This episode was really, really exciting. It’s close matches between heated rivals like this one that make sports anime so much fun!

Rena Shut Down

I cannot adequately describe the relish with which I enjoyed watching Rena get owned. People like her, who complain that something “isn’t fun” just because they’re losing, deserve a smack upside the head. She’s the kind of person who has never really had to try at anything in her (short) life, and she uses disinterest as a defense mechanism. From the standpoint of my marginally longer life, I can tell you how dearly wrong this is. Hard work makes a victory all the better – if you can manage to obtain it.

If I had to critique something, it’s that Rena learned her lesson and integrated with the team awfully quickly. This is one of those departures from reality that I’m fine with though. Sure, it’s not realistic, but if I wanted realism I’d go watch actual basketball. Rena becoming a (partial) team player amped up the tension as Keishin had to face not only Chibi Ribbon and three 6th graders, but Rena and Aya too. A break from reality, yes, but as I’ve said before, realism in fiction is overrated.

Maho Down, 5th Graders Rising

I enjoyed how Subaru’s plan was to exploit Rena’s ball hog tendencies into forcing fouls. Or perhaps that was an unintended side effect – stolen balls and missed shots would have likely been fine too – but being in foul trouble rendered Rena completely unable to guard Tomoka (as if she ever had a chance). I nearly exclaimed aloud when Rena’s last foul ended up injuring Maho though. You injured Maho! You bastard!

It did lead to one of several amazing moments of this episode. Maho was itching to get back in the game, and none other than TsubaHii calls her out for not trusting her teammates. The twins finally beat Maho, in the best way they possibly could – by being team players and dragging her back to her senses when she got lost in the heat of the moment. Also, HNNNNNNG. You’re so greedy Maho, taking both twins for yourself. You need to learn to share.

Maho’s injury did open up a great opportunity though – to finally see the 5th and 6th graders mixing on the court. Between that, the uniforms, and the fact that everyone was cheering as their teammates played, the girls of Keishin are finally a real team.

The Crowd Goes Wild!

Some of the skills these girls exhibited was totally nuts. Rena being able to copy Mimi’s move after seeing it once stretched my suspension of disbelief, and her alley-oop was nearly as unbelievable. Most of the rest of it was just solid good play though, from Hina ducking under the competition to Aya getting up in everybody’s faces and rebounding like a pro.

The moment I loved the most, though – actually it was one of the two best scenes of the episode – was Tomoka’s floater. As soon as she announced the shot she was going to take and Subaru stood up and cheered her on, I literally raised my hands in the air and exclaimed aloud. That’s good foreshadowing! That’s great storytelling! That’s damn exciting basketball, woohoo!!

Buzzer Beater

Many people doubt this show because they think it’s fanservice for lolicons, but as I’ve said many times, it’s actually a good sports anime, and just a damn good story at the end of the day. One hallmark of good storytelling is building up characters slowly over time, and foreshadowing something far before it happens. How many of you, going into the last scene, were consciously waiting for Saki to take the final shot? As soon as they flashed back to the last shot she missed against Suzuridani last season, I instantly remembered it, but up until then I didn’t expect it. Then Masami passed the ball behind her back to Saki, and I knew what was coming.

I doubted it, I’ll admit. I knew she was probably going to sink it, that that’s what was “supposed” to happen, but like good storytellers the studio only gave me a little time to think about it – barely over a minute – so I didn’t have the time to think about it totally rationally. What if they subverted expectations? What if she missed and they lost it after all? But no, Saki shot and Saki scored, and the crowd erupted once again – and by the crowd, I mean I literally cheered aloud. On to overtime, fuck yeah!

Looking Ahead – Overtime

With only one episode left, I honestly don’t know what will happen. Keishin will probably win, but since we won’t be able to see the rest of the tournament, they could just as easily lose. (Or perhaps the rest of the tournament will be saved for a hypothetical season 3.) What I do know is that if they keep up the excitement they showed us this episode, it will be one of the finales I’ll be looking forward to the most.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Rena shutdown, Maho injured, the girls came together, Tomoka flew, & Saki sunk the shot to extend the game. & the crowd goes wild! #rokyubu

Random thoughts:

  • It bears repeating that Aya is a great character for all of her growth, and for how she called Rena out for the coward she was being.
  • Maho x TsubaHii, sittin’ in a tree, h-u-g-g-i-n-g. Wait, what did you think I was going to say?

