Dan and company arrive at a town where Eclipse has been performing, and by chance, Dan has a run-in with Rouge. She recognizes him and decides to make it look like she’s kissing him in order to get away from the fans chasing her. Dan is left in a daze after she runs off again, but he regains his composure and heads with the rest of the group to the hot springs. The pictures of the kiss soon make their rounds, and Dan gets hounded by fans and reporters about the supposed relationship. What’s more, the Eclipse girls announce that they’re forming a Basquash team, and Dan, Sela, and Iceman are their first opponents. Rouge entices Dan into participating by suggesting that Dan will become famous by defeating them and that he could go the moon.
When the time comes, the girls’ manager reveals that the time limit for the match will be the length of the song Running On. This amounts to five minutes and eighteen seconds, and Eclipse girls immediately demonstrate that they’re not pushovers. Dan’s team doesn’t go easy on them, but they still find themselves down by a score of 6-2. Iceman starts a comeback, but Dan misses one of his Destroy balls, and it hits Rouge’s Bigfoot instead. It looks like Rouge has been injured, so Dan rushes to her side and carries her to safety despite her protests that it was all a trap and that she’s their enemy. Since Rouge supposedly can’t sing anymore, their manager is ready to end the match early and declare Eclipse the winner in accordance with the rules.
To everyone’s surprise, Flora – still disguised as Allan – reveals herself to be a huge Eclipse fan, and she starts singing the rest of the song. She gets the crowd to join in, and in light of this, the Eclipse girls decide to keep playing, much to the chagrin of their manager. After a flurry of baskets, the score is tied 10-10, and Dan gets the last shot. He uses his signature move, but this time, it bounces on the rim and doesn’t go in. The game thus ends in a tie, and Eclipse’s manager is furious enough afterwards to slap Citron. Despite this, the girls had fun, and Rouge attributes it to Dan. On the other side, Haruka is bothered by how the feet of the Eclipse girls called out to her, and she suspects that there was something behind this match. Dan meanwhile dreams about Rouge and wakes up wondering why.
Basquash continues to surprise me by serving up another good episode. It helps, of course, that there was not one, but two insert songs this episode (though admittedly I felt having moon passport and a montage of characters in the middle was kind of gratuitous), and even Kugimiya Rie got in on the singing. The Eclipse girls make for some amusing rivals as well. It’s fun watching Citron fawn over Iceman because of the whole Ranka and Alto parallel, and despite the unoriginality of how it came to be, Rouge is an interesting and rather unexpected love interest for Dan to have. I find it odd though that Sela doesn’t really appear interested in him anymore, and Miyuki doesn’t seem to care too much either given how both seemed like possible matches early on. Maybe no love triangle after all for this series.
Anyway, out of the Eclipse girls, I think Violette is the one to watch out for – there hasn’t been too much with her yet, so she seems suspicious. Their manager is one of those annoying characters too, doubly so because he reminds me of a certain character from Yu-Gi-Oh, and I wonder what the ulterior motive is (i.e. is James using them). Regardless, after having been somewhat “meh” a few weeks ago about this series, I’m warming up to it again, and I hope it’ll keep getting better.