Episode 20

We finally get to hear the story about Togashi’s beef with the promoted players, and honestly I’m really not sure where I fall! Truthfully, I thought he just didn’t like them because they’ve been with Esperion for such a long time and while that is true, I wasn’t expecting him to have been a trial member. For me, that really amps up the frustrations he has with these promoted players.

Of all the characters for Togashi to have bad blood between, I never would have expected that it would have been Kuroda. I really liked Kuroda earlier in the series because he was someone who was able to break down some barriers and work with other players. Granted, he’s kind of sneaky about it, but it’s not as if he’s being malicious about it. This episode definitely showed that priorities are just different for all the players. The ones that grew up in Esperion are all hyper focused on going pro and at the end of the day, they are going to do what they can to get there. Togashi (and by extension Aoi) hasn’t grown up in this environment. Togashi wants to go pro, but for him going pro focuses on scoring and winning.

Despite all this animosity that we see, I like that younger Togashi is able to recognize that their actions aren’t inherently malicious but also call them out on it. Does he make friends doing this? Absolutely not! But if someone doesn’t say it, how are the others supposed to deeply impact their psyche for the next three and a half years? Even if they don’t change the way that they play the game, now there will be a little voice in their head calling out their nonsense and requiring them to reconsider their methods. That being said, it seems like in the years that Togashi was gone the players haven’t really grown out of the go pro mentality and that’s understandable because Togashi actually left the team only to rejoin later. He wasn’t able to stick around and call people out every time. Instead he went out and played in his own way and was still recruited by the team. Honestly? We should be giving him more credit for his skills. Give! Togashi! The! Spotlight!!

I’m super curious to see how the next episode will play out. Near the end of this episode we see the actual fight between Togashi and Takeshima take place under the bridge (shoutout to the butler hanging on to Togashi for dear life). And in this scene, Togashi deliberately calls out Takeshima for being the one who hasn’t changed in the time that he was gone. I’d love to dive deeper into this and see if that is still the same belief during and after the Musashino match. Additionally, I’d love to see how Kuroda plays into this as well. With Togashi’s comment to Takeshima it implies that Kuroda has grown, but we didn’t get to see much of him in this episode aside from his comment about over training. Heck! Even Ohtomo dragged Asari (who was previously a point of contention) into training with them. But on that note, I really hope the Musashino game comes soon! I just feel that it’s been just out of our reach – please!! I want to see everyone play their hearts out!!

Episode 21

Well, I got what I asked for and now I’m stressed out. We finally get to kick off the Esperion vs Musashino match and things are not looking good for Aoi and the team. Kaneda is so much more of a beast than initially expected… honestly…. I’m scared.

I don’t really have a whole lot of thoughts for this episode beyond the fact that I’m stressed and have no idea how things will play out for our youth team players. Things are still a bit rocky, but all around they have a good line up of players on the field. I agree with Tsukishima that on a fundamental level, the Esperion players are very good and have great skill… but Musashino has someone who can make calls and a player who is going to go for the goal given any shot that he can. Truthfully, Kaneda is very scary. He was scary off the field, but if I were playing against him I’d honestly run off the field. Good for Kuroda for going up against him man on man and good for Togashi for blocking a good number of the goal attempts. 

I really liked the line that Nozomi had: “Stop trying to play soccer on paper”, because it really shows that there’s unknown elements when you actually get out on the field. Players can adjust and play the game correctly, but there are a lot of wild cards that are outside of your control. Yeah! Kuroda has gotten a lot better in the time that he was gone, but we just don’t know how good or how focused on scoring the other team, or rather Kaneda is. Kuroda pulled off the moves expertly, but Kaneda never stopped moving. The moment it left his feet he ran to get it back again and each time I was sitting here with my mouth open!! Technically they weren’t illegal moves, but they weren’t moves that I would have expected from any of the Experion players. Kaneda plays right up to the edge of his abilities and does not let up. At this point, I’m not even sure how Esperion is going to be able to counter him for the remainder of the game!

My only thought is that Togashi is going to have his moment in the spotlight. Sure, he stopped a good deal of scores in the episode, but I want the whole defensive line (Aoi and Takeshima included) to turn this whole game around. Knock Kaneda down a few pegs and really prove to him that he isn’t what Esperion was looking for even if he made it past the tryouts. But… hmmm… that kind of seems like a tall order for now, so right now, I’m just hoping that Aoi and team can pull through the first half of this match without losing too much motivation and drive for the game! 


I live up to my username, but I hope we can be friends!