This week was probably the weakest episode so far. There were two things I was anticipating to see, the team’s participation in the tournament, and to learn more about the twins. Much to my dismay, not only did they show us the results (Team Yokohama Minato dominating win) right off the bat, but they mostly glossed over the entire event. The only match we actually got to see were the twin’s VS Okazaki/Arimura of Hojo High. And sadly, even the presentation for that was was rather underwhelming.
The main problem with the twin’s match presentation were the recycled footage instead of perhaps offering a different perspective/angle so it wouldn’t feel as redundant. Also didn’t help that we’d STILL see Taichi on the ground during the entire volley battle– I mean, he can’t be on the floor the entire time! And it wasn’t like he hurt himself either! Anyhow, in general the lack of smooth movement in the matches did play a part of watering down the experience. Obviously the animation hasn’t been exactly the smoothest– something I’ve shrugged off up until now in hopes more attention would be put into the tournament matches. But let’s be honest here, the fun of watching any sports anime is often determined by how smoothly the the gameplay itself is animated.
Then comes in the twins’ conflict: Aoji is the type who can’t handle the pressure when they start getting overwhelmed by their opponents. He gets sloppy when he starts playing too hard, and it ends up costing them points.
Sadly, this turned out to be my biggest gripe with the episode. And it’s too bad really, because their conflict wasn’t a bad choice by any means, but here’s the root of the problem: Compared to the rest of first years, we don’t know them at all. The lack of attachment to their characters makes it harder to feel bad for Aoji’s struggle of handling pressure in do-or-die moments of the game. The only thing we got was a tiny glimpse of the time when Aoji crumbled under pressure as the pitcher when they had played baseball, but that’s it. And to make matters worse, it was Taichi who told us the rest.
I came into this week with the hopes that learning more about the twins would give me a reason to start caring about them, but in the end, I came out feeling no differently than I did at the start. The twins continue to feel like they are just there for the sake of it, adding absolutely nothing to the story.
It will be interesting to see how Kento/Yusuke’s story will be handled next week in their practice match against Saitama Futaba Academy (5-times Inter-High champions). They are more or less in the same boat as the twins when it comes to the amount of exposure we have gotten of them so far. Not much is known about them, so I would like to see a better presentation of their backstory. Let’s just hope for the best!