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GIANT KILLING – 26 (END)

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「#26」

It almost pains me to have to refer to this as my last post on GIANT KILLING, because this is only the start of much more awesome things to come for ETU. Unfortunately, none of it will be animated, at least not anytime in the immediate future. What did surprise me about this finale though was that it entailed much more than the curry party the preview from last time had me believe. Not only did it include scenes from various matches that ETU had, but also showed them riding the momentum from their huge upset win against Osaka. In the midst of their three game winning streak, it was nice to see Natsuki finally score a goal as well. It’s probably worth noting that he was still struggling with putting key scoring chances away, but at least this served as a sign that things were headed in the right direction for him. ETU wasn’t shown to be completely invincible however, as the loss of Kuroda due to a one-game suspension and Akasaki to the under-23 Olympic national team resulted in a scoreless tie. However, that didn’t take away from the fact that ETU finally had some sort of national level representative, who went on to help win the game against Hong Kong.

With ETU making it through the Japan Cup preliminaries and into the top eight for the first time in three years, the little bit of drama from Gino asking for a maintenance day off in their next match made me wish I’d get to see what Tatsumi had planned for their match against Kawasaki without his star playmaker. From that, the door was already left open for the next episode, before the episode drifted off to a curry party team-building type of event that Tatsumi decided on a whim. Of course, no one saw it that way with how he dragged everyone into helping instead of practicing like they were supposed to — particularly not Kuroda for having to hand out fliers. Regardless, it did change the mood into a more lighthearted one and gave off a sense of a well-deserved rest for the team, and gave us a glimpse back to the very start of the series with a bit of reminiscing between Tatsumi and Gotou. The latter almost gave off a sense that they’ve accomplished what they were both after, but the change of gears back to a focused and recharged team ready to finish the second half of the season strong sure showed otherwise. Season two please?

 

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Final Impressions:

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never really been into sports anime; however, there really isn’t any particular reason for that other than a tendency to overlook them. Quite frankly, I probably would have done the same with GIANT KILLING, had I not taken the time to find out for myself if it’s a series I would enjoy. When I was in the process of writing the Spring 2010 Preview, that fairly ignorant outlook on the genre was quickly turned around when I started reading through a bit of the manga and found that I couldn’t put it down until I finished the entire first volume. There was something extremely captivating about the underdog story it portrayed, where a soccer team in a slump was banking its future on a former star player of theirs who had left for England and started coaching amateur clubs to “giant killing” results. Without any understanding of exactly what Tatsumi’s strategies entailed or how he was able to pull off the huge upsets he did with the players that he had, there was also a mysterious aspect to his character that kept me reading so that I could find out. It didn’t take long for me to become a believer in Tatsumi’s ability to think outside the box either, as I was immediately hooked when he took a bunch of ETU benchwarmers and upset the starters in a scrimmage. The best part of it all was that Tatsumi never seems to exude seriousness or any sort of authority, yet produces undeniable results that no one — not even the hot shot teams in the Japan Football League — can even ignore.

Upon getting into the anime, I was always looking forward to seeing what new and interesting strategies Tatsumi would come up with, but also found myself taken in by all the character development in the players as well. The initial tension between Tatsumi and Murakoshi gave a good taste of some of the people problems that would be encountered in the series, with Tsubaki’s subsequent arc showing just how much depth there are to some of the characters. On the field, this translates into all the internal thoughts running through the players minds, which coupled with the slow motion action, really helps bring out the suspense and excitement in the series. Some of the close matches and timely goals even gave me goosebumps with how awesome they were portrayed, plus brought out a sense of jubilation that I would have never expected to get from a sports anime. It was that intense at times, particularly on the matches that spanned several episodes, and is one thing that I will sorely miss having on a weekly basis. I never once enjoyed having to wait an entire week to see a game play out, but the series almost always made the tease worth the wait. In terms of testosterone-filled, adrenaline-pumping rushes, this series provides that and much more.

