Resides in Austin, TX (USA). Long time connoisseur of anime and manga - I'm an art director, media critic and eccentric. I love to write, draw and travel.
In last week’s review, I complained about a lack of soccer action. It seems that my complains paid off because this week DAYS isn’t shy about hopping right into the next soccer match. There’s the chance of a massive shake-up on Seiseki’s roster and some of the players aren’t happy about it!
As usual, DAYS kicks off with a recap of the tension from the previous episode. These typically frame the challenges Tsukamoto will face for the next 24 minutes. Usui convinced Tsukamoto to start thinking selfishly and now Tsukamoto is going to try this strategy at the Kagoshima Prefecture Soccer Camp! There are many strong schools that didn’t make it to the finals during the Inter High tournament, and this five-day soccer camp is where they all meet up to hone their skills for the rest of the season. There’s sure to be lots of excitement, as each day Seiseki must face another strong team.
Mizuki makes it clear to the first-years that the roster is not a static item. We’re finally able to see the fire light under Kurusu and his gang, when they hear they have a shot to be on the starting roster. The veteran players aren’t thrilled to hear about the newbies nipping at their heels, but it will most certainly make the entire team stronger. Competition is a good thing and I think we’ll see a lot of players hit their full potential. Since this is just a training camp, it doesn’t determine who will move on to the tournament team. This allows the coach to experiment with the team and see how each player performs with each other.
Tsukamoto’s number one rival is Ooshiba. He’s a strong player with a lot of raw natural talent and it’s clear that he’s not going to give up his spot willingly. He butt-heads with the coach several times throughout the episode and is not pleased that Tsukamoto refuses to cower like he used to.
The first match is Bousou VS Seiseki and just as quickly as it began, they reach the half-time with Seiseki three goals ahead. After half-time, DAYS takes a dramatic turn when the coach pulls out the veteran players and puts in all of the first years. Something doesn’t seem right to Tsukamoto as he’s out on the field and I think we’re going to see the first years forced to work together and build their own strategies, since they can’t rely on the veteran players for support.
Episode 14 is a direct contrast to the humor we saw last week. This episode focuses highly on individual player growth and most specifically in Ooshiba’s relationship with the team.
Highlight 1: What You’re Lacking is a Base Level of Intelligence
Ooshiba ends up begging Kimishita for insight into how he can improve. The two are typically enemies, but Ooshiba feels that Kimishita can lay it on him directly. He asks Kimishita over and over again to tell him what he lacks and when Kimishita finally does, Ooshiba gets a little upset. Essentially, Kimishita tells Ooshiba that he’s too greedy and lacks intelligence, but that greed creates openings for the rest of the team. When Ooshiba is taken out by the coach, he refuses and finally gets a chance to show his worth. There’s a lot of depth here and I’ll explore it a little later on. Be sure to keep an eye out for this scene because it’s a major turning point in how Ooshiba sees himself and the sport.
Highlight 2: I’m Here to Give Him the Opportunity to Fail
With all of the action in the episode, it may be easy to tune out some of the conversations towards the end of the episode. Don’t! Ubukata and Seiseki’s coach have one of the most philosophically resounding discussions I’ve seen in an anime. It’s easily relatable, especially if you’ve found yourself wondering what the point of a teacher is during your own schooling. This scene helped me see educators in a whole new light. Suddenly, my university studies make a lot more sense…
The team has to face a lot of competition. While it’s important to rely on others for support, it’s easy to use them as a crutch. You can’t lift yourself to your full potential without failing first. Only then you can see where you can improve. Each team member must accept their own flaws and how they can translate them into success. If you’re unable to grow on a personal level and see your own strengths, it’s impossible to know how you can support the rest of your team. This expands on last week’s thematic analysis but turns it on its side. While last week the emphasis was on relying on your team for support, this week the emphasis is on knowing the difference between true support versus perceived (using people to hide your faults).
Tsukamoto and Ooshiba, now rivals for the position on the team as a starter, both explore their own flaws from opposing standpoints. Ooshiba is naturally talented, but ignorant. Tsukamoto is a hard worker, but ignorant as well. In order to stay on the starting roster, they’ll need to learn a lot about themselves. The action has picked back up and our heroes are playing soccer again, which is always good! But unlike previous soccer matches, the tension this week isn’t so much against the opposing team, but within Seiseki itself! I’m glad to get to see Kurusu’s squad get a chance to play with Tsukamoto. I wanted to see more of that team play, but maybe next week will give me this opportunity. As always, the subtleties of Kazama’s character are absolutely fantastic, so be sure to keep an eye out for him in the background. He doesn’t say much this episode, but his facial expressions are fantastic.
There’s too much left hanging off the cliff this week! The first-years need to get it together or else they aren’t going to get to play much the rest of the season. I have a few ideas as to how they can get their actions in sync, but Tsukamoto always manages to screw it up last minute. I hope that’s not the case now!
Watch through the episode and let me know your predictions for next week. Do you think Tsukamoto and the other first-years will score a goal or are you leaning towards another tragic moment? I’m scared to find out, honestly!
NEXT TIME: I’m Sure I Can’t Stay At Seiseki Any Longer