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.
We’ve got another game in the preliminaries for the Nationals and Seiseki slide-tackles into action in this week’s review of DAYS Episode 20. Unknown weather conditions and a violent brawl has left Seiseki majorly handicapped. Will the be able to pull through for a win?
Japanese Original Episode Title: 聖蹟をなめるなよ
This week opens with an introduction to the two core players of Keiougawara High School (a mouthful)! We learn that Maru and Kai are the founders of their Boy’s School soccer team, which has proven itself over only two years of existence. They are determined to make history and are going to be the toughest fight for Seiseki if Seiseki wins their match versus Hokutou.
This match…it’s very violent. The weather conditions are murky and rain has torn the field up and created a hazardous mud pit. To top that off, Hokutou seems to be determined to injure the entire star lineup of Seiseki, taking Ooshiba out immediately after his first goal. Things are looking bad as Seiseki struggles to hold onto their lead. This match is also being scouted by Touin, one of the four strongest Tokyo teams. They watch with fascination and precision.
Seiseki realizes that Hokutou is trying to injure everyone and Kimishita just barely misses being kicked in the head. Mizuki grabs Kimishita’s attacker and drags him to the ground. There is sincere anger in Mizuki’s eyes. He’s given his second yellow card by the ref, which suspends him from playing in the next match – but Touin’s scouts leave after they see Mizuki’s rage. They call the match for Seiseki, and shortly after, Seiseki wins.
After the match is over, the reality of the situation sinks in. Ooshiba is injured, Kazama is injured, and Mizuki is suspended. The three arrows of Seiseki are quivered and it will be up to the rookies to face off against Keiou. Ooshiba threatens Tsukamoto, calling him the ‘Superstar of Suck’, but encourages him to own the next match.
Seiseki’s coach feels that it’s his duty to pump the team up before the match versus Keiou, but upon entering the locker room he sees that Usui has already done this. Mizuki and the Coach give their best to Seiseki as they take the field versus Keiou. Anything can happen from this point on as both teams are determined to make history!
Since Kazama’s been injured, he hasn’t had much air time. Outside of some encouragement toward Tsukamoto – the Kazama Watch is on hold until further notice. I know! This is sad, especially for me.
Highlight 2: Keiou’s secret DVD
There’s an amazing and hilarious bit halfway into the episode where Keiou’s captain, Maru, has procured a ‘tactics DVD’ of Seiseki. Kai questions the morality of viewing a tape like this, but eventually succumbs to pressure and agrees to watch it. I expected the video to show secret Seiseki strategies, but it focuses entirely on their manager, Ubukata. Keiou High is an all boys’ school, so they believe that the Manager is the secret weapon. Their reaction to Ubukata’s rebuttal is incredible.
It’s hard to watch this show when you like two teams. Keiou shows two players with huge aspirations and builds a very deep backstory for them. A rags-to-riches tale, Keiou High’s team faces a battle of relevance. They ache for the conceited nature of a star team like Seiseki and hope to make their mark as one of Tokyo’s top teams. If I weren’t so fond of Seiseki, I would consider rooting for Keiou High. This is an interesting difference from previous rivalries, since the viewer is made to feel compassion for one of Seiseki’s rivals.
I’m fairly excited for the match next week. The stage has been set, and this episode does a great job balancing plot and action. The very violent bout with Hokutou is nail-biting and definitely presents a huge obstacle for Seiseki moving forward. As I said above, the way DAYS builds the backstory of Keiou High’s team is a refreshing and a perspective the series has not taken in regards to opposing teams before now. I think this battle will be hard and the victory will be bittersweet, either way.
Tsukamoto is given another chance to shine. Kimishita ends the episode with a sinister and scary look on his face. I think what Seiseki is best at is facing new challenges head first. Since no one knows what to expect from a match that doesn’t feature one of Seiseki’s ‘Three Arrows’, Seiseki may even have an advantage. Keiou High is hungry as well, so I’m looking forward to a full round of action next episode. Remember the stakes: If Seiseki loses, the third years are forced to retire! Does Seiseki stand a chance without Mizuki, Kazama and Ooshiba? Well? Do they??
Don’t forget to check the rest of our weekly episodic reviews!
NEXT TIME: Isn’t Soccer a Blast