Hoo boy! We finally get to see Sora and Yozan have an interaction and I am absolutely thrilled! Madoka also makes a reappearance and with half time going happening with the main match, I think that was integrated pretty nicely. But back on the court Kuzu High is not giving up heck if anything it seems like they are just getting warmed up. Overall, while this certainly wasn’t my favorite episode, after last week, I think this episode did a great job finding a medium of giving us more character development and progressing the match. So, all around, I had a good time watching it.
Hands down, my favorite part of the episode was the interaction between Sora and Yozan. For one, they finally get to talk and acknowledge each other, but for two we finally get to see the connection between the two. And in hindsight… I should have picked up from the new opening of the anime, but in my defense, they were all facing away from the camera. I liked the dynamic of the whole conversation, Sora is much more upbeat and optimistic, whereas Yozan is much more grounded… and yet they both had very similar goals. Unfortunately, now having met Sora, Yozan’s goal is in a bit of trouble. I do really want to see the two of them go toe to toe on the court though, especially knowing that the link between the two of them is Yuka. How has their training beyond her worked to elevate what they have learned from her? I mean, I would assume, that since Sora is Yuka’s son that he would have the advantage…. but at the same time, Yozan is still a member of Taiei’s team. But what really bums me out is that they pretty much tell us that the earliest that they will be able to play each other would be the semi-finals of the regional prelims… if anything, that means that there can be hope for a second season… or perhaps they were tricking us and Taiei’s coach decides to try some new things in the second half. But what really sealed the deal on their whole interaction was the very end. It tied back nicely after the Madoka moment (which I will talk about in just a moment), but having both of them express that they wanted to be the shortest, and greatest, player in all of Japan was just really well done. I liked Sora’s conviction, but I also appreciated the flashback to one of our very first moment’s from Yozan saying that he hoped no players shorter than him would appear on the scene. It was just a really fantastic moment in my opinion!
Circling back to Madoka, I’m still unsure of where her story is taking her, but if they were going to insert more Madoka content, I’m glad they did it where they did. With Yozan and Sora chatting during the break it allowed us to step away from the game for a few minutes and essentially clear our thoughts from everything that was going on. So, checking in on what she was doing didn’t feel out of place. I’m still thinking she’s going on the date to experience that teen high school life, but this episode in particular made it seem a little bit…. unsettling. It really seems like she both does and doesn’t want to be there. Especially her line about being able to hold a conversation while thinking about something completely different. Madoka why couldn’t you go and support the team at the game?! I know she has her reasons, but I just can’t figure out what her goals are. But, at the very least, I hope the rest of her date goes well.
Back on the court, it seems like our team is still struggling, but they’re a little bit more collected than they were at the end of last week’s episode. Except for maybe Chiaki, it looks like he’s about to snap. I liked that they finally explained Fuwa’s tongue thing, because I was genuinely in agreement that it was kind of creepy. But if what Mokichi said is true, that’s incredibly impressive that such a thing could become second nature. Personally, my two favorite moments from the second half, would be Sora’s change from just being happy to be able to play basketball and growing into something even grander with everyone else. And second, is we finally get to see what’s going on in Kite’s mind and why he hasn’t really been playing with his usual Kite flare. I could have convinced myself that it was because of Taiei’s skill level but knowing that Kite is actually just building up fury is impressive. When he finally explodes, oh man, that will be a sight to behold. (Also, as bonus third thing, I liked the humor they had with the remaining teachers in the gym. First the one with the mustache, and then the punk biker looking teacher. I got a good kick out of that :)).
And so, we’re in the final sprint through the remaining five episodes. Things are bound to get exciting and I can’t believe we’re already so close to the end of the season!