They are really hyping up this Musashino vs Esperion match and I just really want them to play! Please take all this frustration and fighting out on the field because this build-up is killing me! I’m so stressed and I want Aoi, Tachibana, and Ohtomo specifically to take Kaneda down. The rest of Musashino seems very respectable and a good team to play against, but hooo Kaneda has built up an attitude that doesn’t work well with a team sport.
This episode had a lot of little pieces floating around, all of which need a resolution. The biggest ongoing issue is Tachibana and his current feelings towards being a forward. He doesn’t believe himself to be a valuable asset to the team because he’s not able to score goals with such vigor and confidence that Yoshitsune, Aoi, and Kaneda can. And in recognizing this, he continually downplays his abilities because he can’t be like them, without realizing that a forward does not need to be the most aggressive “I’m always going to get the score” type player. As a result, I really enjoyed the progression in this episode! We still have maybe one or two more episodes before he comes around to his own abilities, but I’m glad that he was able to go to the Musashino game, interact with Kaneda, and hear the words from the sports journalist about how thankful the remaining players of Musashino are to him.
Overall, I really enjoyed the little pieces that we got throughout the episode. I like the first (and really only) interaction between Satake and Tachibana. Initially, I thought Satake was going to be a family member or someone that Tachibana would be really afraid of, but upon seeing their interaction it didn’t seem like there was any bad blood between them. If anything, it seems like Tachibana is just worried about letting his old coach down. But at the same time, Satake makes the comment that struggling isn’t necessarily a sign of weakness, but more of a sign that one is being challenged and hopefully will grow from it. It’s just really hard to come to terms with because it’s hard to deal with! During the game we also get to see Satake’s coaching style, which focuses very heavily on teamwork and taking risks. There are things that the other team will do that will make you nervous and there are things that you know you lack in or that they are better at, but if you discredit yourself before the game even starts, you don’t have a fighting chance. Take the chances and work together. The intense press playstyle is great for that! It makes the other team nervous early on, allowing your team to take control.
Of course that works for 90% of the team, but naturally Kaneda is a problem. To me, Kaneda seems to be the type of player that Aoi could have turned into. Just “Me, Me, Me” and “All of you are useless if you can’t give me what I want.” He’s a loose cannon, a wild card that doesn’t fit into the game. But at the same time, this aggressive playstyle is helping them win. He’s not a team player and instead just makes enemies wherever he goes. Which then, of course leads into how Tachibana is much different. Tachibana is not an aggressive player. He doesn’t see himself as existing just to get all the goals and glory. Instead, it seems like he views himself as one component in the puzzle. Personally, I see him as a very good, consistent, reliable player. Maybe he doesn’t always get the score or maybe he’s a decoy up front who can keep up with the other players, either way he’s very good at supporting the team while he is on the field. And I think that is really shown in the way that his old teammates think of him. They are all incredibly thankful to him, showing that there is something that he does that raises everyone up rather than putting them down. He doesn’t need to be Kaneda, Aoi, or Yoshitsune. He just needs to play as Tachibana.
Which is why I loved that he spent the whole episode telling people that he asked not to play in the Musashino match and yet coach Nozomi puts him in anyways. Woo!! Tachibana gets to play against Musashino anyways, which I think is incredibly important after this week’s episode. Also, thank you Nozomi for saying that this formation is the best for the team. It was very much needed.
I realize that I’ve just been rambling about Tachibana for this whole post, but there really was so much content that was covered in this episode. We have the little things like Anri giving Togashi the lunch box intended for Aoi. Or some bigger points that will come in later like Asari and Kuroda returning to the B team or Takeshima and Togashi’s fight. And of course, Hana is here and continuing to be so lovely throughout the season! There’s just so much to take in and look forward to, I can’t wait to see what next week will bring us!!