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.
Finally, we’re jumping straight into some DAYS action this week. In last week’s review I had all kinds of questions about Tsukamoto’s potential performance this week – and I’m happy to announce that I am not disappointed.
So, how’d he end up doing? Is Coach gonna keep him on the team? Read on to find out!
If you recall, last week coach gave Tsukamoto an ultimatum. Tsukamoto’s going to give it his all since it’s his last chance – and thanks to some encouragement from Kazama, I think he’s going to aim high. The episode begins straight into the next match versus Ryushin. They’re supposed to have a solid defense and a star first-year goalie, so Seiseki has their work cut out for them. Immediately, Mizuki and Kazama take turns making aggressive shots on the goal. Twenty minutes in and Seiseki is up 2-0, stunning everyone. Ubukata is confused and I don’t blame her. It takes her a moment to realize that the team has just become really good. I can definitely see a different energy this match.
Within that same twenty-minute time span, Seiseki has taken fifteen shots on goal. Anyone who knows soccer knows that this is crazy and that there must be something allowing Seiseki the opportunity to make these shots. Ryushin’s goalie notes that Seiseki’s offense is like an endless wave and that for some reason their defense can’t seem to recover the ball to break Seiseki’s rhythm.
It turns out that the secret recipe this week is Tsukamoto. Instead of being aggressive on offense, he stays back and predicts where the shots are going and returns the rebounds to the other offensive players. There’s a heartfelt flashback describing Tsukamoto’s relationship with his mother and this is most likely what compelled Tsukamoto to make this amazing change.
The match ends with Seiseki winning 4 to 1. Coach comments that Tsukamoto’s weakness seemed to be his kindness – but, boy, was he wrong. It was great to hop right into a match, but by the episode break we’ve got to build some rivalries for next week.
The second half of the episode mainly focuses on the team dynamics of Seikan. Each player finds their Seiseki ‘mirror’ and rivalries form across both teams. There’s a lot of tension that builds between Mizuki and Kimishita especially, during this process. There’s not a lot of action in this part of the episode, but it’s needed to set the pace for next week’s episode.
By the end of the episode, we’re heated and so is Seiseki! The players take the field and Tsukamoto lets out his famous ‘Seiseki Fight!’ – cue the cliffhanger!
Highlight 1: Kazama’s Mirror is Himura!
During the rivalry-building session in this episode, the comic relief is again Kazama. Seikan’s team has a star first player as well and his name is Himura. Himura has long black hair and an ego that goes head to head with Kazama’s. They submit themselves to an incredibly stupid challenge in the sauna and… well – it goes about as well as you’d expect. Lots of laughs here!
Highlight 2: Tsukamoto does something!
We finally get to see Tsukamoto come into his own. During the first half of the episode, he receives some well deserved praise from the spectators. While he still plays off his performance as shoddy, there’s a clear indicator that he’s found his strength. The touching story about the life with his mom is an emotional ‘icing on the cake’ and definitely worth paying attention to. I suspect his new-found skill will play a major role in the next episode.
I’ve finally seen DAYS round the corner of self-criticism to a new display of self-confidence. While some of the characters are now having to face their own personal struggles, our hero has shown that the lesson he’s learned previously can help make him a better player. He’s suffered loss and that loss has granted him special abilities, the most special of all being confidence. If we’re following our hero’s journey chart, Tsukamoto has now faced the ‘abyss’ andhe has been reborn. While I suspect he will go through several more of these dark stages throughout DAYS, this is the first time in sixteen episodes that he actually changed something.
DAYS gave us the action I’ve been asking for plus some nice bits of humor this week. While it tried to accomplish almost too much in a single episode, we got to see the transformation I’ve been wanting since the beginning. The Tsukamoto of that first opening episode is starting to slowly show his true form; this is awesome. The payoff for watching through to this point is definitely worth it. This is just a summer camp and not a tournament, so some of the thrill is dulled by the fact that these games don’t count for anything – but I know all this practice is going to really put a nice shine on Tsukamoto’s performance in the next league game!
Seikan’s star player, Taira, is supposed to be as strong as Indou from Saku High. This worries our favorite team, and with tension in the ranks, next week is going to be a nail biter. Kimishita is the player to watch next episode. Tsukamoto may have to be subbed in, but Kimishita’s performance and cooperation with Mizuki is most likely going to be an essential part of the story. If it isn’t, then I’ll be truly shocked. Coach’s constant swapping the team up is stressful, but I think the team is probably stronger than ever.
Who do you think will get subbed out first? Hopefully it’s not Kazama!
NEXT TIME: I Love This Team!