Wow, what a comeback! They still have a bit to go, but I’m feeling hyped up after this episode. This week we got to spend a lot more time focusing on Kuzu High’s personal growth and convictions – I don’t really know where to start!
Well, let’s just in and start with Kite as he helps start the turn of the game’s tide. At the end of the previous episode, we are finally told why Kite has been holding back during this game. He’s been building up his fury, because for him, that’s where he can target his skill and let it all release. He’s a wild and uncontrolled player, but to be able to gather up that anger and frustration and turn it in to focus is honestly a pretty impressive skill. And what’s equally as impressive is that Kite is able to do it all while fatigued. What’s more, is that Kite is no longer trying to play as a one-man team. While he is the one to help turn the tide and help the team regain confidence, he is starting to utilize and help his teammates. In this episode, he mainly helps Yasu ground himself in the match. Even though their interaction was short, I appreciated the two of them having a brief chat on the court … well it was mostly Kite talking at Yasu, while Yasu thinks to himself… but it seems in that moment, that Yasu wants to take responsibility and improve for himself and the team. Arguably, he wanted that from the beginning of the game, but I think Kite actually speaking to him in a way that wasn’t blame really helped to clear Yasu’s head and bring about a clearer conviction.
Speaking of Yasu, I’m really impressed that he was able to hold his ground to stay in the game. Yeah, he doesn’t have the height of Mokichi and perhaps the team would have benefited in switching him out, but I really appreciate the reasoning that was given for him to stay in the game. Everyone on the team wants to win this game, they all have something important riding on the game’s success. For Yasu, and honestly Momoharu, it’s their way of taking responsibility for what has happened. I love that the reasoning is phrased as “wanting to change the game with his own strength and not borrowing from someone else”. To me, that’s Yasuhara wanting to prove how much the team and sport mean to him and he wants to prove himself to everyone else. He’s not just there to cause problems and he can and will help the team how he can. Now, I don’t necessarily think he was completely able to achieve his goal of changing the game entirely by himself, but he was able to change the game with Momoharu, who also feels the need to prove himself to everyone else. It was a really cool movement watching Yasu take the shot and having Momoharu finish the Basket for him. It made me feel really proud of both of them!
But I do think that real star of this episode is Chiaki. A focused and serious Chiaki is also an incredibly cool Chiaki. I think his moments in this episode were different to the others because they were expressed through another person’s point of view. You weren’t really expecting Chiaki to be there, but there he was. I really love when we get serious moments from Chiaki, because it further emphasizes that he’s not just a class clown. Like everyone else, he’s been training incredibly hard, he does so by heading over to Mokichi’s house everyday (eating all his food) and practicing. But what’s even more impressive is that Chiaki is able to bring out things in others. Yeah, he’s not the most physically impressive player on the court, but he’s calculating and sets up situations to let other players shine. In this episode we see that Sora is height is unfortunately an incredible weakness to the team (despite having brand new players) and Sora needs to find a way to improve to overcome that “short”coming. Sora of course, works hard to be able to make shots as quickly as possible, but Chiaki is able to provide him with the best set up for those shots. By providing those low passes, Sora gets to the ball in the lowest position and can immediately spring up into his jump. Those few seconds really make a big difference.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. We got fun and intense moments both on and off the court, and it really seems that the audience is getting invested in the game. I kind of wish that the teachers who left would come back, but honestly, it’s their loss for calling it quits early. I’m interested in next week’s episode; the title seems a little bit off – but I think they were probably going with the motif of a flightless bird? Or perhaps they do mean to turn Sora into a duck. Either way, I’m excited to keep this game going and see what next week will bring!!