Mikoto is having a fairly rough transition when it comes to the training experience. He is used to practicing in large facility’s with workout equipment, cameras to observe their forms, and high ceilings. Sunlight Beverage has nothing of the sorts when all they are using is an elementary gymnasium. It doesn’t get much better when he makes a horrific blunder on the job by accidentally damaging their client’s beloved car. He only barely redeemed himself by catching a knife-wielding shoplifter, one Badarymann– I mean Tatsuru body-checked to the ground. But even so- that was pretty brutal to see how he almost threw the relationship Tatsuru worked hard to form out the window.

And then we were introduced to UNISICS team who Sunlight Beverage were having a practice match with. The team consists group of rather talented players, one of them (Kirishima Hayato) ranked second in the world in men’s doubles (and lo and behold, his younger brother (Takuma) is number one), the other being as young as seventeen (Misora Ayato). Nice to see for most part they seem to be an agreeable bunch.

But… was it just me, or did it feel like something crucial was missing in the match-ups? Like it was as though the spirit of the game wasn’t there… it’s weird. As I was watching the matches, I couldn’t help but feel like they were so hollow. I wondered whether it was because they pretty much skipped over the practice sessions and we honestly didn’t get to learn much about the cast this week at all outside of Tatsuru showing Mikoto the ropes of their job.

So when it came to the practice match against UNISICS’ team, it just fell flat for me. But apart from not giving us time to really get to know the characters and start becoming attached to them, my biggest gripe with this episode was the way they went about the game. I was not a fan of how they glossed over Sota’s singles match (which he won), and it was mildly frustrating to see Yagami Jun/Natsuki Ryo (UNISICS) VS Takeda Koki/Saeki Toya (Sunlight Beverage)’s game consisting mostly pan-shots. Of course I know there isn’t a lot of time to spare, but it still feels lazy to skip over them when this practice match was supposed to be a team-effort where they were responsible for wining their sets.

Needless to say, the focus in this practice match was more about Mikoto’s short-comings on his foresight ability and his crippling trauma.

Speaking of which, this week it really felt like they were pressing a bit too hard about how incredible Mikoto’s foresight skill is supposed to be. It sort of felt like they were kind of shoving it down our throats this time round. Like okay, so it’s a refined habit as Mikoto has always been extremely observant of people and learned to pick up on their subconscious behavior. Makes sense. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like they might be depending on it too much to “justify” how Mikoto is supposed to be so good, while using the trauma as a reason to nerf it until it can be tapped into properly. That would explain why they showed us how poorly they were performing in the doubles when Mikoto was struggling to read his opponents. Anyhow, I find that I don’t really care for the whole ‘foresight’ gimmick. It hasn’t really made the matches more exciting yet.

Overall, I thought this week was an okay episode. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I was pretty optimistic last week about the show but now I find myself growing a bit concerned about the execution of the upcoming games. If game spirit that really livens up the matches isn’t there, I’m worried I am going to quickly lose interest. For me, the most memorable and entertaining part of the episode was when Saeki breaking the fourth wall when he said: “An arguing odd couple. If this were a fiery sports anime, does this mean they’d win?” Oh man, that bit had me WHEEZING BECAUSE IT’S SO TRUE! (Unfortunately they did not win because they were up against Hayato, who is the second best in the world in the men’s doubles.)

Anyhow, now that this practice match is behind us and I do appreciate that Tatsuru is confronting Mikoto’s about his trauma sooner than later. In the very brief practice scene, Mikoto had a collision with Tatsuru and he shook him. Tatsuru noticed this but didn’t press him about it, but after Mikoto froze up again during the practice match, he decided to just be upfront about why Mikoto doesn’t jump anymore. And things should get interesting considering Toya is still in touch with Mikoto’s former partner, who we got to see in the post-credits. Hopefully the show pull itself together and find its footing again.


Blogging Anime since Summer 2009, & Founder of AngryAnimeBitches Anime Blog ...I may or may not be addicted to writing

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Eva

    Notice: As of this week, I will not be continuing the coverage for Ryman Club.

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