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Area no Kishi – 04 »« Area no Kishi – 02

Area no Kishi – 03

「兄の鼓動」 (Ani no Kodou)
“A Brother’s Pulse”

Events continue to barrel along at a breakneck pace, but my suspicion is now that “that” has happened, things are going to slow down quite a bit – and we’re going to find out just how good a series Area no Kishi is. Or isn’t.

There are a lot of different ways an event like the death of a major character can be played, and in general I thought Suguru’s passing was handled pretty well. Considering the magnitude of the event – not just one of the premier figures of the first two episodes but a child at that has died under horrible circumstances – I think the understated tone Hirofumi-sensei and Shin-Ei chose was the right one. The emotions of the family were shown, but not lingered on. Most of what happened was off-screen, and we – like the characters – reacted to the news of it rather than the sight of it. Indeed, we never even saw Suguru after the accident – only what he left behind, physically and emotionally.

Probably the most interesting moments during the hospital sequences were those which featured the clinical psychiatrist Mine Ayaka (Ohara Sayaka). She’s the one who eventually tells Kakeru what we already know – that Suguru has died in the accident. Naturally he takes this hard, but I’ll have to check with my clinical psychologist Dad to find out whether slapping a juvenile patient who’s just had heart surgery is normal procedure. I suspect we haven’t seen the last of her though Kakeru has physically recovered (more on that in a minute). The other compelling element of the first part was the way it was cut through with flashbacks from the time before Seven moved away, where Kakeru was actually converting the passes from young Suguru (Kumai Motoko, young Goro from Major) and playing a two-forward formation with Nana. It was Kakeru who gave Seven her nickname – as indeed I suspect he’s given her new one, “Grey”.

Of course, it’s what happens now that Suguru is gone that really matters, both in terms of the characters and whether or not this series is going to work as an anime. It turns out that Kakeru’s heart was pierced by one of the steel rods from the truck that hit the boys, and it’s only because Suguru suffered a fatal brain injury in the accident that Kakeru received his heart, and lived. Kakeru doesn’t know this yet, and Mine-sensei is advising his parents (Tahara Aruno and Sakuma Rei) to keep the information from him. Problem is that Nana does know, having overheard their conversation, and Kakeru – having followed through on his plan to quit the soccer club – is displaying some odd behavior. That’s a very Adachi-like conceit, and we’ll see if Kibayashi-sensei is a good enough writer (and this is a good enough adaptation) to pull it off.

On that, I would say early returns are inconclusive, though trending positive. As I said, I think the events were handled rather well for the most part, and if the central conceit is somewhat oversentimental, there’s a fair amount of genuine cleverness to it and it could really work. But there were moments in the episode that didn’t work so well, including a scene near the end (which I’m led to believe was anime-original) where Kakeru uses his now apparently super-senses to detect an impending accident involving a little girl and her dog, and kicks a soccer ball in a gravity-defying arc to warn off the driver of an oncoming car. This felt genuinely odd and fairly preposterous, as did the follow-up shots of Kakeru with a distinctly “Suguru-like” angry-determined face and profile. I think the notion of seeing what the younger brother does with the older brother’s heart is an interesting one, but it needs to be played with – forgive me – Adachi-like subtlety, not the in-your-face bluntness of the episode’s conclusion. As I said, inconclusive – though I enjoyed most of the episode and I still think this has a good chance to be an emotionally powerful series.



January 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm
  • January 20, 2012 at 10:25 pmEvidently

    Since the cliffhanger of last episode I read a bit of the manga. They’re staying really faithful to it, other than the flashbacks that didn’t happen exactly that way. I really want to see Seven play soccer for reals though.

    • January 20, 2012 at 10:29 pmEvidently

      Oh, and the bit at the end with the car + girl is unrelated, but still cool to see his precision.

  • January 20, 2012 at 10:42 pmleokiko

    It’s a great manga, but I hope the anime doesn’t put too much anime original stuff in it. I mean, they have A LOT OF MATERIAL to adaptate, why bother doing this?

    • January 20, 2012 at 11:10 pmGuardian Enzo

      To speculate, it could be that Shin-Ei knows they’re likely not to have time to tell the whole story and they’re trying to speed it along. Or it could be simple editorial choice, believing that what works on paper won’t always work on screen. There’ll always be changes in an adaptation – what sets the good ones apart is that they’re the right changes, not the wrong ones.

      • January 20, 2012 at 11:39 pmleokiko

        Yes, that’s true… But not good changes so far in my opinion.

