「ハードに火をつけて」 (Haado ni Hi wo Tsukete)
“Light a Fire Hard”

I don’t think there was any doubt that Takenaka Natsuhi would become more central to the story than as a stepping stone for Tomoka and the others to elevate their game. After all, he provides an outsider’s take on the girls and is quick to call Subaru a lolicon too. What’s new to me is his relationship with Maho — and not Hinata — that’s used to drive the next part of the story.

That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t know how sympathetic I can be about Natsuhi’s problem with Maho after learning what it is. If anything, it just comes down to being jealous that she’s a natural athlete. What I don’t understand is why he has such a big complex about Maho quickly getting bored of something and decided to quit soon after. It’s not like she’s taking his starter position with her halfhearted interest and he’s watching from the bench, albeit that does appear to be the setup for this upcoming inter-class competition. Instead, he’s treating her behavior like a denouncement of his basketball religion, solely on the hunch that she’s not going to take it seriously enough. What’s more, she hasn’t even shown any signs of quitting and he’s already taking the initiative to get her away from basketball. No matter how I look at it, that just reeks of a complex on Natsuhi’s part.

I’m holding out for the possibility that there’s an added reason that Natsuhi hasn’t told us about yet, such as the two of them agreeing to play a sport together and Maho suddenly deciding to quit, shattering his hopes of playing with her. If something like that were to come up, I’d be more understanding of the situation now, even though Maho playing on the girls basketball team doesn’t affect him in any real way. From my perspective, their problem with one another seems overly trivial, but then again, so do most personal problems when viewed from the outside. Because of that, Miho deserves some praise for being as perceptive as she is about their situation and making Subaru help them reconcile, which helps reinforce her image as a teacher even when her appearance doesn’t. Subaru may have inadvertently made some progress, but I gather Natsuhi’s not entirely convinced of Maho’s resolve even after seeing her practice at night and that he’ll be testing her resolve next time.

Overshadowed during the training camp is of course Subaru himself, who continues to mislead the poor girls with his innocent gestures. We’re probably in store for many more moments like that, along with the subsequent misunderstandings, as the series continues to poke fun at the lolicon aspect. When it comes to a young maiden’s heart, the possibility that Subaru will be put “under the gun” is definitely there. Whether he does anything more than blush in response is another matter though. I don’t see it happening, at least not in this adaptation.




  1. Divine,
    You may not be able to sympathize with Natsuhi’s jealousy, but I certainly can, and so can many others. As someone who loves sports but isn’t a “natural athlete”, I had to work my butt off to get good at soccer, while others sped by me without even half the effort. It is extremely frustrating situation, but it’s quite common. Now although taking it out on Maho and trying to sabotage the girl’s basketball team is wrong, simply characterizing it as a complex isn’t fair either.

    1. That may be true, but would it matter to you if those people chose to play soccer or not? The typical scenario you’re describing is what I do see it as — envy towards those who are naturally gifted. I don’t really sympathize with the situation because there’s always going to be someone out there better than you at something.

      There’s also a lot of wasted talent out there. The fact that Maho is playing basketball for the time being shows that she’s doing something with her talent at the very least. It seems odd to tell someone that they shouldn’t give something a try just because you expect them to quit.

      I just don’t see why Natsuhi’s so hung up on what Maho chooses to do.

      1. No, it wouldn’t matter to me if they played soccer or not, since the issue at hand is that they were so much damn better than me without having to really try lol. If they stopped playing I think I’d feel better too… lol. I have to admit that I also don’t see why Natsuhi is expressing his jealousy in a very dumb way and interfering with other people’s lives. It’s none of his business what Maho does and how dedicated she is. I guess that was the complex you were talking about?

        As for your comment that there’s always going to somebody better than you at something, while true, I think it depends on what that “thing” is. Someone could be better 1000000 times better than me at chess or math, I wouldn’t give a flip. God bless them for being lucky and having a gift for that stuff; does things don’t really interest me. But if the thing is your passion, and you work hard at it, it really hurts when someone else comes along and is better than you simply because of the genes they have. It’s natural to have feelings of frustration and helplessness. That’s what I sympathize with. Sorry if I sounded a lil offended in my first post lol.

      2. I Believe it’s what you mentioned “he’s treating her behavior like a denouncement of his basketball religion, solely on the hunch that she’s not going to take it seriously enough” I can completely understand his POV. For example if I wholeheartedly put my heart and soul, blood and sweat and who knows what else into something I love and someone comes along and tries it only to hate or quit or not try to put their soul and everything else into it, I would feel that I rather have them not know about it at all. Of course I understand that my statement here is opinion-based and different people have their different likes and what they consider giving their all. I guess everybody just judges based on their version of commitment.

