Congratulations, Aoi! You finally figured out what “kill it and kick it means”. But that doesn’t mean you’re the big kid on the block yet. That’s just one of the many basic maneuvers you are going to need to figure out. And you don’t have the luxury of learning it at your own pace. Your team is going to keep getting frustrated with you if things keep developing this way. And honestly? I can’t blame them. One moment you pull off a move or make a comment that makes you seem incredibly reliable, and then the next moment you’re fumbling around like a deer in the headlights. One trick pony-ing isn’t going to help you succeed here.
Genuinely my favorite line in this entire episode was when Aoi commented that “Every training drill has a purpose”. Like gee! You don’t say! Are the coaches really just telling you cryptic things and putting you in some insane situations just for kicks and giggles? Honestly, that line was so funny, because it is something that Aoi hadn’t previously experienced. When he was a younger kid, he was ostracized enough where he never really got to learn with the other players or how teamwork works. Then, when he got up to high school, he had a team that just focused on getting him the ball rather than working on the basics. He really is…. starting at square one, so I can just imagine how frustrating it must be for more experienced players to try and work around that handicap.
I’m glad that Togashi was able to help him during this episode even if his methods were a little more intense. But honestly, sometimes that’s what you need to get through to someone like Aoi. And I really like the implementation of the flashback with coach Fukuda. You don’t fully learn something if someone lays out the answer for you. Sure it will help you in the moment, but coming to that realization on your own will help you never forget. It’s hard and it’s difficult to not grasp something, but that “Aha!” moment is incredibly valuable. I actually think it was really funny when Aoi wasn’t getting what Togashi was saying, so he was just like, “I will just surprise him. Haha he won’t see it coming and I won’t look like a fool anymore!” and then Togashi does a brilliant kill and kick to the light post. Some things just become second nature once you get a grip on them… but the first step is to actually get a grip on them.
And it all paid off during the 4 on 4 drill! It helped others to become more aware of what was happening on the field. Rather than the selfish response of “I will make this score! I will drive it all the way down the field” they needed to have good field awareness and passing basics. Getting the ball to where you want it to go is super important, because it allows those spit second plays. And killing the ball quickly makes it so you don’t have to spend time revving up again. That’s why it’s important to know where you want the ball to go before you even stop it. You need to be aware of what is happening so you can make your next move.
But again, that is only step one to learning all of this and that becomes painfully obvious when the B team takes on the A team. Now earlier on in the episode, we see a High School team take on the A team and get absolutely demolished, showing that this truly isn’t High School soccer. But in addition to this, the newbies on the A team, like Yuuma, are also struggling. It was a really great way to indicate just how much more advanced the A team is in comparison to other teams. Their level of cohesion is incredible. So the next drill becomes 11 v 21 starting off with the A team having the player advantage. And naturally, it makes sense that everyone is overwhelmed when going up a team with so many players. It’s easy to justify the points scored with “Oh, they just had 10 more players than we did. Of course they would overtake us”. But then comes the switch. Even with the B team taking the advantage, they are still getting trounced by the A team players. The strategy involved is over the roof! Now the B team is struggling because there are too many of them on the field… they don’t know what to do.
So when Aoi declares that they just need to go back to the basics and play soccer, everyone is on board because they agree with that approach. The biggest downside is that Aoi doesn’t actually know what all the basics are. He understands one basic thing, but doesn’t quite realize that there are more that he’s unaware of. He’s truly in the unfortunate position of not knowing what he doesn’t know and that is kicking his ass unfortunately. So, with that I am curious to know how he reaches the conclusion about why Kuroda and Asari were so mad at him. I have my own thoughts, primarily because they were doing some basic things by yelling his name and Aoi took it at face value and Kuroda even pointed away from him, but they still got the ball back. Aoi…. good luck figuring this one out. Your inability to understand the basics and what’s going on on the field is really… really bad.