The updated OP sequence doesn’t make me like the song any more, but it does get me a lot more excited about the series. There are less shots taken from the episodes themselves and more character shots that hint at each person’s background or story, especially Iceman and Sela. The Eclipse girls also come off looking much cooler than they did in the previous OP sequence and episodes.
Haruka turns out to be not so interested in Dan himself but rather in his feet. Regardless, she offers to set him up with another match against Iceman, and she visits Sela to present the same offer. In the meantime, Dan and Sela continue their delivery businesses without their Bigfoots which are still being repaired, and when they run into each other, Sela gets Dan to play her in a one-on-one match. Dan again tries to dunk on her, but she blocks him and makes a jump shot to win. Afterward, she asks Dan about his dunk obsession, but he won’t reveal anything other than how he thinks that dunks are great. Sela feels that if that’s all, then he can’t beat her. Meanwhile, Haruka – who is actually a famous shoe designer – finds Iceman and proposes a three-way match between him, Sela, and Dan. She has also realized that Miyuki’s grandfather has been following her around, and when she confronts him, she reveals that she knows that he’s actually Professor Soichi Ayukawa.
It turns out that Haruka has blueprints for special shoes for the Bigfoots, and she’s begun promoting the match that’ll start at the junkyard where Miyuki is currently working. Dan finds out about this from Coco who also brings him some food after she sees him mumbling hungrily while sleeping outside her door. After eating, he tosses a can at Spanky and notices how it ricochets around the room, giving him an idea on how to win. He thus spends the hours leading up to the match putting up green panels around the city. When the time comes, Dan is still working, so Sela and Iceman start without him. All three Bigfoots have been outfitted with Haruka’s shoes, and their goal is to either be the last one standing or to make a basket. Iceman takes control of the basketball early on, but Dan eventually arrives and draws his attention. Dan manages to avoid Iceman’s attack and takes the ball after it ricochets into the spot he had set up. Now that he has the ball, Dan throws it towards one of the panels and gets the ball to bounce around the block until it comes back to hit Iceman. Watching all this from high above the city is Flora who continues to be enchanted by what’s going on.
On the whole, this was a decent episode with some nice action, and I’m glad that Dan finally used his head to win since it’s kind of hard to root for a main character who’s a complete idiot. Haruka having a foot fetish was amusing as well and not all that shocking when compared to how Sela turned out to be a masochist. The problem I had with this episode was that, once we found out that Haruka was a shoe designer, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this is all just one giant shoe commercial for Nike. It’s one thing for Nike to have helped design the shoes, but it’s going overboard when the Swoosh is everywhere, they make special note of the giant Nike boxes, and Dan acts so amazed at how great the grip is on the shoes during the three-way match. Now granted, I’m not going to stop watching just because of the blatant product placement, especially not after the new OP scenes renewed my interest in the show, but it’s certainly distracting and I can only hope that it’s toned down a bit as the series moves forward.