      3. Personally I have a hard time sympathizing with anything Natsuhi has a problem with. He was pretty well established as a shallow-minded, selfish little boy in the first four episodes, and he basically kept that mind-set until MAYBE the very end here, so I dislike him in general. If he’d bothered to look, he’d have seen pretty easily that Maho was getting good at basketball with her friends and FOR her friends. That’s really not something you just walk away from unless he thought she was gonna walk away from her friends too.

    2. Let’s not lose sight of the fact Natsuhi’s coach told them they could win more and become serious contenders with more court time. So knowing Maho just “plays” and then ditches hobbies, as they illustrated this episode…I can see how he could get the idea her latest little phase is helping piss away his chance for a real championship at the highest level. I think that’s the real source of the vinegar in their relationship. In his eyes it would be infinitely selfish to wreck his favorite thing on a whim for some “fun club” that could go play in some backyard. That’s how i see it.

    3. I LOLZ at hard workers with no talent.

      1. Because hardworkers with no talent will never be the best. It’s those with passion and talent that will always come out top.
      2. If a hardworker with no talent comes out on top. Then at that time in that certain art or sport, there are no talented hardworking players.
      3. Never believe that practice makes perfect unless your talent matches your sport.

      The M0on DOgg
  2. These kids suppose to be 12 right. But they act immature as hell. OK, maybe I’m overstating the obvious, but kids in anime, that 7-15 range, all seem to have no differenting characteristics. They can be as young-looking as they please, smart as a dictionary or dumb as a dip. Maybe that’s why they keep on kicking this lolicon stuff. however, these kids are much more simple than that.

    These kids have to stick out in some way. Natsuhi LOVES basketball & had to work to be good at it. Maho’s just doing it to sympathize with Tomoka, but she’s dilligent as hell about it. So this is basically a non-issue. They really didn’t needed a whole bloody episode to get that across. But Like I said, these 12 yo’s are acting way too immature over this. Half of this episode was those 2 idiots fighting over some silly nonsense, although that anime started with same sort of silly nonsense didn’t it. I just wonder how many more episode are they going to waste on this stuff. Oh well, it’s all good as long as they keep the Subaru junctions flowing.

    1. Not to mention that there’s always a busty girl in the group, whether they’re 1st graders (Kodomo no Jikan) or high school (Lucky*Star, almost any anime ever made). And she’s usually extremely self-conscious about them, probably because one or more other members like to grope them whenever given the chance (depending on how fanservicey the anime is, of course).

    2. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge them. There have been 16 to 20 year olds fighting over the same issues and in the same situations, yet have been unable to resolve them. It’s precisely because that they are 12 year olds that makes their behavior a little more understandable. Besides, it’s a little more refreshing than seeing kids their age go into angst mode, listen to some angsty music and keeping everything to themselves.

  3. You can’t find anymore sources of drama for a grade school basketball anime than bouts of immaturity. Unless you want to see them ‘grow up’ faster under Subaru’s ‘innocent gestures’.

  4. Though I understood where Natsuhi was coming from, it just comes off as forced when he delves into it deeper.

    It’s not like he and Maho were going to join the Monkey bar spinning club after he mastered it and in basketball, they’re on two different teams anyways.

    So yeah, looks like we’ll be getting about 5 more scenes of those girls in the shower rooms. They’re at least quick.

  5. “I’m holding out for the possibility that there’s an added reason that Natsuhi hasn’t told us about yet”

    Dear Divine,
    you are expecting too much in a loli anime. Just enjoy the loli as do all of us(at least I am)

  6. There may be more to Natsuhi’s relationship with Maho than he lets on. Jealousy is one thing. But why does he get so caught up with Maho alone? Whatever he has said so far sounds like an excuse to me. Maybe he isn’t willing to admit the real reason even to himself for some reason.

  7. lol….Natsuhi and Maho relationship is quite weird since not like the girls will be able to defeat the boys in real life..

    I play basketball in real life and was a regular team in high school..even though I’m at uni right now and only playing at social league. I can’t see the reason of jealousy since AFAIK the boy can just play post under the ring and own the girl anyway due to speed and power difference.

    Either the writer does not know about post play or it is just for the sake of the plot…..

  8. I think his problem was frustration because they were close friends. As soon as he caught up to her, she would drop the activity and start something new so they were never on an equal level in anything they played. She would never give him a chance to actually compete with her as equals. That must have really hurt him that she didn’t think of his feelings in the matter.

  9. On the whole, I can sympathise with Natsuhi, but not completely, having been considered by my school team badminton coach several years back that I was one of the hardest workers, but hardly get to play due to a lack of talent. One thing I’m certain it does show is his passion for basketball.

    I’m pretty sure the next episode will show more of the relationship between Natsuhi and Maho so we can all better understand the situation.


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