Hana truly is the MVP of this series. Where would we be without her? Heck, where would Aoi be without her? Probably still in Ehime playing his chaotic soccer with only small dreams of going pro. I hope she gets the proper thank you from everyone down the line. Things would be such a mess without her around!
This episode picks up where we left off last week. Aoi is absolutely not taking the news well and has not returned to the dorm. To be honest, I’m not sure how much time has passed from the conversation with Fukuda to the announcement of the A team promotions. And on that note, congrats to Kuroda and Jun for being promoted! Good for them! But that is quickly overshadowed by the next announcement that Nozomi needs to make. Finally the rest of the team knows about Aoi’s position switch and finally realizes why he was both not promoted and also not in attendance with the meeting. So, Ohtomo, Tachibana, Togashi, Kuroda, and reluctantly Jun all head out to find them. But none of them were really successful because really all they needed was a text to Hana and she swoops in and saves the day.
One of the things that I like about Hana is that she is not an expert in anything. She knows what she can do well, but she has mentioned multiple times that she doesn’t really understand a whole lot about soccer. She can make an incredible meal plan, but the intricacies of the game? Nah, that’s not what she’s good at and that’s okay. She’s trying to understand and help. And even when she recognizes that what she’s done isn’t helping Aoi, she still finds a way to get through to him. It’s truly a power move to call his mom and shove the phone in his face! But if she didn’t do that, it’s likely that Aoi would still be a husk of himself.
I don’t think he would have out right quit the team. He mentioned multiple times that because his mom is paying for it, he does not want to let her down. But he wouldn’t have enjoyed it. He would have just stood on the field like a ragdoll taking up space. Even though very little words were exchanged between him and his mom, that simple “You can always come home” really was the impact that he needed to hear. It was a reset for him. Now, at least, he’s willing to put forth some effort and give this whole defender thing a try.
When he returns back, Akutsu decides to play villain against him, but is caught off guard by Aoi’s willingness to ask for help. And to be honest, I really would love an episode seeing all of this from Akutsu’s point of view. He’s mean and has it out for Aoi, but what’s going on in his head? We get a small glimpse of it through the conversation with Kuribayashi in the fact that to accomplish Fukuda’s dream they need someone like Aoi. But! I wanna know more!! There’s so much to unpack and these episodes always have so much to give!
But speaking of Fukuda, he really let Nozomi play the bad guy for such a long time! The conversation by the window to get him fired up??? Dang Fukuda. Nozomi is trying his best, but you really are just letting him take all of the hits until you can drop the bomb on the kid. And now that we get to see some of the conversations about their selections, I get why Nozomi has been so frustrated with Fukuda. Aoi was never let on the team to be a forward, he was just in that role to get him to officially join and to keep him inspired to learn how to play the actual game. But this whole time, Nozomi’s been having to grapple with the fact that he’s going to get really disappointing news. He’s watching this kid get all excited knowing that his world is going to come crashing down. Every second Fukuda lets it go on just makes the crash so much harder in the long run. Nozomi, I was scared of you at first, but you’re a good coach. I’m sorry you were put in a sucky position.
However, things are starting to look up. Well, at the very least Aoi is willing to give this whole defender thing a shot. I will admit that I got a little sarcastic in my watching when Aoi made the comment about being able to see the whole field. Like, wow! who knew that standing in the back could actually let you see what’s happening! But I am excited to see how he will do as a defender. So far the player who is in charge of the defensive line seems like the lazy but reliable type. But he also has Togashi back with him. I can’t wait to see how things will progress in the coming weeks! Let’s go Aoi, you have a lot to learn!