「ラストパス」 (Rasuto Pasu)
“Last Pass”

Three episode rule or not, I’m still not sure where I stand with Area no Kishi even after four.

I certainly wasn’t surprised to find out that Grey was Nana – that seemed pretty obvious to me from the first time we saw her. But the much more interesting question is this – how did she know Kakeru was going to start practicing at the park that very night? Has she been staking out his house, Yuno-style, waiting for him to appear with a soccer ball? Hanging out at the park every night, hoping he’ll show up? I hope it’s not the latter – even in a country as safe as Japan that’s not a very good idea for a middle-school girl.

I’m not entirely thrilled with the metaphysical angle the series seems to be taking. This whole business of “The Heart Speaks” – organ transplant recipients taking on the behavior of the donor… I know there are people who believe in that sort of thing and I always try to keep an open mind, but I would say that such a belief is pretty far outside the realms of anything medical science can tell us today. I think the concept of Suguru living on through his brother is a valid and even powerful dramatic device, but I’d much rather see it inferred in the odd glance here, the silent memory there (think of the way Adachi used Akane to suggest Wakaba in Cross Game as an example of what I mean). I really think treating it so literally as the series seems to be intending to do sucks a lot of the drama and poetry out of the notion, and it doesn’t help that the psychiatrist Mine-sensei is coming off as a bit of a crackpot, and not a very likable one at that. This whole plot point would seem to have much more potential as symbolism than literalism.

Be that as it may, the cat is out of the bag now and however Area no Kishi deals with the idea, it’s clearly here to stay. I think Nana was definitely out of line in telling Kakeru that the heart in his chest is Suguru’s. She certainly didn’t know he would take the news, and at the very least that’s something for his parents to decide – though she meant well, and in any case I think telling him at some point is the right thing to do. After an initial shocked reaction and a lot of tears, Kakeru seems to have turned the corner and decided that he’s glad to have his brother’s ticker – helped along by a chance meeting with Brazilian U-15 star and Suguru-friend Leonardo Silva (Shiratori Tetsu – please note that the name is not “Silver” as the Crunchyroll subs had it) at Suguru’s grave. Leo told Kakeru that Suguru had shared his view that Kakeru was the “Knight in the Area” he’d dreamed of – and when Kakeru finally breaks down and reads Suguru’s diary later, he confirms this with his own eyes and the meaning of Suguru’s “Last Pass” is rather poignantly revealed.

It appears that Kakeru (how about that cool referee’s whistle ringtone?) is off to Enoshima High School next week, and we’re in for a major time skip. I haven’t read ahead in the manga but I was certainly under the impression that the middle-school arc lasted much longer that this – perhaps it’s a concession to scheduling realities that Shin-Ei is aware of but we’re not (I still haven’t seen an official episode count, which leads me to believe it’s undecided – early ratings have been low, but the manga saw a huge increase in sales last week). Joining him there will be Nana, which leads me to hope that we see some romantic development – Kakeru and Nana together are my favorite part of the series so far – and that Enoshima has a girls’ team. Because unlike hardball, soccer is a sport that girls can pursue all the way to the World Cup and professional ranks in a big way if they have the talent. Also at Enoshima is going to be Araki Ryuichi (or?), the same age as Suguru was and possibly as great a playmaker – a “Fantasista” as Suguru called him, the Italian term for the great #10s who act as a conductor for the orchestra on the pitch. Araki indeed looks to be the new King to Kakeru’s Knight…




    1. Yup I am pretty sure thats him. although you need to wonder how in the world he got that fat in one year or so since suguru’s memories. Getting someone really skilled but quit the game or something is rather common in sports series.

  1. lol If that is Araki in the preview, that would be hilarious. Though he does seem to have Araki’s haircut if it was tied back, he’d need to start working out now (or maybe that’s a flashback of his – and he’ll go through a whole “soccer helped me lose weight” story lol).

    And as much as I’d like to see Kakeru and Nana end up together, it seems a bit wrong to me since she seems to be seeing Suguru in Kakeru. If she keeps that up I wouldn’t want her to end up with him. Besides, wasn’t Kakeru a great soccer player in the first place (enough that his brother wanted him to be in the pros with him in the future) so I hope she also doesn’t keep thinking that his skills are a result of the heart transplant. After his brother’s death, Kakeru probably just gained some new confidence, which he really lacked before.

