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GIANT KILLING – 23

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「#23」

It’s about time the focus shifted to ETU’s offense, with Tsubaki showing everyone that he’s another player wearing the number seven that they should have their eyes on just as much as Kubota. Leading up to that, there was a fair bit of character development on Natsuki’s end, which left me thinking that he was going to be the one to take the spotlight. Because of that, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions when Natsuki didn’t become the egotistical forward that Tatsumi was hoping he would to take his game to the next level, and instead defaulted to the more respectable team player who considers the ball the culmination of the entire team’s effort when it gets to him.

While I realize that Tatsumi probably wanted him to discover that himself, I still question why he didn’t just tell him straight up that he has to both respect the ball and be a bit selfish with it. This is Natsuki we’re talking about after all, who’s overly earnest and wears his heart on his sleeve, meaning these roundabout forms of advice are too much for him to grasp. This is why he’s a player and not a coach, so he can be told what he needs to do and not be wasting time trying to figure it out himself. From an anime perspective, this self-discovery approach does make for some interesting slow motion thoughts and suspense on the field though. Evidently, there isn’t a whole lot of in-depth dialogue between players in the middle of a game, so this series’ way of making focusing on the thoughts running through their minds more than makes up for it. For detailed explanations of what’s actually happening, that of course is left to the coaching staff on the bench.

In terms of the aforementioned roller coaster of emotions, hearing that Tatsumi was preparing to sub Natsuki out had to be the all-time low. There’s been a fair bit of foreshadowing on how he’d be a key difference maker in this game, so the thought of it being a mistake on Tatsumi’s part rained on that parade. In execution, it just paved way to a sudden high when Tsubaki came blazing back to check Kubota and catch everyone by surprise, including Blanc. At the same time, it gave us a glimpse of exactly what Tatsumi’s bigger plan involved — Osaka underestimating their center half’s speed and stamina. The preview made that more obvious than the actual episode, but the faces of Kubota and Hiraga spelled most of that out. Osaka’s unassuming superstar foward looks completely tapped at this point and dying to be subbed out, whereas their captain looks like he’s reaching his limit as well.

Quite frankly, this momentum swing sparked by Tsubaki was made out to be a guaranteed goal once he sent a cross to Natsuki and the latter let it rip right out of the air just like he showed us when he returned. As such, I was amazed at how they kept the suspense going when the shot rung off the crossbar and Natsuki failed to score to redeem himself. Instead, Akasaki looks like he’s going to play hero first by picking up the rebound and catching Osaka’s goaltender Imai off guard with a shot of his own. I’m still can’t believe they withheld whether or not it went in, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an absolutely epic cliffhanger. As suspected, this game is going the distance at five episodes now, making it even more likely that the series will conclude around ETU’s victory after this supposed first goal. We have three more episodes to go.

 

Preview

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September 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm
9 comments »
  • September 6, 2010 at 4:46 pmTDRKZ

    Wahhhh who scored?

  • September 6, 2010 at 5:05 pmMako

    Natsuki’s imagination is quite messed but fun to watch.

    Not many things happened today (yesterday or whenever your watched this episode) and even so the episode was quite enjoyable.

    Natsuki is an idiot, tsubaki a speedy monster and tatsumi works like god (in mysterious ways ahha) so nothing new showed but… tsubaki managed to crush kubotan, natsuki found his resolve to score and tatsumi’s plan is ready to go

    The only thing left is: what a cliff hanger!! what happened did they score, miss or what? well the only thing for sure is that this week will feel a lot longer than usual

  • September 6, 2010 at 10:46 pmNeonuz

    I totally called that Tsubaki would be the one to beat Kubota. Sugie just fails. Seriously. It looks like they’ll be taking him out though, which is unfortunate. I’m actually guessing Akasaki misses. Here’s why, let’s assume that they only are going to get 3 goals. If so:
    One has to be scored by Tsubaki, just has to.
    I really think they gave Natsuki too much build up for him not to score another one.
    Sera has been meaning to score a goal for the longest time now.

    That’s all 3. Now, I actually think that it would be more interesting if Akasaki scores, in which case, I believe that Osaka will score again after ETU’s second goal (from my guess would be Natsuki). That would leave 2 more goals by Sera and Tsubaki respectively, which would give a nice overall feel for the game.

    In summary, I feel like Akasaki is going to get a goal, then Natsu in next week’s ep. But then Osaka scores another and that will be the cliffhanger for that ep.

    • September 7, 2010 at 9:10 amU Doh

      I guess just playing around Sugie’s big body all the time has made Kubota(who seems like having very slight frame) get tired quicker than expected, and that could exactly be what Tatsumi has planned.

  • September 6, 2010 at 11:27 pmkenshin514

    Well, this proves one of my observation. ETU should play 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation in the beginning. With Osaka using only 3 midfield, it’s easier to expose them through the wing sides. Just like I said it last time. Tsubaki should just play as the winger because of his pace in the of attacking because his cross from the left wing proved to be ETU’s best chance so far. Also, maybe use Sera to play as behind striker who is Natsuki in this case. So both strikers can link up with the midfield easier. While in defending, Tsubaki should mark Kubota because it seems that Kubota is running out his energy.

  • September 7, 2010 at 7:03 pmJaysus

    I was waiting for Tsubaki to finally show up. I mean, the star player of the other team is like a retarded version of Tsubaki, who’s the same age and even wears the same number. Bakki had to show up sooner or later to redeem himself as ETU’s rising kid phenom.

    I love sports animes. They’re so under-rated and over-looked.

  • September 8, 2010 at 1:23 pmelfboy

    I thought ETU was playing 4-4-2 diamond (with Sugie as defensive midfielder, Gino behind both strikers, Tsubaki and Akasaki on the wings) but with Akasaki following a rebound, (instead of Gino) I’ve no idea anymore.

    Could they have switched to a version of 4-1-4-1 (aka 4-1-2-3 when attacking), where the two ‘wingers’ play very high up the pitch to almost be 2 additional forwards (sort of like how Barcelona, Arsenal, Spain and Holland to name a few, play)?

    So Sera and Akasaki on the wings (left and right respectively) who cut into the box as support for Natsu the center forward, Gino and Tsubaki the midfielders in front of Sugie the defensive midfielder? Oh well, who cares, as long as ETU wins. Let the giant killing commence.

    I hope there’s a 2nd season too.

  • September 8, 2010 at 9:54 pmKyokai

    This was such a frustrating episode. How slow can they get?! It’s like 3 more episodes to go and no sign of finals. T_T

  • September 9, 2010 at 12:15 amFireflyfu

    I’m pretty sure this is the last match in the anime. the next episode will all be about ETU getting their game sorted and starting to score. 25 will conclude the match and 26 will probably be an epilogue of sorts – the team looking into the horizon at sunset with resolve and ambition for greater things before end credits roll lol.