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「小さな少女の願い」 (Chisana Shoujo no Negai)
“A Little Girl’s Wish”

You really can’t judge a book by its cover it seems, as this second episode of Ro-Kyu-Bu had me thinking that the story would work really well in a live-action drama. From the instrumental version of the “Shoot” opening theme to sixth grade Tomoka trying to deny her love for basketball, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I’ve seen so far. Don’t let the character designs fool you, there’s some pretty good drama in this light novel adaptation.

Is it revolutionary to the point that everyone should be watching Ro-Kyu-Bu this season? Probably not, but considering how a lot of people were quick to kick it to the curb and completely mislabel it with some predetermined judgements, it’s definitely worth giving some limelight too, hence this post on the second episode. What the screen captures don’t show you are the underlying themes to this anime, in which we have a high school basketball ace, who’s completely dejected and resigned to quitting the sport altogether, rediscovering his love for the sport from a sixth grader who’s doing everything she can to fight for place to play. It sounds like a straightforward plot device, and leads to some scenes that will almost certainly be misinterpreted from an outside point of view, but has the whole “realizing one’s true feelings and supporting each other” aspect going for it. The easily misunderstood scenes are very believable as well given the age of the characters, provided you’re mature enough to see it for it is.

The decision to make it so that Subaru’s basketball club suspended because of suspicions that the captain is a lolicon is undoubtedly the biggest reason for misconceptions about this series. After all, his club could have just as well been suspended for any other reason and the rest of the plot would’ve remained the same. However, that part of the story actually works really well in explaining Subaru’s hesitation toward coaching a sixth grade girls basketball team, and serves as a reminder to him that he can be misunderstood if he gets too friendly with them. Thus far, it’s shown that he’s aware of how he may be perceived and reiterated that his decision to coach Tomoka and the others’ stems from his love for the sport and not any romantic feelings toward any of the girls. More specifically, he’s captivated by Tomoka’s own love for the sport and her remarkable skill for both her age and her gender, so much that he feels that even he can learn something from her technique. All the while, his inner desire to play basketball resurfaces despite how much he tries to deny it, from seeing Tomoka’s determination and hearing her sincere feelings about her friends.

Admittedly, Tomoka’s backstory about losing her place to play in her previous school because she was obsessed with winning is all too reminiscent of Nagase Jun in last season’s Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II, and Subaru’s earnest desire to help Tomoka keep her place came off a bit too much like a confession and even a bit hypocritical since he himself had kind of given up, but the believability is still there, along with the emotions to really get me into the idea. I’m also glad Subaru didn’t somehow lose the one-on-one match against Tomoka (or let her win), and was won over by her feelings and wanted to be her coach instead. Now that he’s set on coaching them, the show takes a Giant Killing turn with the girls trying to beat the boys team so their club doesn’t have to disband. Given how much I love seeing the underdog pull an upset with some seemingly unorthodox strategies, I’m looking forward to seeing how Subaru uses each of the girls to their strengths to exploit the boys’ weaknesses. Hearing him pull a Mu La Flaga-like line about making the impossible possible? That just sealed the deal.

 

Preview

Ro Kyu Bu   02   Preview 01
July 10, 2011 at 4:20 am
46 comments »
  • July 10, 2011 at 4:38 amJX

    First? Yay! I’m loving where this is going. Seems like it’s really worth watching. Somehow all sports shows have some kind of appeal to them don’t you think?

    • July 10, 2011 at 6:33 amGuardian

      I disagree, I hate sports IRL and that extends to a supreme lack of interest in sports anime, movies or books. This is actually the first sports anime I’ve had even the slightest bit of interest in, and that’s only because of the loli fanservice and the cute blonde girl. I hope it doesn’t become too boring and bogged down in sports BS.

  • July 10, 2011 at 4:40 amJX

    I loved the part where he was playing against her. Sports is so much more amazing in anime than it is in real life.

    • July 10, 2011 at 4:55 amTaiakun

      Seriously? Well…I’ll probably agree since the state of NBA has gone down over the years, but the era of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, no anime can top that haha. But I would say that this anime is a lot nicer to watch than Slam Dunk (though Slam Dunk is an old anime).

