We finally get to see Ryo and Shouhei working together in preparation in hopes to make the cut for the doubles lineup. And thanks to Kyouki’s suggestion, their team will be called: Mizukaki, which hilariously means webbed-feet! However their partnership has taken a turn for the worst when Shouhei realizes that Ryo has outpaced him in his growth, leading to an emotional outburst that caught everyone off-guard.
We always have known Shouhei to be an emotional guy, but this was the first time we really saw him just fall apart. He likes to project himself as confident and is always ready to give a helping hand. But as soon as he identifies himself as the the weak-link of holding people back, it crushes him. As result, he lashes out in a way where he feels it would be better to step down from his role in order for his partner or whoever else he’s working with to be paired up with someone else better. Of course making this decision on his own is pretty selfish on his part, as it would be wiser to discuss such matters to see if they can find a solution instead of concluding it’s impossible. But at the same time, it’s terribly ironic how we later learn that Shouhei enjoys badminton is because it’s the one thing he feels like he can be free and selfish for an exchange. In truth, he didn’t actually want to step down, but he was just conflicted over what was the right thing to do. But instead of talking with Ryo about it, Shouhei actively sought to avoid the subject, even going as far as running away from him. Kyouki had even arranged things so that the two would be alone to have that conversation, but in the end, it took concerning him at the roof-top to do it.
Both Kyouki and the twins both played a crucial role of helping Shouhei walk through his emotions. Kyouki calling him out on his cowardliness and the twins finally pointing out the details of why Shouhei’s and Ryo’s partnership were in shambles. For starters, it wasn’t just Shouhei being the weak-link and the grief of realizing he had fallen behind Ryo, it was also on Ryo for not trusting him enough and feels he needs to babysit him. Of course hearing that confused Ryo because it wasn’t that he didn’t trust Shouhei, it’s just that his interpretation of ‘supporting’ his teammate was to go hardcore like Kento did for Yuusuke. And when he realized that, he was so embarrassed with himself, it was actually pretty cute. After-all, he was just following what his idol was doing, thinking that was the way to go about playing doubles.
Once Shouhei was able to communicate his feelings properly, Ryo made it clear to him that he really wants to be partners with him– so much so he made it sound like a freaking confession of love (which Akira ended up doing when he burst into tears, I actually burst out laughing from the cheesiness of that). What’s also good is that Ryo is interested in Shouhei’s playstyle, so he doesn’t mind adapting to it. If anything, it may come down to the two merging their signs into one– after all need need to be in sync with each other.
Team Mizukaki conflict aside, it was nice to actually see the boys interact with the girls who kind of just been dedicated fans, devoted enough to be watching their practices, even during training camp. I did feel bad for Ayumi who had mustered up the courage to ask Kyouki out on a date to watch the fireworks together, so I am glad that Ryo had actually had the tact to apologize on behalf of the others. But luckily Ayumi didn’t actually mind since she was nervous and at loss of what to talk about if it were just going to be her and Kyouki. However Kyouki did give her a number of cold-shoulder moments, some understandable and others not so much.
As mentioned earlier, it was great to Kyouki care enough about the team to try and resolve the conflict between Shouhei and Ryo, especially when we know this is something that he wouldn’t have stuck his nose into before. It was also great to see that Ayumi and the girls understood how important it was for that to happen, and cooperated with them. And thanks to spending time together at the festival, we can see how the girls have gotten closer to the boys, and are now comfortable and close enough to each other to visit them right on the court than just watching from afar. But that step forward in their relationship might have not happened had Shouhei and Akira called Kyouki out for his rudeness and lack of tact to not acknowledge that Ayumi had dressed up for their date. Of course while it would have been better for Kyouki to figure that out himself, honestly he probably wouldn’t have or at least was too shy to do it, so he definitely needed someone to give him that nudge.
Next time we’re finally jumping into the Newbie Tournament! I was pretty excited for it… until we saw the preview showing off Kyouki VS Ryo. But I get the feeling that’s probably the only match we’re going to see…
But sadly, this will be my final entry on Love All Play. As much as I like the show, I’m not nearly as invested in it enough to continue its coverage into the summer season. It’s been something lingering on my mind for the past few weeks now, but I was just waiting for confirmation of whether this was going to be a split cour or not (since it would’ve kind of defeated the point of dropping it if there was only one or two episodes left for a split cour situation).
Love All Play is certainly far from perfect, but despite the animation woes and other problems I have with it, I really do enjoy this series! So even though I will no longer be covering it, I will continue to watch it going forward. I really liked that the first half of the season focused on Ryo’s growth as a player, and I appreciated that he didn’t magically make the regulars lineup right off the bat. It is a shame however that the animation is just not up to par to what you’d expect from a sports series nowadays, and I think most of us can agree that the animation of the game that plays a crucial role in whether people are willing to stick around and watch the show (especially when the characters leaves more to be desired).
So hopefully the second half of the season will be better than the first. Ideally, it would be good if they were only trying to save their resources for the more important games now that the training camp is over and first years (apart from Akira) have improved enough to make the lineup!
Coverage Status: Dropped
Current Rating: 6/10 – Lots of room for improvements, and hopefully we will see it in the second half!