We finally have it!! Conversation as to why Asari and Kuroda were mad at Aoi during the previous practice match! And to be honest, none of what they revealed was much of a surprise, but I’m really happy that they decided to include the breakdown through the characters interacting.
Kuroda has easily jumped up in my character rankings during these past two episodes. I appreciate his willingness to have conversations and work with his teammates. Initially, I thought he might be reduced to a lackey type character who just follows in the shadow of others, but truly if it weren’t for him, I think we’d still be in very rocky territory. And as it turns out, he has been trying to help out Aoi in his own way. Comments that he had made (albeit to others) were in some way directed towards Aoi. But, as he said, at the time those words meant nothing to Aoi. He doesn’t understand the fundamentals of soccer and is very focused on the ‘I am’ style of playing. That being said, I think I do like the approach of having Aoi figure this stuff out on his own rather than having coaches or other players spell things out for him. Fukuda’s words of wisdom are proving to be true.
These skills become ingrained with Aoi. He’s honestly a quick learner, which many characters are fast to admit so once something clicks, he’s reliable in execution. Clicking being a very key word though. He will still make very impressive plays from time to time, but with no reflection, he is unable to replicate.
Initially, I really thought this episode was going to be about the new trio that formed between Kuroda, Asari, and Aoi, but I am pleasantly surprised that they were able to fit so much within this episode. In the beginning, there was a big focus on how much of a threat those three were and also the actual breakdown of previous frustrations. But after that, the game keeps on moving. The trio still exists, but over time it becomes less focused on them and once again on Aoi’s bird’s eye abilities. And while some characters are starting to pick up and recognize these abilities (only to be shut down by the photographer :/) it’s still something that people aren’t able to explain. How is Aoi able to predict what everyone on the field is going to do? How is he even aware of where every player on the field is located? I still want him to learn the basics and get put into his place, but I am also incredibly curious in further exploration of this ability.
Outside of the game, I’m also really happy with how everything wrapped up in this episode! Kuroda for the most part has forgiven Aoi and even is willing to sit next to him while eating korean bbq (wow! growth!!). But in addition to that, he also makes Asari apologize for what he had said at the opening ceremony. I was fully expecting characters to no accept the apology but shout out to Tachibana for making Ohtomo and Asari shake hands in friendship. He’s one of the characters that I’m most excited to see more of :). I don’t need everyone to be best friends, but I’m glad that there are a variety of characters on this team that are more willing to work together than to keep pushing against others. If not for Kuroda and Tachibana, I’m sure feelings would have continued to steep among the players, but at least we were able to nip bad blood early on. That being said, there is definitely going to be more drama. I mean, we still have so many more characters to learn about! For instance, I really want to know what beef Togashi has with all the promoted players (I just don’t feel it can be entirely wrapped up yet.). Then there’s Akutsu, Fukuda, Hana, and Kuribayashi! Truly, we are just getting started!
Can you believe that we are already halfway through the series? I’m super excited that they decided to make this a 24-episode season, but I hope there’s even more coming after that!
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(I couldn’t figure out how to fit this in my post, but!) shout out to this episode for giving me so many good screenshots of Aoi’s smile !!
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