And here it is, a taste of Tatsumi’s giant killing in action! I say let the underdog story prevail, even if I have to live vicariously through a soccer anime to see it happen. As I mentioned last time, Tatsumi divided ETU into two separate teams upon his arrival as the new coach and declared that a bunch of benchwarmers with quick legs are the new regulars. After literally giving the shaft to the captain, Murakoshi a.k.a. “Mr. ETU”, and the other star players by having them wear bibs for the scrimmage, Tatsumi manages to dumbfound them with his passive-aggressive instructions to his team. It was mostly mind-games to Murakoshi at that point, as he couldn’t understand why the fastest legs on the team weren’t utilizing their speed to their advantage. Just when he thinks he’s figured out Tatsumi’s game plan of tiring them out though… BAM!, the unorthodox giant killing coach lifts his team’s ban on making one-touch plays.
It turns out Tatsumi wasn’t only banking on quick legs, but the players with the best stamina as well, whose supposedly inferior passing is miles better than that of an exhausted team of regulars. The end result speaks for itself and I loved how Tatsumi didn’t even celebrate like a miracle just happened. To him, it was just another day at the field, taking down star players and showing them that there are obvious weaknesses in their team play. The fact that he’s so nonchalant about it all, even at the press interview, just makes it all the better too. As you can probably imagine, this caused a huge rift between him and Murakoshi, which widened even further when Tatsumi decides to relieve him of his captaincy. To Mr. ETU, the man who’s given his all to the team since Tatsumi’s sudden departure, this sudden decision obviously didn’t sit well with him, but surprisingly, Tatsumi shows that he’s not trying to make an enemy out of the team’s star player. Instead, he simply wants to take some captain-like burdens off his shoulder so that he can focus on being a player and leave the coaching stuff to him.
It was at this point in the manga that I found myself completely hooked to the story, as it doesn’t only feature a seemingly unorthodox coach who loves playing the underdog, but also one who’s genuinely concerned about his team’s success yet won’t suck up to the players for acceptance. There’s a lot of back and forth drama that results from that somewhat arrogant attitude of Tatsumi’s, but once I realized he he’s actually looking out for the team’s best interest, I just wanted to see where he takes things from here on. Murakoshi is evidently still hesitant to accept his ways, but I’m looking forward to the moment they see eye-to-eye and work together to turn ETU around. Great sports drama, which quite frankly could make for a really entertaining live-action series.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll continue following this 26 episode series, but since it’s one of the less popular Sunday shows, I’m likely going only cover it periodically (if at all). I really believe more people should give this series a chance and would like to cover it in detail to convey what it has to offer, but I unfortunately have to be more selective going forward. Time is definitely an issue, as well as my sanity, so Arakawa Under the Bridge or WORKING may be better on both fronts since they’re popular and supposedly only one cour long. However, I haven’t ruled out the possibility of a manga-like, single screenshot, quick impressions type of post for shows I can’t cover in full.