After five consecutive losses in the span of only a few episodes, ETU was not only overdue for a win, but a huge giant killing as well. With their opponent being Fuwa’s Nagoya Gran Palace however, they need to first overcome the three Brazilian superstar imports — Zelbert, Carlos, and Pepe. In Tatsumi style, leave it up to him to tell Fuwa to his face that ETU’s going to win this game though. I’d like to believe he’s got a pretty good game plan to take down his undefeated opposition as well, given the confidence he exuded upon studying all the video of their previous matches. The only thing is, your guess is as good as mine as to what Tatsumi actually has planned, since all ETU’s been doing so far is shutting down the Brazilian trio. In addition, Kuroda’s also taking it to their backdoor striker Itasaki (Saitou Jirou), the self-proclaimed ace of Gran Palace. While they have been remarkably successful in doing so, I’m really left wondering what Tatsumi has in store in the second half when ETU finally decides to make a push on offense. Kudos to him for picking up on how Itasaki’s never been able to get past Kuroda one-on-one in the past and banking on that to drastically limit Gran Palace’s scoring chances, but there still have been a few that Dori had to bail them out on.
All things considered, the fact that this is still a scoreless game is probably a step in the right direction, even though I agree with Matsubara that watching their team endure an onslaught of Brazilian offense isn’t good for ETU fans’ hearts. The same goes for Katsura, who’s banked her freelance journalist reputation on Tatsumi yet noticed the same trend taking place on the field. In light of that, I did get a good laugh out of how Tatsumi called Macchan pathetic for panicking so much when the players are calmer than he is, plus his cool, calm, and collected disposition when making such comments just continues to radiate confidence. It’s almost as if he’s too busy analyzing everything that’s happening to even have time to be intimidated, but knowing Tatsumi, it’s probably more like he’s just sitting back and waiting to see if his giant killing strategy will play out like he planned. The interesting thing about his mindset is that he doesn’t expect to win every game and doesn’t get discouraged at all for that very reason. Because of that, it’s hard not to have faith in him even though the fans don’t see it that way.
Speaking of the fans, it was nice to see what Hata and his United Skulls choose to continue supporting ETU with Tatsumi behind the bench, considering that Fuwa was the one that brought upon the team’s dark ages when he was in charge. I still think that the old school supporters make for much better fans given how they’re pro-Tatsumi advocates, but it does add a nice dimension to the story to have conflicts both on and off the field. That said, there was a spark of brilliance on ETU’s offense once Gino got a hold of the ball and started a quick shift in momentum. Watching Akasaki and Sera break through the Gran Palace’s defenses as a result was pretty adrenaline-pumping, so it’s a shame the play was broken up as soon as Tsubaki came into the picture. It’s really starting to feel like Tsubaki can’t catch a break no matter how hard he tries, which is why I’m really hoping he ends up scoring a goal in this game — particularly the game winning goal.
For now, we’ll just have to see how things play out in the second half. Things left off here with Sera sustaining a back injury from a missed header, which made for some pretty good suspense since he’s one of ETU’s strikers, until the preview showed him no worse for wear. That’s perfectly fine with me though because ETU has enough adversity in front of them as-is without losing any of their key players. Go ETU!