      • July 10, 2011 at 5:43 amCroos

        I agree with you Taiakun. Slam dunk still has its cools being one of the best basketball anime/manga.
        @JX
        It depends on peoples taste. Some people prefer RL basketball than anime or vise versa or maybe even both.

    • July 10, 2011 at 6:44 amaiueo123

      Considering how unbelievable the sports part in anime sometimes, I have to disagree with this. Slam dunk was pretty good, but watching the basketball part of Dear Boys really make me, who actually like playing basketball in real life, cringe. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense seeing people swishing a three pointer almost 100% whenever they’re not blocked, or seeing someone rather letting his enemy taking a two pointer instead of three pointer, or wondering why the hell no one make a set play or set a screen instead of trying to battle one on one all the time.

  • July 10, 2011 at 4:54 amSerapita

    I really like the virtual chat room the girls set up/the preview. They’re quite cute.

    And yes, the story is quite nice with a bit of drama in it. I didn’t expect the show to have this side as well (I was expecting a normal comedy slice-of-life show with cute characters)

    • July 10, 2011 at 7:56 amOni

      yup i like them too i wonder how long before we get one of those

  • July 10, 2011 at 5:20 amCroos

    Divine are you going to blog this through out the series?! (Just asking)

    Anyway. I really thought this anime was just for lolis but man, when i saw those moves this anime just bought me to watch this go through.

    • July 10, 2011 at 5:24 amDivine

      I thought about it after this episode, but I’m not so sure yet. IDOLM@STER and Mayo Chiki are two other possibilities.

      • July 10, 2011 at 5:29 amelijah

        Didn’t IDOLM@STER get a ‘poor’ for blogging chance in the summer preview? First episode must have made a seriously good impression on you O:

      • July 10, 2011 at 5:53 amSerapita

        Idolmaster looks promising, imho. I was skeptic about it at first but the first episode was done quite well so it would be nice to have someone cover that regularly. (and this show too!)

      • July 10, 2011 at 10:58 amlkaze

        Still too soon to make any decision yet. It’s better to go for another episode before deciding. At the very least the idolm@ster can be decided on episode 2. Not to be rude but idolm@ster doesn’t seem very interesting for it first episode.Hopefully it because they focus on introducing all the character, maybe it will shine more on latter episode.

      • July 10, 2011 at 3:18 pmDivine

        @elijah: You’re right, it did. The first episode was pretty impressive from a production standpoint though, so it’s up for consideration again. The main reason why I’m leaning against it is because it’s two-cour. Along with Mawaru Penguindrum, that would be two Thursday shows continuing on into the much busier fall season, which I don’t want. I’m already set on covering one of the new noitaminA shows next season — Guilty Crown. I’m sure there will be other great shows airing on Thursday too, like always.

    • July 10, 2011 at 8:20 pmK-sama

      I agree with u, hope divine can blog as long as possible……I like the anime so much…..

  • July 10, 2011 at 5:37 amNekore44

    I’m liking this show a lot more that I original thought I would. Sport Anime has never been my thing, but so far I’m more interested than not.

    =^.^=

  • July 10, 2011 at 5:43 amPeanutbutter003

    When was the last time moe and sports were combined?

    Please keep on blogging this.

  • July 10, 2011 at 5:59 amXin

    Yea, Tomoka’s backstory was the spitting image of Jun’s from Kaminomi and felt really weird having just gotten finished with it.

    Otherwise, I’m glad I didn’t jump on the labeling bandwagon of the show off the first ep. though I did feel uncomfortable watching it with all the camera angle service shots and the extended shower scene it threw at us.

    This ep. was pretty service-free and the only thing that came off a little weird to me was Subaru’s confession-like scene. Heck, even the repeat of the maid welcoming at the end was heartwarming this time around rather than awkward.

    • July 10, 2011 at 12:37 pmBreedo

      For me the awkward part was the buckets of tears, I had wondered why she would go there being that young, then it occured to me maybe it’s just the emotions letting go from being overwhelmed by a situation that was very emotionally amped. I can see that being the case. That’s how i interpretted that anyhow. At first before he explained himself though i was wondering where the hell is this going lol. I wonder if she won’t develop some kind of crush on him though. It isn’t far fetched at all to see that sort of thing in real life.

