Aoi’s entire world has come crashing down in just a matter of minutes. While I feel bad that he was led on for such a long time I do think that it’s a truth that he needs to hear. I’m still trying to wrap my head around coach Fukuda’s reasons for having Aoi change positions, but it does make sense to have him experience new positions rather than just being a forward.
I know they’ve said multiple times that Esperion is not a soccer school and I definitely don’t expect it to be, but there are definitely times where Aoi treats it as such. In last week’s episode he right out says, “Right, I am learning to play soccer”, and arguably if he was joining a team of this caliber he should have already known how to play! Even though he’s a self-proclaimed fan, his view of the game is incredibly narrow and individual focused. Even though he’s learned about the triangle, we haven’t seen his consideration for mid or back field players which I think is crucial for understanding the whole game. Even with his ‘crow’s eye’ perspective it doesn’t really consider the players in the back, just in the front to help him get the goal. Which for his purposes as a forward makes sense! But because he has the ability to see the whole field at certain times that… I think this is more suited towards a mid to backfield position. He can see the openings and predict the movement. It makes sense that the position is valuable for turning a game back around. It’s just a big bummer for Aoi.
So much for trying to catch up to Kuribayashi as a forward, but if you think about it perhaps they are working to make the two of them a pair? And even if they aren’t there’s still plenty of competition to be had even if they are in completely different positions. Although, it does seem a little silly to see Aoi go through the entire exercise of “What would you do if you were in his shoes?” only to then be told later that he would never be in those shoes. Maybe I’m wrong and he’ll claw his way back to a forward, but that’s probably going to take a little while before we see that development if we see that development. Oh well, at least we get some more growth out of Aoi regardless of his ending position. For me, that’s what draws me into the series. I enjoy the characters and watching them grow and develop. If things were just going to come easily and naturally without even the hint of struggle I would have swapped for something else by now. If anything, I’m really curious to know what other character is going to help him through this roadblock!!
I’m gonna take a complete left turn here and talk about the animation as well as the OP and ED for this episode. I won’t speak on the music right now because it’s always hard for me to switch, especially when I really enjoyed the first two. That being said, I do enjoy the music for the OP and ED, I just don’t know if I like them better than the first. Visually? I LOVED the opening. It looks so good and shows so much growth for not only Aoi but also the rest of the team. I really like that it makes the Youth team look much more cohesive. Yes, there are struggles in the opening, but it was done so gracefully! It really makes me look forward to the next 12 episodes! The ending is good strictly because they give my girl, Hana, the screen time she deserves, but it really is just a slideshow of her with only a little bit of animation. So all in all, very solid OP and ED. But when it comes to the animation in this episode? Oh… I was not a fan. It was really rough around the edges. Their close-ups were fine as always, but when we zoomed out? Ah… it felt like some of the frames were rushed. And when the OP was as good as it was, it left a lot to be desired. But! Even though this episode wasn’t my favorite for animation, I know that sometimes we do get an episode that feels not as great. So I’m still holding out hope for future episodes.
As always, I thoroughly enjoy watching this series! I can’t wait to see what sort of sulking Aoi will engage in next week. I’m excited to see his development!