I have a feeling that he doesn’t’ get the opportunity to be on the court to play with a team. With that in mind I can imagine that even though he’ll have skills the inability to connect with the team can be pretty damaging. Of course, this is all speculation and I won’t actually find out for a week or two. But Sora’s fight to play is a little different. Because of the nature of the team, he doesn’t have to fight to stay on the court, and quite frankly he continues to play because he has the passion for the sport. He’s working a lot better with the team as a whole especially as he takes over point guard. But he doesn’t have the amount of rigorous training and skill that Yozan would have developed over time. So, I really hope Yozan gets a chance on the court during this match!
Lastly, I just want to take a moment to talk about the spectating teacher’s and their decision to leave. Even though it was a very short segment of the episode, I think it was important to say. The principal essentially set up this match as a second chance for the Basketball team, but also to show all the doubtful teachers how much this group actually cares. I appreciated that the teachers acknowledged the goals of the principal and even commented that they wouldn’t mind taking up the advisor role if that’s all the team needs. But they also acknowledged that there is something more that is needed to actually help Kuzu reach their lofty goals. I mean they are, as Kite has mentioned, at the bottom… but hey, they have nowhere to go but up, so let’s hope things start looking up for our team in the upcoming episodes!
I’m sorry I didn’t have very much to say about the actual match this week!! All around things, weren’t going well for our team as they were fouling and generally just unable to succeed with anything they were trying to pull off. Still! We’re only halfway through and there’s always a chance that things will start to look better for our team!
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Sorry for the late answer, but to copy a person that you might know: “I am sorry that I don’t have much to say on that episode…” XD. More seriously, about for having been busy, that episode really did not inspire me. I think that I made a mistake by re-reading that manga part few weeks ago and so I know it so much that my expectations are so high for some parts that I am naturally disappointed by how they are handled (from “animation” point of view of course).
One good thing is that they stopped the episode where I hoped that they will do. Last time, I said that I was afraid, but that is because so far (apart for one episode), they always do everything to end their episodes at the exact same end that chapters in the manga. And that’s part of the reason why sometimes, their pace is weird. But that time, they didn’t do it and did not even try to push it toward a particular scene (you will understand what I mean, with the next episode). So, is it the time of the “fated” encounter? Will Yoza play? Is there really a link between them? Well, we will see…or not. XD. And where is dear Madoka by the way? Is she still part of the show? Lol. Does she have a link with them? (little tip: one of these questions is a red herring).
Regarding the game, I hope that you appreciated the basket-ball lecture. Actually, they suppress this time the narration (is there any logic with that anime?) which explains better. But, essentially, as Nao said, they have the players and strategies to destroy a zone defense. Fun fact is, zone defense is not very used in USA and it is even different in NBA compared to “international” basket-ball, so every time Team USA played olympic games or world cups, their opponents like to use it as they struggle with (especially when their best NBA players are not there).
And now, I hope that you have more respect (kidding) for my friend Tetsuya. Second fun fact is that in moder NBA (even though that series is older than that), what happened to Mokichi is extremely used as tactics. What I mean is that teams are permanently looking for a mismatch and slow-footed players struggle more and more to find a place in the NBA. This is also a reason why, big centers are less and less used in NBA (maybe you have heard the term “small ball” used very often).
But yeah, to sum things, Kuzuryu is in trouble now, and the thing is they are dominated in every areas including…coaching! And that is something that I always appreciated with that part. I love Nao, but as pointed out by Chiaki (and also Takahashi and Chiba), she’s clearly the one suffering the most in that moment as she’s clearly the one without any answers and not at the level of Sakamaki (logical). But hey, this is anime, so if even in real basket-ball, crazy comebacks exist, maybe it will happen here. Let’s not forget that they promised to win!
Yeah, I would have to agree that this episode left me pretty uninspired and I didn’t even know what the possibilities could have been! Animation has been a consistent disappointment, but I really felt it in this episode. Just consistent stills and reaction shots from players. And sometimes that works for the players depending on what’s going on in their heads, but I think this episode just… struggled, in more ways than one. But hey! They delivered on the disasters for Kuzu High.
I’m just about to start the next episode, but I really am excited to pick up with Yozan and Sora during half time! there are so many possibilities about what could happen. Maybe they talk to each other? Maybe they make eye contact and then disappear again? But I want them to acknowledge each other! I will admit, that when Yozan was showed in the opening before turning around, I definitely had a moment where I thought he could be Madoka, and then for a brief moment I thought… “hmmm could they be siblings?” but I ended up shutting that idea down pretty quickly seeing as Madoka has essentially removed from this part of the story (granted she could make a comeback). So that is a good question: Where is Madoka?
I did appreciate the Basketball lecture to some extent! I’m really not as familiar as the sport as I should be, so I really appreciate when they explain things to the viewer (essentially, I’m probably only one step above Chucky and Nabe when it comes to my knowledge). And thank you for sharing the facts!
I hadn’t even considered the coaching domination because I was so focused on what was happening on the court. But yeah! Despite Nao’s passion for the game and even coaching others, she’s completely overwhelmed by the experience of Taiei’s coach. Previously, she’s been able to find ways around various obstacles they were having, but Taiei is just incredibly skilled. It’s the greatest challenge she’s come across in a while, if not ever! I’m still hoping for them to win! But at this point even I feel a little bit hopeless for the team. Let’s hope they pull off an amazing comeback in the next episode!!
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