「#25」

The short version of this post would be, “Wow.” Thanks to the climactic end to ETU’s biggest game that spanned seven episodes, this series sure delivered one adrenaline-pumping finish to the series. The excitement was off the scale and reminded me exactly why I picked up this show in the first place. It gave me goosebumps! The biggest surprise is that Natsuki wasn’t able to make good on the chances Gino gave him, but Sugie sure did when ETU was awarded a free kick from Hiraga hauling down Tsubaki. I still can’t believe Hiraga didn’t even get a yellow card for such a blatant play, but the fake-out from Akasaki and Gino on their set play sure made up for it. I absolutely loved the overdramatic way the tying goal played out on Osaka’s side too, because everyone was freaking out when it wasn’t Akasaki taking the free kick. “It’s Gino!” It was even better when Hiraga realized just moments before Gino sent the ball over to Sugie too, since it served as an extra kick in the face to the highly touted Gunners. What happened to all those national team representatives on the defense Osaka!? *does a victory dance*

Coming into this episode, I was really hoping that Tsubaki would score — I really did. In fact, I even had the same look of disbelief on my face when he rung it off the crossbar after receiving a pass from Murakoshi. However, after all that build up that Sera got about his struggles as a forward and never being able to score a goal despite his desperate struggle to do so, it felt only befitting that he’d score the winning goal here and pull off the biggest upset of the season. It may not have been the prettiest goal, diving head first at a rebound and sacrificing his body in the face of Terauchi’s clearing attempt, but it reiterated the fact that Sera’s a player who wasn’t blessed with the talent or the physique to be a superstar yet can still contribute within his limitations by working hard. In a way, it was almost an underdog story within an underdog story, so it was nice to see both him and the team rewarded in the best way possible — giving the undefeated Osaka Gunners their first loss of the season. While this may only be sports anime, the uproar from the crowd and just ecstatic celebration from the team was just awesome to take in. It’s a bit of a shame that Sakai didn’t have a role in this game outside of encouraging Sera when he was injured though. In lieu, reserve forward Miyano and midfielder Hotta sure filled in nicely for Akasaki and Sugie after their tying goal.

Ultimately, the most credit goes to Tatsumi and his strategy revolving around Dulfer’s hesitation to switch out Hiraga. By the time Dulfer finally caved that he had to take his captain and Hauer out, it had already become a huge mind game that him and his players had already lost to. There may not have been any sparks in the closing handshake between the two, but it wasn’t hard to sense the frustration in Dulfer’s eyes. The final group shot of ETU on the other hand was simply bad ass and had me really hoping that their eventual rematch will be animated some day. The next and final episode looks like it’s going to be a purely epilogue-type one, with the exception being Akasaki’s invitation to the Olympic team. Somehow, a lighthearted ending with a curry party feels like a good note to conclude things on.

 

Preview

11 Comments

  1. Please God let there be more seasons in the future.

    I want to see the continued rise of ETU, I want to see players like Tsubaki and Akasaki become a National team players, I want to see Murakoshi have his testimonial before retiring, I want to see more antics from Natsuki, I want to see ETU become a player in the race for the championship, I want more Giant Killing.

    Bluth
  2. Gosh!!! just think all the money lost in the underground gambling business this upset did. The odds could be easy 50 to 1… Those additional 4 minutes added at the end did made the difference. I hope next chapter does indeed give us some closure. There are still a couple of story arcs that could have been developed. Also the “regular” season is not over, so a second season of the quarter finals and finals will really be great to watch. Maybe a “friendly” game against the national team with the French coach!! That will make a great four part OVA … sweet

    Island Esper
  3. Man, that’s exactly how awesome real soccer can be, and if a sports anime can convey that, it has hit the point.
    It reminded me of Calcio Catania(my hometown serie A team, therefore my favourite one) vs Inter Milan last march: the superteam (who would go on to dominate championship, home cup and champions league) with the best coach (Josè Mourinho, which I may say could have been an inspiration for the Tatsumi character) versus the proverbial underdog of the tournament, recovering from an abysmal first leg (before coach change we were last).
    In the second half, after a wonderful first half for Catania holding off Inter’s forwards, Diego Milito scores for Inter. After that the closest thing to awesome happened; Maxi Lopez stealing the time to Inter’s defence pack, Mascara scoring a breathtaking penalty and Martinez dribbling the whole defence pack and goalie (Juliio Cesar, the best in Europe last year) to put it in the net for the final 3-1

    tl; dr

    search for “catania-inter 3-1” on youtube and get the chills like i do as i’m even writing this.

    statictravel

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