Oh boy, oh boy… The stakes have certainly risen and the tension among the team is higher than it’s ever been. And… while it would be easier to blame it all on one individual, there’s a lot more elements at play. But I’ll be honest, I’ve definitely reached the point where I just can’t wait for a resolution to his current predicament. 

The question of “Why are Kuroda and Asari mad at Ashito?” is still very prevalent in this episode. In fact, it’s all that Ashito can think about to the point where he gets another person mad at him. But all across the board in this episode, there are words said by multiple characters that definitely… would have been better kept to themselves. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up with a fist fight before we reached an actual conclusion. At this point, I don’t know if anyone is ‘in the right’, but there does need to be more communication between all the players, not just those that are actively fighting. I still haven’t forgotten about Togashi’s comment about the promoted players. 

I am actually pretty happy that Aoi decided to talk to Kuroda and Asari about what made them mad. I don’t think that he went about it in the best way, but letting it sit any longer would cause quite a bit of problems. Definitely for Asari since he has been stewing in his hatred of Ashito for quite a while… arguably, he’s been stewing in it long before the 11 v 21 match. I was really worried when Ashito started drawing on the board. For one it’s impressive that he still remembers all of the locations of all the players well enough to draw it all out on the board. I really wouldn’t be surprised if there is a little bit of jealousy at play here as well. Field awareness is such a big part of the game, so his bird’s eye view is something to be desired. But the moment Kuroda offered to entertain him, it was pretty clear that it was not going to be in good faith. Not that I blame him. I too, would like to know what Ashito was thinking during that time. And what was he thinking? “How do I score?” That mindset is pretty annoying to be around! And I understand that he is a forward and that it’s his job to make goals, but are there not other forward positions? And even if it is his job to make goals, I don’t think they would be mad about just that… but rather his attitude about it. Ashito… I know you’re improving, but please, I am begging, be considerate of your fellow teammates. 

Not that Asari is totally in the clear. Perhaps on the field and in that moment there wasn’t anything bad that Kuroda or Asari were doing on the field, but words said during this episode would have been better kept as thoughts. I’m glad that all the promoted kids didn’t immediately side with Asari. Shout out to both Kuroda and Ohtomo for calling him out on it. Every person worked hard to get on this team. The tryout kids gave their all during them. Togashi, was an exceptional player as well (was he aiming for the Youth League? Who knows, but he deserves his spot) and even all the promoted kids worked incredibly hard to get to where they are now. Saying that Ashito robbed the others of a spot is really harsh. And I don’t doubt that those who didn’t make it are good, sometimes there are only so many open positions, that if you fall below the threshold… it’s a real bummer. 

And while I’m in the camp that Asari has gone a little too far and hasn’t been the nicest person throughout these episodes. I’m not mad at him for feeling the way that he does towards Ashito. From his perspective, he’s seen a lot of people push to their limits to become good players only to be declined along the way. And while Ashito has made very good plays, the more time he spends with him, the more he feels that Ashito is completely inexperienced with soccer. He’s probably looking at Ashito like, “How on earth, does someone who doesn’t even understand the basics, or even simple teamwork end up getting on this team, when there are so many others that deserve this position?” And if Ashito was not the main character that we’ve been following around, I’d probably agree with that! I really want the two of them to get along and improve for the purpose of making this team phenomenal. 

Thankfully, Asari and Kuroda are not the only ones that Ashito has ruffled feathers with. He’s also made Hana very upset, which is what I believe is going to help him get through this roadblock. Hana fans, how are we doing? I mean, she was just trying to help him and he made her cry. The whole situation really could have been handled better. But based on this development for her – I wonder if the resolution is going to be both “It’s important not to solely have the ‘me! me! me!’ attitude, but also understanding those who are on your side is valuable as well.” I think Ashito has really been trapped in a ‘me vs everyone else’ mindset that it’s been very harmful. It’s not like everyone is looking at him trying to start a fight. Tachibana and Ohtomo seem to be getting along with the promoted players just fine, but there is just something about Ashito that is rubbing everyone the wrong way. 

Ashito has definitely grown to start incorporating more of a team mindset, but it’s still in a state of “how can I use my team, to get everything back to me”. Improvement that he’s considering them, but he has a little bit more work to get where he needs to go. Hopefully the high stakes that Nozomi has imposed will help him get his act together. Otherwise, I would actually be curious to see what happens if he does have to sit and observe for 3 months! That would be pretty interesting!


I live up to my username, but I hope we can be friends!