      • January 22, 2012 at 11:47 ambanzemanga

        I agree with you. In my opinion they changed a too much stuff already.

        -Like during the car crash, the car did not come from behind but a cross section area. They were both riding the bicycle not one riding and one running.
        -Our protagonist saw the female doctor hugging his brother before and it is not shown here.
        -And the dream our protagonist had was not of his past but a real short one getting his last “pass” which is not shown here at all.
        -During these times, they still haven’t shown what Seven gave to our protagonist’ brother as a cliffhanger.
        -And the list goes on.

        There are so many critical details that have been removed that i prefer reading the manga just like Naruto and Bleach. They add to many unnecessary fillers which does not make sense and leave out important details which builds up the emotions for the next scenes.

      • January 22, 2012 at 12:14 pmGuardian Enzo

        It’s worth pointing out that the next episode title is “The Last Pass” so even if the order is changed somewhat, some of what you’re complaining about is likely going to be delivered.

        Pleasing fans of an original manga is an almost impossible task (which is another reason the Cross Game anime is so miraculous). If they can come out with a series which pleases first-time viewers, that has to be considered a success – not pissing off manga readers is just gravy.

  • January 20, 2012 at 11:53 pmAlec

    Shouldn’t have read the manga (marathoned it 2-3 days ago). I just can’t help comparing both anime and manga. I liked the episode actually…until I saw the final part.

    I didn’t mind how the creators handled Suguru and Aizawa’s injury in the anime. It’s perfectly understandable : They have the youger audience to keep in mind.

    The only thing I didn’t like in the episode is the “Suguru-watchamacallit-trance.”
    It happened Show Spoiler ▼

    it’s not much of a spoiler

  • January 21, 2012 at 12:44 amPandorakun

    Nope. you don’t slap patients. In fact, I’m pretty sure that you avoid contact most of the time. Yeah, so a lot of the insensitivity I spoke of last episode comes from the psychologist, which really rubbed me up the wrong way, because I study the subject.

  • January 21, 2012 at 2:37 ampooner

    feels kinda exaggerated in my opinion that just a heart transplant could transfer suguru’s soccer skills? I did expect his running/etc be way better, but I don’t like how they made him suddenly super powerful…and this is a soccer series dude.

    • January 22, 2012 at 9:12 amfilphil

      This particular tid bit will be explained later on.

  • January 21, 2012 at 4:15 amArabesque

    I’ll have to check with my clinical psychologist Dad to find out whether slapping a juvenile patient who’s just had heart surgery is normal procedure

    It’s just like slapping a baby’s butt after their born or hitting someone on the head after getting brain surgery. Just checking their alright (though apparently opinions are divided on this matter (between doctors who still have their licence and doctors who had their licencee taken due to them physically abusing patients))

  • January 21, 2012 at 4:16 amwalaoa

    This episode disappoint me . I have high expectation because i really liked the manga. As an anime i knew it would be different , but i don’t understand why they would want to add the last scene which is completely out of place.

  • January 21, 2012 at 4:33 amperguvious

    the animation looked extremely irregular and it detached me from enjoying the episode

    • January 23, 2012 at 8:16 pmyugandasekai

      The music sounded distractingly inappropriate in several scenes.

      Also, would you normally receive a heart transplant after an accident? Wouldn’t you just be dead?

      • January 23, 2012 at 8:45 pmGuardian Enzo

        Why would you be dead if a heart transplant could save you? That’s what they have heart-lung machines for.

      • January 24, 2012 at 9:17 pmyugandasekai

        To my limited understanding, patients who suffer irreparable damage to their heart, subsequent to being impaled in the chest by a metal pipe, are not good candidates for a heart transplant procedure because they can’t survive long enough to be placed on life-support, even with immediate medical attention. But whatever; it’s nothing a little suspension of disbelief can’t fix.

        The mood-killing music, on the other hand, is harder to ignore. That, and the repeatedly unprofessional behavior of the psychiatrist, are greater impediments to my enjoyment of the episode.

      • January 24, 2012 at 9:55 pmPtolemaios00

        Also, it’s quite impossible to recover from a transplant in just a few weeks enough for strenuous exercise, especially in a cardio-intensive sport like soccer. He would also need to be on meds for the rest of his life much like anyone after their first stroke or heart attack.

      • January 24, 2012 at 10:01 pmGuardian Enzo

        It was three months before he left the hospital, not a few weeks.

  • January 21, 2012 at 6:56 amHungryKoala

    They’re really changing up things a lot from the manga.

    Not sure if I like this.

  • January 21, 2012 at 7:00 amCroos

    I’m so going to watch this for now on!!

