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 is a hype-building episode. There’s very little action, but the momentum is steady and it kept me engrossed throughout the episode. Coming off of last week’s win, Seiseki reviews tapes of Sakuragi High’s matches. They learn that they have four star players on their team. Coach calls them the Four Pillars. These Saku High players are: Kondou Rika, their beast-mode goalie. Kisaragi Tarou, the unpenetrable defense and team leader. Indou Karou, the superstar midfielder, and Narukami Shuuji, the top scorer and GRIM REAPER. In addition to these four core players, the rest of Saku High’s team knows exactly where they should be – and plays to their strengths. There seems to be no obvious weakness.
However, Seiseki is strong as well. They have Seiseki’s Three Legendary Arrows on the front lines. Kazama Jin, the speedy and skillful scorer. Ooshiba Kiichi, the steadfast forward. Mizuki Mishahito, the team captain and wild rebel. With the support of the rest of Seiseki’s team, these three legendary arrows should be able to put up a good fight in the upcoming match versus Sakuragi High.
After their review, everyone leaves to rest up before the big game. The team makes sure to yell at Tsukamoto to not run, but REST. They decide to get ramen (add one more to our ramen counter), but Tsukamoto can’t find Kazama. Kazama ends up disappearing alone and gleefully mumbling to himself about how he’s a lucky guy. He tells Sayuri that he’s lucky because he gets to go up against that school. He keeps saying he’s extremely lucky and it’s almost unsettling. This is another one of those Kazama Jin mysteries that hopefully will be resolved before too long.
Tsukamoto goes to visit his mom at the center where she teaches / plays with kids. He asks her if she’ll come home with him like they used to. When they get home, she fixes his jersey and they talk about the upcoming match. The winner of the match will be going to the nationals. Tsukamoto goes to bathe, and his mom reflects on him growing up. She thinks she needs to look out for him. While Tsukamoto is in the bathroom, his phone begins to blow up and his mom fears he’s being bullied. It turns out that he has received twenty text messages from his teammates wishing him luck and telling him to rest. His mom is surprised, but happy by the outcry of encouragement. Tsukamoto catches her, but he laughs and says he’s glad he’s made friends. His mom can tell he’s growing stronger.
There’s a bit of character development that takes place during cuts to the three legendary arrows – but the most interesting part is when the coach visits Kimishita’s shop. He tells Kimishita that tomorrow’s match is actually on him. It’s important he makes the passes! Kimishita tells him to go home, but adds: “Can we add one more to our quiver of three arrows? Not an arrow though more like a glass marble, but if he gets into it he will become a bullet.” Referring, of course, to Tsukamoto. The coach doesn’t respond, but the look suggests he was already considering this.
The next day is game day. Tsukamoto’s mom can’t come because she has work, but it’s no problem for Tsukamoto. Once the team gathers at the stadium, Mizuki and Indou (of Saku High) face off in a boisterous verbal bout of extreme nonsense. Both teams’ coaches apologize to each other for the show of stupidity. As the players enter the stadium, both Tsukamoto and Narakami get stopped by the security guards. “Stop right there, players only”. Narakami seems to have had this happened several times before and Tsukamoto exclaims to the guards, “Don’t you know who he is? He’s one of the star players!”. The guards apologize and let them through and Narakami thanks Tsukamoto as they grasp hands and jump around. “I’ll score the goals today, Tsukamoto!”. “I’ll be cheering you on” Tsukamoto replies. This humorous exchange results in Tsukamoto getting whacked in the head by Ubukata who tells him to stop cheering on his opponents.
The team gathers in the locker room and while they hear some bystanders talk smack in the hallways, they have a great huddle. Mizuki delivers the most serious speech he’s ever given and tells the players to trust themselves and play selfishly. He says it’s the third-years’ responsibility to ensure that the first-years get to go to the Nationals. Mizuki will take the blame if the selfish approach doesn’t work out. He asks Tsukamoto to lead out the huddle in a cheer. SEISEKI FIGHT.
As the team leaves the locker room to enter the field, Tsukamoto wishes several players luck. Good Luck Ooshiba! “I WON’T BE SWITCHED OUT FOR YOU”. Good luck, Kimishita! “I won’t pass to you!”. Good luck Kazama-Kun! “Going to tear it up today…” But for some reason the look on Kazama’s face is unsettling to Tsukamoto. What is Kazama hiding?
The episode ends as the announcer says “Let the match begin!”. Of course… Isn’t that typical!? While no football is played and nothing really happens but pre-match hype, there’s more character development, especially between the three legendary arrows. We learn a few more secrets about Mizuki and Ooshima, and have more mystery pop up surrounding Kazama. I have a prediction about what’s going on with Kazama, but it’s not for me to speculate here. I’m so pumped up for the match next week and I’m hoping we get to see some great game play. It’s sure to be intense and full of drama. Let’s go, Seiseki!