This is the longest soccer match I’ve ever seen in DAYS. We’ve been watching this game from all perspectives and in this week’s review, we look at some of the deep, dark secrets of Seiseki’s Vice-Captain, Usui. There’s a lot to catch up on, so read on!
Japanese Original Episode Title: 今は俺が聖蹟のキャプテンだ
Tsukamoto left us with another of his classic cliffhanger shots last week, and we’ve been forced to wait an entire week to learn whether or not that shot went in. I’m here to break the news… it doesn’t. It bounced off of the crossbar and not only is Seiseki disappointed in Tsukamoto, I am as well. Learn to control the ball, Tsukomoto – those shot opportunities don’t come every day! He apologizes after his missed shot and Keiou’s goalie makes a long pass forward. It’s payback time.
Kai and Maruoka, the star forwards for Keiou, push a counter attack and shoot but Seiseki manages to block it. There’s a lot more pressure and Keiou makes shot after shot, but they continue to get blocked by Usui and Inohara. The first half ends and Seiseki is up 1-0. During the locker room pep talk, some of Keiou’s defenders become a bit hostile, and then something clicks for Keiou. Maru and Kai have to score or else…
Seiseki decides to keep the same roster, which shocks many. Remember, they are one man down due to a red card early in the game. The second half begins, 11 players on Keiou and 10 on Seiseki. Keiou starts strong and Maru and Kai realize that if they lose they DO have something to lose. They keep the pressure on Seiseki and despite the team’s best efforts, Keiou High finally scores. They tie the game 1 -1 and Maru fulfills his promise that he will score a goal.
After this goal, Keiou immediately grabs the ball again and Indou begins to tell Mizuki of all the thoughts going on with Seiseki’s players. After Usui defends another push on the goal, Seiseki’s team begins to yell at each other. Usui forces everyone to close their eyes and breathe. After walking them through a mini peptalk, Seiseki seems to refocus. Coach talks about how cool Usui is and how he gave Mizuki the captain position after Usui’s recommendation – but maybe Usui is just a better actor than the team realizes.
Indou comments that Mizuki is a jackass. That made me laugh a bit.
Usui grabs the ball and counter-attacks. He pushes forward and way out of position. The rest of Seiseki’s team follows suit. They keep pushing – no defenders! It’s a bold play. Usui is beginning to panic, he realizes that he’s just a coward and puts on a cool act, but he can’t stop now. He keeps going and going! He gets surrounded and passes to Tsukamoto. Tsukamoto controls the ball and… is pushed down! There’s a free kick and now it’s up to Kimishita to save the day. Usui is done for now. I won’t spoil the rest – so watch the episode!
Look, of course I thought the Kazama watch was a great idea when I brought it around. Little did I know he would get injured a million episodes ago. He’s been sitting on the bench for several episodes now and there’s just not much you can say about that. I guess we’ll have to bring the Kazama Watch back once Kazama actually DOES something again. My apologies!
Highlight 2: Magic Spray
Keiou has some weird rituals. Kai and Maruoka being the founders have somehow managed to get an entire group of guys to trust what they are saying. Maruoka gives a peptalk while spraying himself in the crotch with what the team calls ‘Magic Spray’. I’m assuming it’s some sort of spray to remove jock itch, but I really have no idea. As he continues to motivate his team, he starts up in tears. He’s freezing himself…in his crotch. I may be missing some sort of significant joke, but this is the most bizarre and hilarious thing to happen in this episode.
Highlight 3: Usui
I’ve commended DAYS for its unique ability to build character backstories. If you look at the series, there’s only 22 episodes and nearly every player and their rivals have had backstories built. This gives a significant motivation to the audience for caring about the characters in the series. Even after delving into specific characters, they tend to return and build the mystery more and reveal more of their history. This episode takes a closer look at Usui and his unique relationship with Mizuki and Seiseki.
Everyone on both sides of the field has to believe in themselves this week. Kai and Maruoka have an entire team depending on them. While it may be a win-win situation if they lose, they can’t afford to. Keiou is bigger than the pair of them. Tsukamoto, Usui, and Kimishita must also learn to believe in themselves if they are to triumph over the odds facing Seiseki. They are the cornerstone of Seiseki now – the new three arrows. Inohara is an incredible goal tender, but the three must rally together in order to score a game-winning goal.
I thought last week’s episode was the best so far. I appreciate the longer matches for sure, but this week had a little bit more down time than last weeks. That’s okay, since I talked above about character building and you can’t build character by constant soccer action. The problem with the slower episode and more breaks between the action is that the excitement and momentum of last week’s episode is somewhat halted. There’s still a lot of great moments in this episode and I don’t think we’ve seen the conclusion of this match, but I got a little greedy for more of the kind of show we saw in Episode 21.
The Cost of a Free Kick
A lot rides on this match. Keep in mind if Seiseki loses, all of our favorite third-year players are done! They are forced to retire. This is all they have left. Keiou High has proven to be a formidable team. We’re halfway through the second half and Seiseki is down one man. Will Seiseki win? I’m not even certain myself.
NEXT TIME: I’m a Member of Seiseki’s Soccer Team, Too
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