  • January 21, 2012 at 7:35 amCTT

    It is not standard procedure to slap a patient. Part of why I stopped reading the manga was because I felt Kakeru was suffering and someone said something idiotic like, “You have to stay in soccer and live Suguru’s dream because his heart is inside you.” It almost felt like everyone would have preferred it if Kakeru died

    • January 21, 2012 at 11:19 pmleokiko

      That’s the main reason I stopped reading the manga. There was the fact that he was using his deceived brother powers or something like that, which annoyed me.

  • January 21, 2012 at 7:36 amSynchronicity

    Is it just me or did Kakeru appear taller in “Suguru” form?

    • January 21, 2012 at 7:43 amGuardian Enzo

      He did to me as well, but I just assumed it was a growth spurt? 14 year old boys can certainly get noticeably taller in three months time.

      • January 24, 2012 at 9:56 pmPtolemaios00

        Yugioh effect, I say!

  • January 21, 2012 at 7:42 amtorleywowlol

    that nurse was a bitch

  • January 21, 2012 at 8:45 pmKanoKyousuke

    Suguru died… wow… I thought this show would be like ala Hungry Heart Wild Striker.. but not… I’ll just drop this show now… so sad….

    • January 22, 2012 at 9:14 amfilphil

      you’re going to drop this because something serious happened?

      • January 22, 2012 at 9:43 amKanoKyousuke

        yes, you got a problem with that chico? n___n

  • January 21, 2012 at 10:26 pmJel

    Haven’t read the manga, so I was quite surprised to see that Suguru just died, episode three. I was looking forward to some brotherly interactions (not loving per say lol but trying to help out Kakeru with getting back into soccer). I would’ve liked to see how it would’ve played out if he merely got injured or was unable to play soccer anymore (well I guess that might not work too well either) but something that wouldn’t transplant Suguru’s heart into Kakeru… I mean now whenever Kakeru finds out it’s Suguru’s heart, he’s going to think it’s his fault and it is now his current duty to continue soccer because of it. Progressing a bit odd as a story. Seeing how he reacts after getting the transplant seems so drastic and exaggerated, such as having those Suguru moments. Talk about cheesy… I mean if you play it out that way then it’s like Suguru never died. Was not very happy with the episode, plot wise rather than how it was told.

  • January 21, 2012 at 10:54 pmEirias

    Suguru clearly had an enlarged heart that now pumps more high-oxygen blood to the GAR Center of Kakeru’s brain. Normal cranial blood flow is such that GAR Center is minimally perfused to maintain tissue health. With this extra oxygenation, the GARC can now take over its neurologically supervisory role in moments of high stress and triple success potential in all acts.

    • January 22, 2012 at 3:20 pmGavrilo

      Ok, that was a good one, convincing enough for me.

      Seriously, I was not even bothered by those nonsensical events, but how the drama was handled felt far too “meh” for me. Maybe I should finally check the works of Adachi-sensei instead of this.

  • January 22, 2012 at 2:36 pmshin

    Yeah the soccer to the car was very unnatural. It reminded me of adachi’s throwing a baseball at a thief except that had comic undertones and wasn’t very serious. I thought it was rather odd how cheery he is even though his brother died a week or 2 ago. I guess I’ll watch another episode or 2 to see how it goes.

  • January 22, 2012 at 4:32 pmmtle

    The production value took a dip .. the nurse looks a lot weirder than I remember from the manga.

  • January 22, 2012 at 8:14 pmPtolemaios00

    The kick to the car felt like a Detective Conan moment, and I felt it was pure luck that the car stopped in time when it looked like the driving got even more erratic after getting hit. Kakeru seemed to have a Yugioh instant grow up moment too. Also, the whole heart inheritance thing feels like the Angel Heart premise.

    • January 23, 2012 at 8:57 amShin

      It looked like that guy was going over well over the speed limit in a residential zone. I know when I learned to drive you are ready to stop on a moments notice if you see a ball or dog. I can’t help but think normally you would be able to see girldog and stop in time but if you got hit by a soccerball youd be like wtf and maybe get distracted looking back wondering wtf hapened that you dont notice the girl in time.

  • January 24, 2012 at 9:50 pmSenekis

    Shame about the terrible animation quality in this episode. A few of the faces look a bit derpish. Hope it improves later on for the important matches.

  • January 25, 2012 at 9:51 pmomeganx

    im gonna drop it for personal reasons…too close to home right now, it looks really interesting though.

    • January 27, 2012 at 12:17 pmYoyo

      Condolences for your loss.