What a fantastic episode this week! I really liked how realistic the match and the outcome of the round-robin tournament was! It’s normal to start making sloppy mistakes as you grow more and more tired. We saw how Kouki’s legs almost buckled under him during the match, which led to that awful muscle spasm. (Man that made me wince because that shit hurts like a bitch.) And Ryo made some poor mistakes like failing to get the birdie over the net when it was his turn to serve.

But what this singles round-robin showed us is that Ryo’s keen eye of being able to pick up his opponent’s habits and great stamina makes him a very dangerous opponent for games that get dragged out as long as this one had. We saw this with Kouki, who just doesn’t have as much stamina he does, so that long rally of over 50 shots really took a toll on him. This gave Ryo the opportunity to catch up and even up the score.

Although Kouki was the one to have won the match, some could argue Ryo was the one who had a “stronger” finish. Had he not smashed that birdie out of bounds, he would have won the match, which really ate Kouki up inside. But despite his efforts in the end it was Yoshimura Takuya got the 4th in the ranking, and Kouki finished 5th, just short of his goal. As for Ryo, despite finally finding his groove, he ended up finishing 13th out of 16.

In the end, none of the first years made the cut for the singles tournament, but for the doubles, the twins were the only one of the lot to have made it into the lineup.

The match aside, the best part of the episode was finally getting the chance to get to know Kouki’s character.

It was great to see more sides to him! From the cute to his ‘uglier’ side come out when pushed into a corner of a competition. It hurt his pride to be challenged by Ryo, a player who skill lacks experience and needs to polish up his skills, but has ridiculously good stamina (this is where we finally got to see what the coach meant by good legs). He was so salty about it, he didn’t shake hands and went straight home instead of cleaning up. But what was great to see was that he didn’t hang onto it for it to become a source of resentment against Ryo. He acknowledge his loss, reflected on it, and moved on.

The best part of the episode for me was when the opportunity came for Shouhei to help break down the wall Kouki has up around him. A lucky encounter of Kouki visiting Shouhei’s family restaurant gave them the opportunity to talk and get to know each other between just the two of them, which also gave us further insight to why Kouki is the way he is. And it was nice to see because, despite the fact Kouki comes off as someone who’d prefer to be a lone-wolf, you can tell he isn’t opposed to having company either. We saw how he was comfortable enough with Shouhei to explain about his family situation when he was asked about why he was all alone. He even knew how to poke some fun with him, which was also nice to see!

But the biggest thing to take away from this opportunity was that Shouhei to make the most of the alone time he had with Kouki. Up until now, since Kouki would imeaditely take off on his own after practice is over, they would miss out on the chances to converse with one another. Through that, Shouhei gently encouraged Kouki that it wouldn’t hurt a ‘lone wolf’ to have some friends/allies, and it looked like, we saw Kouki to start taking his first small steps of getting closer of making the effort to do just that.

Next week, much to my delight it looks like the twins are going to get a chance in the spotlight. We were given a quick glimpse of their room today, where we saw they looked to have previously played baseball before picking up tennis. I’m excited to see how they transitioned to it and finally get to know to their their characters after they have been sort of glossed over until now!


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