AOKANA -Four Rhythm Across the Blue- – #11
The all-Japan Flying Circus Fall Tournament West-Kyushu Qualifiers begins! Misaki, Asuka, and Mashiro bring everything they learned so far to just one goal: go to the finals. Expect to see their growth as FC players. Ready to be mesmerized with their passion, devotion, and determination. Everybody’s trying really hard. Do you see tears in my eyes? Let me introduce you… this episode’s highlights!
Synopsis: Episode 11
“I Refuse to Lose!”
The team members have completed the special training, aiming to overthrow Saki, the current queen of FC championship. Now, the team is facing at All-Japan Flying Circus Fall Tournament West-Kyushu Qualifiers. In the first round, Mashiro and Rika compete. Both of them bring everything they’ve got. Their heated battel inspires Asuka, Misaki, and the other team members. On the contrary, Irina and Saki stay aloft and uninterested to whatever is going on with the Kunahama team. Because, after all, Irina and Saki are interested in only one thing: Victory. They swear to win the All-Japan so that the whole world recognizes their achievement in perfecting the beautiful and flawless FC playing style.
Two highlights from this round are, the Mashiro vs Rika game and the Misaki vs Saki game. You gotta pay attention to Mashiro and Misaki. They have come so far.
Mashiro vs Rika
Mashiro and Rika are both freshmans at their high schools. They have made a first-year alliance in the previous episode, and they are close friends. This match is a BFF battle.
Thanks to Rika, Mashiro figured out her own play style. Mashiro announces to Rika, “I refuse to lose today. I’m gonna win!” They promise to bring their best performance, no matter which wins at the end.
As the game begins, first, Rika scores the first two points. At this time, Mashiro makes a move, which she named “Operation Tsukemonoishi” – she positions herself over the head of the opponent in order to give pressure, while aiming at the back of the opponent and buoy at the same time. Mashiro hovers closely over Rika, and touches her back to score one point. Quickly, she gets another point from the corner buoy. She scores a total of two points.
It is important to note that Mashiro came up with this tactic all by herself. She has changed her playing style from a fighter type to a speeder type. She took advantage of learning to launch that effective offense. This exemplifies her good analytic skill.
In the following session, Mashiro and Rika go into a seesaw game. Both players scramble for a point after another, which brings them to lock up at tie-break for a while. Mashiro finds a breakthrough and gets a score from a corner buoy. And the game sets; the winner is Mashiro. Finally, at last, Mashiro wins! Her fearless fighting spirit is so moving ~ !
What is “Tsukemonoishi?”
In cooking, vegetables are marinated in salt solution or vinegar. This process is called pickling. Japanese people use a similar process to pickle vegetables, and sometimes place a stone or a heavy block on the veggies. It helps the veggies to soak up liquid and speeds up margination.
Misaki vs Saki
It is the second day of the tournament. Misaki advances to the next round, and faces Saki in the semifinals.
Here is my observation. Both Asuka and Misaki are hard workers, I mean, they can be profiled as the type of player who gets better through practicing. But, I noticed that their motivations are different. Asuka loves the feeling of advancement and doesn’t spare an effort in devoting to pleasant experience. She is more of the genius type. On the other hand, Misaki is the all-rounder type and does pretty well on almost everything, but, she fears being defeated. She devotes herself to overcome those pains.
To tell the truth, I’m like Misaki, so, I root for her a lot. I can share her feelings a lot more than the other characters. So I’m pouring my story here because I wanted to say… Misaki’s fight in this game against Saki is really really impressing!
As the game begins, Saki uses her favorite bird cage tactics to take control over the game. Misaki, on the other hand, uses a strategy to approach Saki from a lower position, stays closer until she can lure Saki into a dogfight.
“it’s tough to lose like other players, but, I know it’s tougher to quit. I go at it, again and again, and again. That’s my kinda FC.”
Misaki works hard to spoil Saki’s birdcage but Saki doesn’t let that happen.
In order to prevent Saki’s attack on her back, Misaki switches to an inverted flying – meaning, she turns her belly up to the sea surface. Misaki makes another attempt to launch a dogfight, then, quickly changes her form to go after Saki’s back. This is actually effective, Misaki’s hand reaches Saki’s back, which earns Misaki one precious point!
At this point, something changes inside Saki’s mind. She has been indifferent and affectless however, Saki seems to be moved by Misaki’s passion. She starts acting on her own, ignoring Irena’s instructions; She engages in a dogfight operation.
Misaki excels in a dogfight, but, Saki has the upper hand. In the end, Saki scores three points, Misaki scores two points. Misaki didn’t win, still though, two points from the current champion speak a lot. Great job, Misaki, you fought extremely well.
Misaki cries in frustration; she’s upset that she lost the match. She doesn’t know, though, those tears prove her deepest desire to win. She went all in to claim for something that she really wants, which means, she advanced to the next level where she found truly her own FC style. In other words, she truly overcame her failure at this point.
Is it just me? It feels that Misaki suffered more than the other two girls, Asuka and Mashiro, because in her case her self-doubt was more serious and lasted for a longer period. Feelings that she went through more than others, and that she probably gained more than anybody else, her tears suddenly feel like my own. Oh what’s this… My eyes are misty all the sudden… Am I crying? I’m just feeling for Misaki, her frustration, and I’m happy for her too.
Next round marks the final and climax of the show – the Asuka vs Saki battle… Get ready to watch how Saki transforms!
Until next time!
©sprite/Kunahama High School Flying Circus Club