  • July 10, 2011 at 6:48 amgecd

    gald this is not just a mindless loli show
    http://randomc.net/image/Ro-Kyu-Bu/Ro-Kyu-Bu%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2024.jpg
    this loli teacher is so cool

    • July 10, 2011 at 8:03 amShirt

      This is the first Loli Season I’ve ever seen. It’s sure damn easy to slip one or two mindless loli shows in too. haha

  • July 10, 2011 at 8:10 amoutcast

    Divine i liked how you focussed on the drama aspect and how it’s a surprising good show.
    Here is how i would summarise the episode.

    Have loli hold you tightly on the backseat of your bicycle
    Take loli home
    Have loli take a shower in your house
    Have sunset moment on bridge with loli.

  • July 10, 2011 at 8:16 amSeedStriker

    Think that Subaru is MJ at the time of his first retirement (thinking about returning to the sport) and Tomoka is Lebron James (the stand-alone all star); the younger asking the more experienced (and successful) ace about how to improve, something that the real figure could do to gain the level that he’s meant to have…

    The return of the man that can do the impossible, possible? Subaru may have future as an advertising figure for Addidas

  • July 10, 2011 at 9:53 amJhacks

    Wow! i’m liking this anime.
    Hope they will continue with the sport drama (maybe add some little romance on it) and just completely remove the loli fanservice thingy like in the first episode and this will be great!

  • July 10, 2011 at 10:35 ammac65

    I like the term “puppy-love” and I think if done right, adds an
    innocent depth to the story. This story caught me a little by
    surprise; there’s good potential here…

    Divine, I hope you elect to blog this series – this could
    be this season’s sleeper series.

    In general, this season’s shows have had many strong starts,
    and I can appreciate the difficulty is choosing which to blog.

  • July 10, 2011 at 10:42 amMegas

    I’ve been telling myself for the logest that i HATE sports-centered anime. Having spent the majority of my youth in Japan, I know that they take losing in sports as some sort of dis-honor, not only to their family but to their entire existence. That bull has been reflected in every sports anime I’ve ever watched & I’ll never get over that.

    However, there was finally something a little different in this one when Tomoka was talking about the fun of it. But I still don’t believe a word of it. If you ever been to a Jap baseball game & see the losing team walk off the field like someone just died, you’ll see what I mean. They take sports WAY too seriously given the ridiculously short amount of time they’ve been playing the mainstream sports professionally.

    I’ll watch this for now but if they start comparing losing a damn game to losing EVERYTHING like they’ve don’t in the last 22 sports anime I can think of, I’ll have to drop this too.

    • July 10, 2011 at 9:53 pmGuardian

      It’s probably because they copied from us … America is the land of taking sports far, FAR too seriously. Look at all the billion-dollar stadiums and multi-million dollar salaries for hitting a ball with a stick or throwing it in a hoop. And don’t even get me started on fans who spend their lives obsessed with ‘their team’. Of course, across the pond in Europe people go nuts and beat the crap out of each other over soccer, so everyone across the board needs to take these GAMES a lot less seriously.

      • July 10, 2011 at 11:03 pmMegas

        I see what you mean when you’re talking about the fans of different sports. When it comes to fans, they ‘care’ about their team WAY more than players in general, they’re the reason why salaries gotten so bloody high in the first place in the US. Soccer fans are crazy everywhere (but the US). However, the only sport with a fairly huge fandom in Japan is baseball. Baseball players in Japan are probably the only ones that care about the game as much as the fans do, if not more so.

        What I was really talking about was the players. I played HS baseball in Japan & it was pretty much win or die. I met & play with a few of the Dragons, Giants, & Tigers during that time as well & they were all hardcore as hell. But when I came back over tried out at the ball team of my college, my 6’9″ frame immediated got me scouted for the basketball team. 3 yrs later I ended up in the NBA-D league. Most of those guys didn’t give a hell about the game. They just wanted to show off & collect a nice check. I also dealt with scores of NBA wannabes too. I pretty much wasted 3 yrs of my life doing that b4 going back to school. But at least I was able to buy my present abode out of the deal.

        Of course there are players that truly care about their respective games here but they are few and far between, while you’ll see them in droves in Japan. If most fans over here knew the sheer number of pro/semi-pro players that thought of their games as just a check – they would still cheer like hell for their team. That’s just how sports are, except for Japan.