  2. I’m at least glad that they did not have Kakeru wallow in dispair and guilt for a couple episodes. This way he’s back on his feet and walking down the path we all know he’s going to go down.

  3. I really want to know what Divine thinks of how Area no Kishi has been, his thoughts of the manga made me check this show out. I’m really not liking the supernatural angle at all, it feels so out of place.I’m glad the characters are still likeable though.

  4. When the shrink busted out “The Heart Speaks” book, I felt compelled to google it and what do you know its actually a real book. Further digging tells me about the cellular memory theory. Some people actually try to research it. Although most of it is just anecdotal evidence. I can’t blame the psychiatrist lady for taking it seriously. Fictional science can be intriguing, like time travel, teleportation and aliens. Even some sci-fi ideas became reality eventually because people believed enough to try.

    To me, the brothers memories literally living on inside Kakeru is far more interesting than the whole cliche spiritual and inspirational, love-hope-courage, symbolic version of it. I don’t think it always has to be dramatized in that way. The metaphysical take on it sets it apart from Adachi’s work. Besides, it’s a crazy yet plausible reason for Kakeru to power-up suddenly.

    Oh and concerning Seven showing up at the park conveniently, I’m sure she practices soccer at night herself since she doesn’t do it during the day. She has to keep her skills sharp somehow. And Suguru did tell her about Kakeru secretly practicing. There’s no mention of it, but it could be every night.

    Chillax Mang
  5. They’ve already deviated from the manga, and skipped a lot of chapters

    Comparing both manga and anime. I can say that what the anime did is better. However, I would’ve prefered to see more of the ‘previous’ characters. It’s as if they’ve been completely forgotten.

    That being said, I’m happy that my worst fears, regarding this anime, won’t come true (Suguru-trance-device happening more frequently than the manga).

  6. I really love what I have watched so far! I really like the whole brother’s heart thing 😛 Sure it doesn’t sound that realistic, and I don’t either want to trade my heart with Messi’s or Ronaldo’s heart, though being a international football player would be great…

  7. The reason why Nana knows about Kakaru’s practice habits is that Suguru told her about it and asked for her help in helping Kakeru improve. I read the manga and that’s how I know. The anime skips a lot of parts.

      1. Sh waited every single day… or she had Kakeru parents tell her. Who knows. I’d think it would be the rather. Who knows, either way that’s shoddy plot devices for you… all I can say it was chance by fate, coincidence and moved the story along.

        Sora no Kaze
      2. “How did she know he was going to practice that night?”

        In the manga she knows because she asked the doctor to tell Kakeru to practice a bit of football everyday to keep his physical condition.

        Unfortunately, in the anime it doesn’t make sense because they’re cutting out all the scenes that connect the plot. It’s a pretty shitty adaptation really. The writer obviously sucks.

      3. Oh yeah… that’s true she did say that in the Manga… I can’t say that I like how they cut out the final game they played at middle school either. It’s a very important arc, especially in showing how much Kakeru trained and wanted to fulfill there dreams together as well as convincing Leonardo Silver to stay in Japan.

        Sora no Kaze
    1. but in the anime didnt suguru told nana at the cafe that she should help kakeru to improve? and also he told her that kakeru is secretly practising in the park. So she knew that hes there to practise ^^ the question is why she knew that hes going to practise at that very night … i would suggest that nana knew that kakeru is going to practise again after he met silv(a)er at his brothers gravestone so she just had to check from time to time the park after this meeting ._. and i think it wasnt neccessary that she had to meet him at his very first training in the park … it is my thought on how to explain this but its still very strange xD (I didnt read the manga >.>)

  8. I’m with Enzo on this. I’m not sure where I stand at this point. I keep wondering if some people are just going to say “well he has Suguru’s heart, so that’s why he’s good” I don’t want to see him play, then the critical moment comes and he goes into ‘Suguru Mode’ for the shot – that’s just weak and would undermine the character.

    Also, does Seven like Kakeru or Suguru or what? It’s extremely nebulous and almost seems like Seven like Suguru through Kakeru. I don’t know at this point.

  9. Yeah, the heart thing is just weird. I follow the manga, and I must say that while Area no Kishi does a lot right, if you’re comparing it to a masterpiece like Cross Game, it’s not going to fulfill your expectations. It’s not nearly as subtle or well thought out, and the romance is undeveloped, but it’s still a really good sports drama.
    Oh and the fat guy… Show Spoiler ▼


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