「愚か男(もの)」 (Oroka Otoko (Mono))
“The Stupid Man”

The fifth-graders are all but forgotten this week, which might have annoyed me if they didn’t serve up a basketball-and-romance filled episode full of Tomoka, Airi, and – here’s the surprise – Subaru actually getting to play! I’m glad the latter two are finally getting some spotlight on the court.

Subaru’s Rival

By far the biggest surprise was that Subaru got to seriously play for once. He usually just goes around being the super suave coach who knows everything (or at least, more than his young team), so seeing him actually on the court and then lose to his old rival Suga Ryuuichi (Asanuma Shintaro) was a nice change. Speaking of, I’m surprised that Suga actually remembered Subaru. I would have expected a self-centered player like him to not even pay attention to the players on other teams (or his own), but I guess Subaru was good enough to get on his radar.

Unfortunately, Subaru ended up losing, and experiencing a temporary loss of confidence as a result. Key word there being temporary, because thanks to a combination of Aoi and Tomoka, he was back and planning a rematch within a day. I’m definitely excited to see more of him in a real game. I have to wonder though, how does he expect to dust off the cobwebs in time to beat Suga, organize and play in the new club he and Aoi are starting, and still coach Tomoka and the others? That seems like a lot, and when you try to do it all, you’re liable to end up failing at some or all of it. Though this is fiction, so maybe Subaru will pull through okay.

Tomoka’s Slump

Tomoka was once again the focal point of the episode’s romantic sub-plot, which is exactly how I like it! First of all, I have a feeling that the reason Tomoka was so off during that match was because suddenly, she was playing against a team she didn’t want to lose to no matter what (for Subaru’s sake), which made her nervous and she tried too hard and that destroyed the relaxed, practiced competency she had. What’s that saying about tightening your grip? Something to do with star systems. Anyway, she probably just needs to relax.

Cue the bath scene, oh my! Refer to the random thoughts section below (or my twitter feed) for my reactions, but let me just say that I was both laughing my tail off and squeeing like a schoolgirl at that entire scene. I don’t know why he even let her in, but when they took each other’s hands… *runs around screaming in glee* This show, seriously!!

Lion-Airi Needs Courage

I’ve always liked Airi, and I feel like she’s one of the most underutilized characters. Partially this is because I can relate to her. Despite my enormous height (6’7″, or 200cm), I was never a particularly good center when I was younger because I wasn’t very aggressive. Not scared like Airi, but I know that not being forceful as a center can be a major handicap, and that someone like Odaka Mayumi (on the left, Tatsumi Yuiko) can really ruin your day if you don’t push back against them move-for-move. This has always been our gentle giant’s tall girl’s greatest weakness as a center.

Fortunately, it looks like her onii-chan Kashii Banri (Hamada Kenji) is here to help. After punching Subaru for being the “pervert coach” that was “terrorizing” his imouto (all only partially true, I assure you Banri-kun!) – which was friggin’ hilarious, by the way! – it was sweet to see him reconcile with his imouto a little. Now she’ll have a coach that can help her get over her meek attitude and become more confident on the court. But the best part? When he got all nervous meeting the elementary schoolers, and Maho called him out on it. Now you know why Subaru ends up in those situations, my friend!

Looking Ahead

Rather than a united plot where everything is focused on one thing, this season (and more broadly, this entire series) is more of a collection of unrelated challenges. I’m not sure how common that is in sports anime, but most of the ones I’ve seen have usually centered around a goal, like a tournament or Koshien or something. The reason I say this? Well I assume that next week will have more on Subaru, Airi, and Tomoka’s situations, but who could say! Well, except one thing – that sleepover with Tomoka and Subaru is almost certainly going to be amazing. Maho, you are my hero for setting this up!! *hurls money at the screen. Blu-Rays pop out*

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Subaru loses, Airi reconciles, & Tomoka makes advances like love is going out of style. I expected none of this & enjoyed it all! #rokyubu

Random thoughts:

  • Wait, so middle school students are adults now? That doesn’t sound right to me…
  • He’s actually letting her wash his back!? Maybe he is a pervert coach after all. Or Tomoka is just his destined waifu :3
  • “Subaru-san, it’s huge. It’s quite huge. Your…back.” OH MY!
  • “So please let me stay by your side!” OH MY OH MY SHIPPING SO HAAAARD!!
  • Little girl, big bangs. That’s how Ro-Kyu-Bu! rolls.
  • “Can I s-stay here t-tonight?” OH MY OH GODS OH MY OH HNNNNNN– *Stilts dies. Worth it*
  • I’ll be out of town this coming weekend, so expect the post on episode five to appear next Tuesday at the earliest. Thank you for your understanding.

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 06, 08, 12, 15.




  1. How is Tomoka’s father not raging at this point? She’s in elementary school and she just happens to magically disappear for the night to her coach’s house.

    I’m just freaking out hoping that this doesn’t unravel to bite Subaru in the butt next year when presumably his school’s basketball team gets reinstated.

    Michael Chang
    1. $10 says that she either said she’s sleeping over at Maho’s house and Maho is covering for her (it was her plan, after all), or Tomoka’s mother is covering for her, since she’s a total shipper on board for Tomoka x Subaru. But yes, if he found out… *shudder* Potentially very not good!

      1. Well, even if he found out. I doubt he’d be able to do anything. My guess is that Tomoka’s mother is probably the one who has control. And since she totally ships her daughter x Subaru…. hehehe 😛

  2. The only reason Suga won was because he travelled. He was way past Subuaru when he started his dribble. It was obvious in Aoi’s explanation of the jab step. You clearly see Suga lifting his pivot foot way before he puts the ball down.

    1. Perhaps true, but I’ve noticed a lot of leniency in the traveling rules, at least at the pro and college levels. Probably because it seems like a “lame” penalty that breaks the flow of the game, I don’t know.

      That said, if someone works traveling into their “killer move”…well, that’s something different. Or it should be.

      1. It was so blatant that I doubt even Kobe would have gotten away with it. But don’t mind me that’s just the basketball fan in me reacting to a bad call being made against my home team(and going in the way of that smug Suga.)

  3. I know this series has almost no pretense for reality, but no one that young should be on a workout machine like that. That’s just asking for massive physical damage.

    Now, back to your regularly schedule HHHNNNGGG moments.

  4. Well, Subaru losing was something expected. Not even a certaain Michael Jordan was able to win right away after his first retire. The kid just need to shed off a Little rust and he’ll be back in the game in no time.

    1. Who is “Subara”?

      Anyway is Airi even allowed to use a workout machine like that? Sure she has the body size, but is that enough to say it’s ok?

      Also I don’t want too see muscles on my lolis.


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