Eva’s First Impression

Aye, it’s time to try out another badminton show! And so far, so good, it has left a positive impression on me! YAY!

Meet Mizushima Ryo, a boy who loves badminton. He aspires to play like his idol Kento Yusa, the ace of Yokohama Minato’s badminton team. An unimaginable opportunity to be on the same team as his idol come around when he was unexpectedly scouted by Yokohama Minato badminton coach Ebihara to attend their school on a Sports Recommendation. Despite Ryo’s lacking competitive record, Coach Ebihara claims to see great potential in him, supposedly because he has ‘good legs’. He believes Ryo is but someone who needs more experience to refine his abilities.

But going to Yokohama Minato would mean being separately from his friends and teammates. This weighed heavily on Ryo’s mind because it was Shinzo who got him into badminton in the first place. Though hilariously it was done by accident because Shinzo had originally dragged him along to join the basketball club with him, but after seeing the girls on the Bandminton club, he was dragged into that instead. And before they knew it, they grew to love the sport, became the Captain and Vice-Captain of their school’s team, and intended to continue together into high school. However it appears, it looks like they are fated to be on opposing teams instead. Of course it sucks to go separate ways like this, but even Shinzo, who was understandably a bit jealous about it, but didn’t lash out or anything of the sort. He understood this wasn’t an opportunity Ryo should pass up on.

And you would think Ryo’s parents would probably be excited to hear about it, but it actually turned out a lot worse than I could have imagined their reactions to be.

In fact, it really rubbed me the wrong way to see the way Ryo parents respond to this offer, even more so considering his older sister Rika is a student at Yokohama Minato as well. Sure she is there on Advanced Academic Recommendation, but still… I was particularly annoyed with how his mother told him he “doesn’t need to try so hard” and his father doubted his ability to keep up at his present skill-level. Like gee, I don’t know, maybe have a bit more faith in your son’s ability if he got freaking scouted by the badminton coach of Yokohama Minato! Also I thought his mother’s comment on how Ryo has always been timid and keeps his distance from others somewhat bizarre. I can understand where she is coming from in regards to how he is a bit timid(though, lets be real: she’s not helping the slightest to tell him not to give it a fair shot!!!!), but the part about how he stays away from people… Uh, you know he has friends right? And not just that, but he is also part of his middle school’s badminton team… Like, how far in the past are you comparing him to the present day?

Thank god for his sister Rika though! She seems to be the only one who sees him for who he is at the moment, not to mention, she was also the one to give him a nudge of encouragement to go for it!

Apart from that, the only somewhat excusable reason for his father for being so apprehensive about it is because of his own experience with Sports Recommendation. When he was younger, he did track and field and through that he got a Sports Recommendation for college. However after sustaining an injury, he was forced to quit, so it’s more about the fallout of such happening since he himself had a really had time dealing with it. That’s why he believes an Academic Recommendation is a better way to go.

That said, it goes without saying that Ryo’s sister Rika was the MVP of the episode. As I just mentioned in the above, she was Ryo’s pillar of support, and was the only one in the family to care to ask him about what he thought of the offer. Better yet, she also vouched for the coach’s keen eye for players who are diamonds in the rough. And in order to persuade their parents, Ryo had decided he would try to get in through Academic Recommendations, and Rika was more than willingly to do everything she can to help him achieve that. Ryo is lucky to have a sister like her!

Speaking of which, I do have to hand it to Ryo for pulling his resolve together by choosing the harder path, of trying to acquire an Advance Academic Recommendation. It was certainly a way to seal away his parents’ excuses for refusing to let him go, as well as a way to prove that he is very serious about this opportunity. But whether he will succeed getting through that it yet to be revealed, but at the very least it appears he is on the right track for it!

In the mean time, he has the opportunity to practice with Yokohama Minato badminton team. He and four other middle school students were invited by coach Ebihara to get a feel for their practices. Among them, there are three students with some admirable records (Sakaki Shouhei, and the Higashiyama twins Taichi and Yoji), and one (Matsuda Kouki) who Ryo has never seen or heard of. I’m looking forward to seeing what this guy has to offer!

But it appears the first year Ace himself, seems to feel rather differently about this, though if I had to make any guess, Yusa either seeing them as rivals or he wants to make sure he is only going up against those who can help him reach greater heights, or both. Either way, that glare isn’t exactly the more best way to introduce yourself to others, hahaha…

Overall, I thought this was a nice start! My gripes with Ryo’s parents aside, I am very happy to see Ryo have someone like his sister Rika on his side. I’m looking forward to seeing how this adventure will unfold and getting to know the rest of the team we were briefly introduced to today!

The season has only just begun, so I will be giving this one up to three episodes to decide whether I want to pick this up! Looking forward to the next episode!

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Quietcupcake’s First Impression: 

Woo!! Another badminton anime!