    • July 11, 2011 at 6:14 amSoiyeruda

      I’ll watch this for now but if they start comparing losing a damn game to losing EVERYTHING like they’ve don’t in the last 22 sports anime I can think of, I’ll have to drop this too.

      Just gonna warn you right now but for Tomoka, losing the game against the boys means losing her special place, which for a 6th grade girl, is pretty much everything.

  • July 10, 2011 at 10:54 amlkaze

    I really like this anime, it more than just a simple moe anime. Hopefully this will keep up.

  • July 10, 2011 at 11:12 amreminbee

    It definitely defied my expectations! This episode added a layer of emotional depth that I really didn’t expect. At all.

  • July 10, 2011 at 5:31 pmThe M0on DOgg

    RO-KYU-BU. More than meets the eye.

    Loli with a plot! Loli with a plot! See? Not all loli anime is just “naked 6th graders showing off their youthful bodies in a showerroom.” Finally some author had the balls to show that a kid’s life as it really is: just as hell as an adult’s.

  • July 10, 2011 at 7:19 pmrladls716

    If you people are interested in drama cd version, here are the links, these are raws though.
    If anyone care to translate, then please do so.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m not accurate on the story, but it is about how these five girls, in class, discuss what do they want to do or to be in the future and each girls shows their imagination.

  • July 10, 2011 at 8:12 pmK-sama

    Feel so touched by their determination……..

  • July 11, 2011 at 2:17 amamado

    other people can be too judgmental of this show… or they look at this with naughty eyes and push the blame on us.

    on a side note, I love the chat(despite the fact I rarely chat). its cute and funny.

  • July 11, 2011 at 6:26 amSoiyeruda

    It’s a shame that people want to label this show as fanservice and toss it aside based off that.

    The first episode doesn’t help with the above notion, but if they tone that down and focus more on the actual basketball (which surprisingly, has been frequent enough so far), this can be a decent anime. Nothing ground breaking but definitely satisfactory.

  • July 11, 2011 at 12:31 pmDelwack

    If it weren’t for the while dress-up-as-maids thing they did in the these two episodes, I’d say you have a very strong argument for this being a no-fanserve, character driven show about self-discovery.

    That’s what the first two episodes are showing at any rate. I hope it continues along this path.

  • July 11, 2011 at 7:42 pmKiyoneSaya

    Hahaha I like the Giant Killing reference!

  • July 11, 2011 at 10:29 pmsalbazier

    The first episode was mediocre, but this second ep is quite good. Plus I really like the OP song. Thanks for the reviewing this second episode, divine. I would not give it a look otherwise.

  • July 11, 2011 at 10:43 pmsalbazier

    BTW, who’s doing character design for this series? Because the character (and uniform) seems familiar somewhat

    • July 11, 2011 at 10:48 pmsalbazier

      Nevermind, I found it immediately after googling. I recognize the design style but just forgot the artist name.

  • July 11, 2011 at 11:02 pmOwaranai

    I am entertained. Definitely nothing that would get me pumped up anticipating the next episode, but it’s something fun to watch. The drama’s not too bad in this episode too. Hopefully there will be more of such moments in the future episodes.

  • July 12, 2011 at 4:42 amjreding

    I watched the first episode of this show just out of curiosity because it was the first summer show I found subs for. When I saw the maid outfits I thought about quitting it immediately but now I am happy I did not. I find the animation of the basketball scenes quite good and the show seems to have a decent storyline as well. I might be forced to drop some shows later on due to time constraints but so far I am watching this.

  • July 13, 2011 at 8:48 pmRyugamineMikado

    Hope it will continue with the basketball drama till the end and not turn into a loli slice of life midway. Rokyubu is still doing a good job meeting my expectations

  • July 14, 2011 at 9:16 pmdrzero7

    This have potential to be a good serious sport drama anime… but the thing that’s blocking that is a team of loli girls. I’m almost cursing that it’s a moe-show and not a serious high school male basketball anime. But oh well, there are too many of those types that been done so I guess throw in some loli in to the mix and you get a new twist I guess. (Yeah, I hear it’s based on a manga)

  • July 16, 2011 at 5:31 amAnimesetsuna

    My first impression is Subaru actually look like Kira Yamato(Gundam SEED & SEED DESTINY). Nice Episode.