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.
The tension is high this week as the final match of the Inter High qualifiers continues. Last week, Mizuki sent his telepathic message of encouragement to Tsukamoto as he scored the first goal of the match, and this week opens with a recap of that message.
So, Seiseki is in the lead – but Indou (Saku High’s captain) doesn’t seem to mind. He’s laughing maniacally. Apparently, he believes this match is all going according to plan. If he had a villainous mustache, he’d be twirling it in a sinister way. Indou believes that Mizuki can’t carry Seiseki for the entire match and has a strategy to deal with it. Tsukamoto recalls Indou saying at the futsol pickup that he wins no matter what. What does Indou have up his sleeve?
A woman shows up in the audience. We haven’t seen her before, but some of the crowd seems shocked by her appearance. She whispers “Good Luck, Mizuki-kun”, but we don’t see her again during this episode. More mysteries to our favorite high school soccer team. After next kickoff, Kazama is set to mark Indou. He playfully suggests he’s going to gather some notes from shadowing Indou, but he may have bitten off more than he can chew. Indou is an unstoppable force, and despite what the mysterious man in sunglasses said about Kazama’s soccer genius, Indou scores a goal in mere moments. Kazama seems shocked and replays how it happened in his head. Indou’s speed, technique and decision making is second to none. Indou tells Kazama he’s got potential and to face him again in a few years. Kazama is shell-shocked and has some more flashbacks to his childhood. A woman tells him that she can’t take Kazama with her. “You’re a strong boy, Jin”. Kazama notes he hasn’t grown since that point in time and seems frustrated. The cheers of support from his team seems to annoy him even more, but eventually Kazama breaks through his funk. “I will never give up”. He blocks a shot at goal with his face and the first half ends.
During halftime, Kazama reveals that he has a nosebleed which won’t stop. Tsukamoto starts crying, but it’s because he’s overwhelmed by how hard his team is fighting and by his desire to help. Ooshiba headbutts him for moral support. In Saku High’s locker room, Indou and Narukami argue over passes. Indou agrees he’ll pass to Narukami and our favorite egoist settles down. Indou suspects Seiseki will pull back and play defensively and assures his team that the win will come easily now. Meanwhile, in Seiseki’s locker room, Kimishita decides to pick a fight with his mortal enemy Ooshiba. Apparently Ooshiba is known for his lack of care and dedication, and Kimishita hits his pride hard. I believe this was intentional because as they head back to the field, Ooshiba seems to have a fire set under him. The second half begins and Seiseki is on the offensive! It’s not like Indou predicted at all! To top it off, Ooshiba is covering his teammates. He’s conflicted believing that a shooter should shoot, but sees merit due to a certain teammate (Tsukamoto) running his heart out in the past and trying to cover for his team. Though Ooshiba is near exhaustion, he fights with purpose! Seiseki is a team worth doing this for! Ooshiba attempts to headbutt the ball into Saku High’s goal, but misses. He collapses from exhaustion onto the grown. “I’ve drained all of my reserves, I’m counting on you Tsukamoto”. Our hero, #17, is substituted in for Ooshiba. Roll credits.
This has been the longest soccer match. If you recall, I wished for a full length game and it seems my wish has come true. While there are some minor breaks for story, we’ve had some non-stop soccer action the past few episodes and next week it looks like we’re going to to see whether the fire set by his teammates has created a new, more powerful Tsukamoto. I’m pretty eager to see if he steps up and makes an amazing match. The score is tied and Seiseki is pretty exhausted…Will Tsukamoto be the trump card?
We’re on the edge of the bleacher, here!