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 action finally picks up when Saku High and our Seiseki finally begin the final round of the Inter High qualifiers! This is the first time we get to see Mizuki play in a full match, and with the tension surrounding the game, we’re in for some major excitement.
The episode begins with a recap of last week’s team huddle. We’re reminded of Kazama’s awkwardness – he was shaking when Tsukamoto took his hand. Perhaps he’s carrying an injury or not feeling well. Either way, it’s too late for Tsukamoto to tell Seiseki’s coach of his fears; the match begins. Kimishita begins the match by passing to Kazama – but it looks like Kazama has lost control. We focus on Kazama who has lots of thoughts running through his head. He can’t seem to get his feet traction and can’t make the ball do what he wants. He panics briefly and then suddenly becomes full-on beast mode. He realizes the feeling he’s experiencing is EUPHORIA and he totally owns it. Kazama works the ball up the field and shoots within seconds of the match beginning. While, it doesn’t go in – it scores Seiseki a corner kick and Kazama puts the fear of God into Saku High. He’s testing his limits! The coach makes note of how Kazama hasn’t shown an ounce of his full potential until today. It seems that every match the better the team gets and it’s because of their ability to run (and not wanting to be out performed by Tsukamoto).
Shortly after, the ball is stolen by Saku High #10, Narukami. Narukami pushes the ball all the way to Seiseki’s side and shoots. Luckily, Inohara blocks the ball, but Saku High gets a corner kick. Narukami decides to talk some serious trash to Kazama, who takes note that Narukami is a serious egoist!
Seiseki puts four players on Narukami, and while Kimishita is trying to decide where to pass, Narukami begins to mock him. Kimishita overthinks the situation until he notices Tsukamoto. Tsukamoto’s on the wrong side of the field, in front of Saku High’s team. He cheers Kimishita on.
“Here’s the ball! You can win with this! TAKE MY ENERGY!”
Kimishita tells Tsukamoto to get back on his side, while the rest of the team feels embarrassed. Kazama starts laughing and Seiseki begins to loosen up. Kazama tells the team to just play the soccer they want to play and Kimishita reminds Tsukamoto to go back up field. He promises Tsukamoto that if he goes back to Seiseki’s side, that he’ll get the ball over to where his voice can cheer the team on.
Our side has its own monster.
Mizuki becomes the center of attention as Kimishita throws the ball to him. A quick flashback explains how Mizuki saw potential in only two first-year players – Kazama and one other (who happens to be like a weed) that grows back stronger everytime he fails. Returning to the action, Tsukamoto cheers Mizuki on, as he makes his way up the field. 40 meters out, Mizuki shoots the ball directly at Saku High’s goal! Their goalie blocks it, but it grants Seiseki another corner kick. Kimishita goes to pass the corner, and notices Mizuki hopping up and down like a maniac. Though he thinks it’s too obvious of a play (not to mention the fact that Saku High has three guys guarding Mizuki), he passes to Mizuki anyways. Mizuki does an amazing bicycle kick and shoots for the goal. It’s blocked again, but it’s effective in scaring Saku High’s players.
Your hard work will never betray you.
One of Seiseki’s players mentions to Mizuki that he must be the first time he’s really fired up since it’s been a while since he’s played. Mizuki responds that, no, this is his first time.
While Mizuki is going all out, the coach tells Tsukamoto that Mizuki had a message to give him. “Tell Tsukamoto that the first half of the match is a message I want to get across to him.” Through Mizuki’s actions, Tsukamoto hears a non-verbal message. Practice, work hard, and break yourself. Don’t give up when people laugh at you and don’t listen to them. Your hard work will never betray you.
Mizuki scores a goal! The coach asks if Mizuki got his message across.
Tsukamoto turns and gives an intense expression that we haven’t seen before.
This is a chilling moment – the look of ferocity on Tsukamoto’s face clearly shows something inside of him has changed. He clearly empathizes with Mizuki’s experience and non-verbal message. Tsukamoto is sure to become a force to be reckoned with, not only due to his ability to pump his team up, but if he works hard – he may become better than Mizuki some day. The episode ends after the first goal, so I’m certain we’re in for some crazy back and forth next week. Match episodes are the best and put the very best shonen fights to the test. Everyone can relate when watching a sports anime, since training and believing in yourself is something that many of us can account for. You may never be able to go Super Sayain Level 3, but you can train hard enough to score a goal for your team.
I’m eager to see how serious Tsukamoto can get things done. I’m rooting for Seiseki! Let’s go to the nationals!