It turns out that Tatsumi’s not only about unorthodox strategies in games, but unorthodox coaching during practices as well. This almost resulted in the team collapsing from within as the players fought over how to run their practice, yet I wasn’t the least bit worried because our obsessed giant killer is always full of surprises. In reality, Tatsumi didn’t do much at all except sit back and observe how the players conduct themselves without supervision, before taking all their balls away except one to see how they handle things though. With veteran Kuroda Kazuki (Itou Kentarou) taking it upon himself to run the gong show since Murakoshi wasn’t allowed to, things got pretty damn ugly between him and the younger members of the team who won the last scrimmage under Tatsumi’s guidance.
That may not sound like much happening, but I actually found the fighting between the players both intriguing and entertaining to watch, simply because it depicted the unrest, distrust, and lack of team work within ETU. One of the things I really like about this series so far is how it covers the game of soccer from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the fans, to the management, and finally the players themselves, with this episode being a prime example of the last one. The highlight however was the introduction of the half Japanese, half Italian superstar midfielder, Luigi Yoshida (Ono Daisuke), who is more or less the equivalent to Tatsumi on the actual team. His carefree attitude on the sport, luxurious ride, and womanizer-like personality more or less make him come off as an arrogant ass, but his understanding of soccer, skill, and ability to produce results with ease earns him enough respect to warrant being called “Prince” by his teammates, or at the very least, his pet name “Gino”. Sure he had to use Ryou and Tsubaki to make himself look good against Murakoshi and the other regulars, but the fact that he could still pull it off says something in my eyes.
At first I thought Tatsumi would be at odds with Gino especially after he strolled into practice on his own schedule, but it turns out he doesn’t care what someone’s attitude’s like provided that they can perform and aren’t just all talk. I guess it would be pretty hypocritical of Tatsumi if he didn’t treat others that way, but I was still surprised to see Gino appointed as the new captain of the team. In any case, I like Gino’s character in the same way that I like Tatsumi’s (i.e. arrogant but amiable), so it’ll be interesting to see how he leads the team under new management. The end of this episode showed the beginnings of their first preseason match against the top team in their league, Tokyo Victory, which means we might just get a taste of ETU’s first giant killing next time. I can’t wait to see if they can pull it off, because it’s not a shoo-in even with Tatsumi at the helm.