With only half the season covered in this 26-episode adaptation and ETU making it through the Japan Cup preliminaries and making the top eight for first time in three years, it goes without saying that I’d love to see a continuation produced so that I can see these boys go all the way. The victory over Osaka Gunners was a defining point that showed how far the team’s come along, and this finale went on to reiterate that their hard work continues to pay off, but I’m still left wanting more. Be that as it may, I don’t think I could ask for anything more from an adaptation. It was an awesome ride through and through, ended on a high note, and left me looking forward to more of the story. The production quality by Studio DEEN wasn’t anything to write home about — as is usually the case with educational-like series airing on NHK — but it wasn’t even close to being poor enough to take away from the series in any way, shape, or form. Given all of the above, I’d recommend this series to any viewer who can enjoy watching or playing sports, regardless of whether or not they’re into sports anime or even soccer in particular. If the mere thought of an underdog story piques your interest, you can’t do yourself any wrong by checking out GIANT KILLING. Give it a chance and you’ll likely be glad you did.

September 27, 2010 at 5:04 am
14 comments »
  • September 27, 2010 at 5:15 am7

    That was a good read. I wish someone scanlated the manga tho :(

  • September 27, 2010 at 5:21 amsaku

    Great series indeed! My last sports anime I enjoyed so much as Giant Killing was Aoki Densetsu Shoot! and boy it was long time ago!

    Thanks for blogging this!

  • September 27, 2010 at 6:49 ammegalith

    I’ve been so curious about this. Seeing those awesome screenshots leaves me in disbelief that this was handled by Deen. Still traumatized by the way they handled the quality side of Umineko. Time to download!

  • September 27, 2010 at 7:09 amKyokai

    Hear hear! I thoroughly enjoyed this series and awaited every episode with agonizing breath (especially those continued matches on – seriously pissed me off but good shows do that QQ). I would love to see a second season and hopefully DEEN would deliver.

  • September 27, 2010 at 7:30 amMountainGoat

    sad that it ended so soon, hope that they will come up with season 2

  • September 27, 2010 at 8:17 amStigmata25

    I usually don’t like sports anime because sometimes they came take up along time explaining the rules of the games or special moves, but, this one was pretty good. After I started watching this anime I also discovered Cross Game and by the same guy who created Cross Game I read the following mangas: Katsu and Rough, which were pretty good. I hope they make Katsu into an anime.

  • September 27, 2010 at 10:04 amIsland Esper

    And so it ends… I’ll miss ETU When this was announced way back I picked it up because I like soccer + anime. The result at that time was unknown. After 26 episodes lots of screaming at the screen, some agonizing moments and the huge Osaka victory the equation results is : Pure awesomeness. The drawing of the noses and knees was different since the beginning but as the story unfolds those details take a back seat and the whole team spirit engulf you. The game cliffhangers were great and terrifying at the same time. You just wanted to see the end of the game so bad but had to wait a week. Very well done show!

  • September 27, 2010 at 10:27 amNadavu

    Hikaru no go inspired me to pick up go, Saki convinced me to give mah-jong a chance, and Giant Killing motivated me to go to my first ever live soccer match. It was fun, although my friends pretended not to me know me when I started cheering “ETU! ETU! EAST TOKYO UNITED!”..

  • September 27, 2010 at 11:45 amOblivion

    Every week I waited in anticipation for this anime more then any other. Sad to see it end but hopefully there is another season somewhere down the line. Giant Killing has made me want to come out of retirement and go back to play soccer, but Ill just take things one step at a time for now. GO ETU!!!

  • September 27, 2010 at 10:49 pmyewz

    Hmm I wonder why I really didn’t find this series very entertaining =\

    I do like sports anime, and I do think the concept of “Giant Killing” is interesting, but the show dragged on so much, and a lot of the dialogue were stating very obvious things as if it wasn’t obvious.

    One of the most exaggerated examples in my memory was the recent match with osaka, where hiragi (osaka captain) was making a mental realization that Gino was in good condition. The show spent like 10% of the episode showing that scene, and for Gino, his reason was he didn’t like some plan or whatever.

    Also, they dragged on matches too long…

    Anyways I’m not really looking forward to another season… sorry guys that liked it. lol

  • September 27, 2010 at 11:08 pmSecsuey

    sigh..
    Why can’t this have 50 episodes
    it was the best sport anime I have ever seen

  • September 28, 2010 at 4:00 amU Doh

    NHK has had 6 seasons of “Major” anime, so the 2nd season of GK is possible I guess.

  • September 30, 2010 at 2:08 pmmalicious

    hope to see 2nd season…ㅠ.ㅠ

  • October 3, 2010 at 8:48 pmZ

    for all of u sports fans out there theres this awesome baseball anime called one outs, ud probably think oh baseball it sounds crappy already but i assure you the show is amazing it has a brilliant storyline and the main character is like a genius when it comes to tactics