After watching this episode, I’m excited to see where this anime will go and what it will bring to the table. I’m honestly pleasantly surprised that by the end of this episode they haven’t even graduated middle school yet and there’s an opportunity to experience Yokohama Minato’s team without officially being a member of it. I’m curious to know how that will change dynamics between characters. I also love that all the characters are experienced and accomplished with the sport from the get-go. Perhaps they aren’t exactly star players or anything, but I really enjoy skill level variety across the genre of sports anime. There’s just so much potential, I can’t wait to see how everything will develop!

Right off the bat they set up an interesting dilemma for our main character, Ryo. Does he follow his friends to high school, the same friends who introduced him to the sport and have been with him every step of the way? Or, does he take the opportunity to try and get into Yokohama to play with his Idol? And this all started out as a joke between friends. Never in a million years did Ryo think he was good enough to get into such a school. Sure, he loves playing badminton and being able to play with his idol would be a dream come true… but just how feasible is it? Turns out a heck of a lot more feasible than he would think. Well… at least in terms of being accepted into the school. He is met with a whole slew of other problems when it comes to deciding whether or not he should actually attend.

Can we take a moment to recognize that… he got very little congratulations from his friends and his family? Like, a sports recommendation isn’t easy to come by. I’m not too sure how it works on the middle school level. But across the board it seems like Yokohama Minato is a very well established school… I would assume that at least his family would have been more excited about someone trying to scout him. Even if his sister had already gotten in on an academic recommendation!! Like wow! Both of your children were recruited by this prestigious school! I know it set up a decent conflict for this episode, but just the lack of excitement from everyone involved was a little disheartening. Even when you add the father’s reasoning for why a sports recommendation isn’t all that great, it really doesn’t explain why Ryo still shouldn’t go for it! Sure, he got into college on that recommendation and ended up getting injured. That in itself is definitely not a fun thing to have happen, but how do we know this will happen to Ryo? If you’re going to throw out what ifs to him, why not toss some back? Plus, I really do think High School vs College when it comes to sports are on an entirely different level. I don’t expect the school to just kick Ryo if he were to get injured. He’ll still have to study like a regular student… Yeah, he won’t be able to play the sport he loves so much, but he would come to that dilemma whether or not he decided to go to Yokohama Minato. But even with calling a sports recommendation a pain who asks “Can you even keep up at your current skill level?” Like…. that’s just… uncalled for. Sure, it’s been established that he’s not the best player, but why would you ask your son this? The school would have not given him a recommendation if they felt like he wouldn’t be able to take what they were going to throw at him. Will it be hard? Heck yes! But let Ryo decide this for himself !! And don’t even get me started with his mom telling him not to try so hard. Ryo… I would like to have a word with your parents.

When it comes to his friends…. I flip flop between my feelings about how they all reacted. At first, I was kind of frustrated but they definitely redeemed themselves more than his parents did. At the beginning of the episode Shizuo was even telling Ryo that he should try to get into Yokohama Minato so that he could play with his idol. But then they both joke and decide to go to a different school together. When the news comes out about Ryo’s recruitment, I definitely understand his friends feelings. They’ve been through so much together as a badminton team. I understand that they are just jealous and frustrated by the development, but I really did feel for Ryo. Almost everyone was against him going to this school. Except of course, Rika who really was the true MVP of the episode. She was on Ryo’s side from the very beginning and supporting him all the way.  Thank you Rika!! I appreciate You!!

Ultimately, I do forgive the friends for the way they responded to Ryo. I remember when I was going High School there was all sorts of feelings about leaving your friends behind and going to different schools. And their little text message exchange was really sweet. I’m honestly looking forward to the episode where they get to play each other as opponents! But! They are still in school together until they graduate, which means we have at least another episode of them being on the same team. Even though there will be distance between them, I like that they are ultimately supportive of this development.

But! Probably my biggest frustration with this episode was the way in which Ryo wanted to get into Yokohama Minato. My guy. My dude. You already got a recommendation for sports. Why do you need to go the academic advancement route??? It makes no sense!! I know he said he needed to feel like he earned it and work hard for it, but have these past three years of being on the badminton team not been hard work?? I know that it was a way to put his dad at ease but…. hmmmmm I don’t know how I feel about that. If anything it is a safety net and I can’t be upset with them for that. But! I am curious to know if the academic advancement program plays a stronger role in the future.

I really liked how they ended the episode! Having some middle schoolers join in on their practice. Plus it seems like those middle schoolers are going to be a lot of fun to spend time with. I like that there is a nice spread of personality, so I am looking forward to learning their stories as well. But that ending with the Ace? Oh ho ho ho ho, I am interested to see what kind of guy he is. You know what they say kids; never meet your idols.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this series. It’s definitely too early to gauge the pacing… but at the very least this episode left me with wanting to watch more so that’s a win in my book!

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