This newbie game definitely hit Aoi in the ego… not that I’m complaining, I’m fully in the camp that thinks he needed to get knocked down a few pegs. Or rather, just gain a sense of awareness that even though he’s good he’s not a miracle.

I get why some of the other players are so rude to him, though. Is it a little much? Yeah, but I understand their frustrations. He’s come in acting like a hot shot, and then once they get on the field he makes one good move and then the rest of the time is more of a hindrance than a help. They spent years honing their skills and he’s acting like a newborn puppy on the field. And what gets me the most, is that he doesn’t understand why all of this is happening. I’m not expecting him to get it right away, but boy these moments are hard to watch. I usually sit on the other side of the screen just begging for that lightbulb to turn on. Ashito, you can do it, but I hope that down the line you gain some reflection skills.  

Really, if I were to title this episode something else, I’d call it “Aoi’s Temper Tantrum”. And I say that with love. If you’re the best at everything you do, then you have nothing to improve. However, if you just blindly start doing things without understanding the point of it it’s still pretty harmful. And honestly, as much of a dick Akustu was in this episode, I think he had a bit of a point. And of all the people to say it to him, it was probably best to be him just to spur Aoi to at least stop sitting around and feeling sorry for himself. I’m glad that Aoi at least decided to ask the coaches what he can do to improve his game. As a non-soccer player, I don’t really understand the advice that was given, but I’m assuming it means to kill the momentum and then get it to where you need to go. But if that’s the case, I think Aoi is a little too hot headed to figure it out. He wants to do everything by himself and prove that he’s the only one needed to score. 

And that really shows throughout this episode off the field. He takes the practices by himself, trying to improve his skill with the help of a stationary wall. And while I do believe that is a good way to practice some basics, there does need to be more elements involved. So Tachibana and Ohtomo coming out to help him was fantastic. At first he pushes them away, but eventually allows them to “practice” with him. And I really wish that they could have talked strategy with him. Someone to say “Hey, Aoi. Let’s talk about how this works and what happened in the game.” But I think that will probably be coming later. Still… I’m a little peeved that he turned the two of them away on the last night of the episode. I get that you were yelled at and you don’t want them to be in trouble, but :///// they are trying to help you. This is also illustrated with his phone call with his mom. He feels the need to bear everything on his own. He keeps charging in with his own ideas, but sometimes he really does just need to take a moment and breathe and understand the larger picture. Shoutout to mom for keeping a cool head. But I really think Aoi should have talked to her. You can talk to your parents even if you haven’t accomplished things (also it’s only been a few days). 

So, with all this, I’m kind of glad for the senpais. They may be a little mean in tone for what they are saying, but they do say true statements. For one, if you can’t keep up they are going to leave you behind. And that could be sitting on the bench or continuing to use him as a decoy / deadweight on the field. Yeah! That realization sucks! But from a grand “Let’s get points” perspective, it makes sense. They aren’t necessarily bullying you (all though I firmly believe there are people who would bully him), it’s just that he’s proven not to be a team player. And his godly plays are now showing up to be miracles rather than consistent things they can rely on. I’m glad he’s learning this early on though rather than at a genuine match. Sorry that you didn’t make A-team, Aoi, but I think things would have been much worse over there if you had made it. Another shoutout to Taira, we don’t know very much about him, but at least he opted to chat with Aoi about his roommate. Aoi, you have resources and people that want to help you, I promise!!

But I will say, this is the exact reason why I’m a little frustrated with Aoi’s attitude at the end of the episode! Togashi offers to help him because he’s going to get burnt out and also, helping your teammate out will probably help out the whole team. But Aoi initially turns him down because he’s “having fun”. I’m sorry but an episode long temper tantrum is not having fun. You’ve acknowledged that you haven’t improved and you’ve been incredibly frustrated these few days. You’re not letting anyone help you and you are getting absolutely destroyed by the words of your teammates. That isn’t fun… it sounds more like you’re trying to cover up for your shortcomings. And it’s very possible that struggling through things and improving is something you consider fun! No doubt about that, but it’s one of those things where I just didn’t see any glimpse of enjoying the learning process. 

I’m looking forward to spending some time with Togashi in the next episode. He’s an interesting character, so I’m curious to know what wisdom he can impart on Aoi. I’m just hoping this youth team can start acting like a team soon!



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