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.
This week we finally get to learn who the stone-faced girl is in Tsukamoto’s class. Is she friend or is she foe? Let’s dive in!
Inochi Kakete Boku wa Ikitain Desu (命かけて僕は生きたいんです)
Before the theme song begins, we see Tsukamoto running as the mysterious girl watches out the window (Tsukamoto is always running!). As soon as the introduction ends, we see Tsukamoto shouting directly to the girl, “Excuse me!”. This is where we finally learn her name, Ubukata Chikako. Tsukamoto presses Ubukata to help with Maintenance Committee duties, since she’s supposed to, but instead she always goes home. Her friends laugh and say they’re impressed that Tsukamoto has the guts to talk to Ubukata, as most guys seem to be afraid of her. Ubukata tells Tsukamoto that she has to go take care of her sick grandmother, an obvious lie. What she obviously means is ‘I don’t have time to waste on a loser like Tsukamoto!’.
After Ubukata leaves, Tsukamoto is stuck cleaning with a couple of classmates who are making a bigger mess than the one they started with. He pleads for them to take it seriously, but they continue playing broom baseball.
The next morning, Ubukata sees Tsukamoto running laps outside the school. At practice, Kazama performs well and Tsukamoto is stuck running laps. This cycle continues for several days – each time Ubukata sees Tsukamoto running laps both in the morning and in the evening, she becomes annoyed – why is he doing this? It isn’t until several days later, when Kazama enters late in the class and graciously removes his shirt for his classmates, that Ubukata thinks she’s figured out Tsukamoto. She thinks that Tsukamoto wants to be just like Kazama. She decides to break the hard truth of reality to him. While she’s deciding the best way to call him an idiot and a fool, she remembers moments of her past when she was bright-eyed and hopeful.
The next evening, as Tsukamoto runs laps in the rain, Ubukata stops him and tells him that he is living his life wrong. “You’re the laughingstock of the entire class! You’ll never become Kazama!”. She tells him to give up for his own good. Tsukamoto replies amicably, thanking her and promising to try even harder. Ubukata is shocked. She doesn’t know why Tsukamoto didn’t get her message and she’s mad.
As she’s leaving school the next day, she happens to run into the first-year Seiseki players who are taking a break after running laps. She overhears that Tsukamoto has been late to practice every day because of Maintenance Committee and that he has to run punishment laps every morning. Ubukata demands to know where Tsukamoto is and goes out to find him running laps in the rain. When she finds him she begins another tirade. Tsukamoto tells her that this is the only thing he can do. He may be ordinary but he knows who he is and that’s why he “wants to put his life on the line to live”. Something about Tsukamoto’s heartfelt drive moved her heart. She remembers why she gave up, and you can see the spark of life returning to her eyes.
Soccer practice is going well and while Mizuki and the team manager try to decide who will be on the roster, Kurusu practices with Tsukamoto. Kurusu makes fun of Tsukamoto and tells him he’ll need ten years of practice to catch up. The rest of the players rib Kurusu, saying ‘way to beat the beginner’. Tsukamoto asks him how to learn and Kurusu tells him to stop being so gullible. Ubukata watches the practice from the fence.
The next day, Ubukata seems changed. She starts the day by teasing Tsukamoto, but not maliciously. This seems to make Yoshida from the Judo Club jealous, and at intramural PE he confronts Tsukamoto. Tsukamoto comes to PE in his soccer jumper since he lost his PE one, and Yoshida takes this as a sign of Tsukamoto being a show-off. He challenges Tsukamoto to a one-on-one soccer match and he relies on his brute strength to keep the ball. Tsukamoto surprises everyone though, proving his worth on the field and in his classmates’ eyes. Despite being a “shrimp”, Tsukamoto has improved and he eventually wins against Yoshida!
At the conclusion of this episode, two amazing things happen:
Oh, and Ubukata smiles.
There are some really great lines in this episode from Kazama, but I left them for you to discover. This episode has a few more serious notes and several more character introductions. The cast of DAYS is extensive and we’ll make a helpful guide later on in the season to explain who is who! It’s really fun to watch the soccer bouts in this series and I hope we get to see more matches in the next few episodes.
Until next time!