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!
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Hello there! Late again but funny enough, this is in part due to the fact that I am absorbed in this moment rereading some later crucial parts of the manga and so I am bit procrastinating. And I should say that I would like so much to see the later parts animated but…at the same time I don’t know. Because I am afraid that people might be surprised by one of the “real purpose” of the story. Anyway…
Talking about long-shot character. As predicted, poor Madoka is battered again by some comments and while I may understand the interrogation of people (I did myself in the past at that time), I am negatively impressed by the rudeness of some words. But on the other end, it certainly means that she’s realistically written as the same rudeness is (unfortunately) quite often applied to girls who don’t follow the playbook in our “real world”. Especially the “shipping” playbook! As I am amazed by how people just hate her for not being the classical wallflower cheerleader in love of the main character. Anyway, so at least we know now where she is. Then, what’s next? We will see…
So now, about the main event of the episode. As I said, I am bit disappointed that the opening diluted the surprise. Because I can say that me when I read it, that moment was a huge reveal for me as I was not expecting that at all (actually, in the manga, Sora was leaving because Nao was waiting for him to get back with the others for the 2nd half instructions so it emphasizes the reveal a bit). I found funny that once again, some people were expecting the “classical”. That is, Yozan being a jerk belittling Sora or something like that. As you said, he’s very grounded. But who knows…maybe that is a facade?). Talking about reveal between two characters, are you sure you did not forget about two other players who are supposed to know each other? I see that you are like Mokichi and ignore the other one…XD
And yeah, I really enjoy the moment when Sora changes his resolve. This is so important in the manga that this is actually the end of a volume. As you already said, whatever the outcome of that game, one goal is for them to being aware of how they have to do more than just playing if they want to reach their goal. I mean, even the subtle scene with Mokichi being frustrated about being benched is important. As this is clearly painful to him as he knows himself that he is not on par physically. And of course, Toby needs to level up. By the way, maybe I will have to precise a little something about him, depending on their handling of the next episode. By the way, I have a question. For you, who’s the best player of Yokohama Taiei?
‘Real Purpose’ ? Oh! You have me intrigued 🙂
I do appreciate the Madoka isn’t following the “traditional” role that people expect her to play, because it gives her a lot of depth… but yeah she’s receiving a lot of negative comments and every time she gets a segment in an episode I have to brace myself if I want to see what other people are saying. I understand a bit of the frustration, but my frustration comes from just not understanding that the goal of her story is – I personally never saw her as Sora’s love interest. I mean, Sora has a crush on her, but Madoka hasn’t exactly reciprocated those feelings back. And with Yuka’s death, I’m sure Madoka has quite a bit of conflicting feelings. Still, I am interested to see where this date takes us!
I will admit that the connection between the two was not as impactful as I would have liked, but I attributed it to me overthinking everything leading up to it. But it does make me very interested to see how Sora and Yozan differ (or how similar) in play style. It seems like Taiei’s team has a handful of people who could be misinterpreted as just jerks or high and mighty players, but I think all of them have enough humility to understand that they have to earn their right to be on the court, that the position they hold can be taken away at any time. (I don’t know how I feel about that statement applying to Hyou though). I did notice the interaction with Mineta and Mokichi! But I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember if that was information we were supposed to know ^_^”
What I truly appreciate about Kuzu High, is that they are 100% a team that isn’t favored to win in any matches that they’ve been apart of. (I was originally going to say that they were an underdog team, but I think that’s more reserved for a something like the Haikyuu! series, where they aren’t favorite to win, but they can pull through). Kuzu High just isn’t as developed to win as a collective. We have members who have played the sport before and are pretty strong in what they can do, but there is a lot they will need to improve. I appreciate the continual recognition and aspiration to grow!
As for the best player on Taiei’s team, hmmmmmmmm that’s a tough one. In terms of skill I would definitely say I would give that to Shiraishi because of his incredible skill. But I think one of his weaknesses is that he’s too intimidating and not really someone to rally the team. So, I’d also like to give credit to Yokoyama who, even though we haven’t seen too much of a focus on since a couple episodes ago, is pretty well rounded but also is someone that inspires confidence in others.
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