「オーバーナイト・せんせ～しょん！」 (Oobaanaito sense ~ shon!)
Tomoka, Airi, and Subaru all grow as players, and a couple of unexpected characters do as well.
How Tomoka Got Her Groove Back
Truly, Maho is a genius. Tomoka’s problem was broadly the same as Subaru’s, in that she suddenly didn’t want to lose – though in her case it was externally focused on Subaru vis a vis not wanting to let him down. It was a bit cheesy that she got over this because of a super d’aaawww hand-holding moment they had while she was sleeping over, but I DO NOT CARE D’AAAAWWWWW!! I continue to love the super cute innocent romance in Ro-Kyu-Bu. That said, was it really necessary to get all lovey-dovey on the court, Subaru? Yes it was do it more.
Overdosed on Scary
Come to think of it, there was some similarities in how Airi got over her mental block as well. Whereas Tomoka was supposed to overdose on nervousness enough so that just playing basketball with Subaru would be no problem, Airi basically overdosed on scary. It was heartwarming to see the two siblings fully reconcile and come to understand each other better, but I most enjoyed was that Banri stepped up when she needed someone and said the right thing. If you can deal with your scary onii-chan, then Mayumi ought to be no big deal. Some real character growth for my tall (little) sister.
Subaru Having Fun
As I suspected, Subaru’s problem was that he didn’t want to lose. At first blush that statement sounds stupid. I mean, who wants to lose? Understand though that there is a crucial difference between not wanting to lose and wanting to win. Everyone wants to win, but as soon as you focus on not losing, you become risk averse. You’ll clam up, you’ll get nervous, you won’t act like yourself, and as Natsuhi pointed out, you’ll shy away from trying things that you’re not totally sure about – trying moves that aren’t “perfect” – because they’re too “risky”. But how can you win if you don’t take (calculated) risks? As soon as you focus more on not losing than on winning, you’ve already lost.
Fortunately, Subaru learned his lesson and actually started having fun. I was especially impressed on how he realized that Tomoka could A) see through Suga’s “unnatural” fake (on account of her seeing through Subaru’s unnatural fakes) and B) trusting her to double-team him to take him down. In fact, Subaru depending on his teammates was a much more natural style of play for him. Subaru isn’t a star, even when he’s the best player on his team. He’s too much of a team player for that.
Final thought on this match: I really enjoyed how Suga started having fun himself by the end. Suga might be arrogant, but he’s no longer one-dimensional. He wants a challenge, and he only really respects people who can play at his level. Subaru might not quite be there – at least defensively – but he’s close. Looks like Subaru has a new rival for next(?) season.
It’s always tough to gauge what’s coming up next with this show since the preview never gives much away, but I was struck by the title of the next episode, “Aoi Wins?”. A training camp + a resurgence of Aoi…it could have to do with the fifth graders, but I have a feeling it will be with Aoi as a player instead. Whatever happens, hopefully she’ll do it dressed as a cheerleader! Okay, okay, I don’t really mean that, but c’mon look at her! Damn.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A sleepover + cheerleaders combined w/ a great rematch & a newly two-dimensional antagonist make for a good end to this two ep arc #rokyubu
- I’m glad that Natsuhi came back again. I really enjoy how no characters are wasted in this series. Plus, I just like Natsuhi. A male tsundere is alright too.
- Every scene between Ogura Yui & Hidaka Rina fills me with super-moe. I don’t think I’ll need to eat for a week after this, yum.
- “I won’t run away! I can’t run away!” More evidence that a certain Ikari Shinji would have been much less reviled if he was a cute girl. Which says something about us all, I think.
- All the little girls are Subaru’s partners!
- I love this show.
For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.