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




  1. I had a feeling you’d enjoy this episode Stilts, and judging by the longer then usual post you did indeed. It was quite an exciting match it successfully made me the tension all the way up to that final shot, including that flashback to Saki’s game losing brick was a nice touch. Both teams are fighting on the same level but Keishin seems to be fighting a more uphill defense battle, they can keep up scoringwise but seem to have trouble stopping Miyu on defense, in a back and forth scoring game like that all it takes is one botched play for a two point deficit to become an insurmountable four point deficit. Keishin may very well be in trouble here.

    The Green One
    1. Yes, I find it hilarious that the show that was supposed to be my quick-and-easy post of the week keeps ending up being the one I write the most for. It’s still easy, though – the words just flow with episodes this good!

  2. Saki making the shot reminded me the great players not only of basketball, but in all sports that say “I may have missed to score for a championship, but I keep going at it because I believe”.
    The game itself could’ve been narrated by ESPN or NBC, as it was epic, but Rena was stretching the disbelieve all way long. Not only she did and alley-oop, but her Mega Man-esque ability to copy abilities from her rivals is lurdicrous. And while I was glad that she was owned, and bad, her foul over Maho was already her second flagrant (first one courtesy of a fighting Aya), which means automatic expulsión. That should’ve been her real lesson: learn that there’re people better tan you, annoying brat.

    1. I’m pretty sure the rules of mini-basketball aren’t the same as professional. For instance, I’m not sure whether they’re getting 3-points from behind the line. Maybe they are now (I wasn’t keeping track), though I know they weren’t earlier.

      1. I looked up the rules from the FIBA. They’re from 2005, but they should give a basic view of what’s going on.

        A general breakdown:
        – There are no 3-pointers in this game, only 1 and 2-pointers;
        – A player must be on the court during two periods, except in case of injury, of course;
        – A player must be a substitute for one whole period;
        – A player may not commit more than 5 fouls, unless they’re unsportsmanlike fouls, in which case they may only make two before they’re disqualified;
        – There is no overtime. If the score is tied after the fourth period, so be it;
        – Each period lasts 10 minutes.

        There is more, but this is good enough, methinks.

        So, the anime seems to be taking a few liberties here and there, though it needs to be noted that this is a tournament and not a one-on-one match. Plus, the rules might have changed a bit since then.

        Lord of Fire
      2. Well, I would prefer they stuck within the rules if possible, but I can accept/assume that there are different tournament rules, and I can see why they made the changes they did. Good find, by the way!

  3. LOL Once again, Subaru ends the episode by invoking his infamous incriminating quote:

    Elementary schoolgirls are the best!!!111

    I don’t know if Japan has any equivalent to the 5th Amendment, but Subaru really needs to stop giving the anti-lolicon brigade anymore excuses to brand him even further into a world he cannot come out of. :3

    Saki overcoming her demons to accomplish the buzzer beater not only forced the game into overtime and kept Keishin’s hopes alive, she also managed to finally win Masami over, being the first to go and hug Saki. Awwww

  4. I thought I was the only one screaming while watching the episode. Haha! Every shoot and every turnover was so intense!

    So many good things about this episode. First is Rena getting pawned. I enjoyed every second that she can’t do what she wants. Next is Tomoka’s scoop shot! That was so nice. I kinda felt bad when Maho got injured, but yeah she was awesome before she got injured, I mean who can stop that girl? The game was so intense that I was pounding my fists on the table while watching. Here’s hoping for a season 3!! 🙂

  5. I was wondering what the heck Subaru was doing when he subbed Mimi out for Masami. I know they needed more shooters…but why not sub out Hinata instead? She had a few good plays against Rena earlier in the game, but pretty much disappeared into the background since Maho got injured. Best lineup IMAO:
    PG: Saki (best play maker of the team)
    SG: Masami (best 3-point shooter…probably of the whole tournament. Seriously…she hasn’t missed in this game so far)
    SF/PF: While they don’t have the height, Tomoka and Mimi are the most versatile players on the team and are easily able to switch between shooting and driving to the hoop. If there is a height disadvantage, Kagetsu can sub in for Mimi in the PF position
    C: Airi (love the dominant centre she has become :D)

    If my team is losing a close game, that will be the lineout I would throw onto the court, though I might use Maho instead of Masami if need be as I think Maho is a better defender. But not Hinata though…

    1. It’s just an unfortunate consequence of adaptation where source material is left out.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. I think it was pretty much established that its “that” fact of why hinata is a good choice. because she’s the smallest and least noticeable, she can really weave her way in the court.

  6. yep indeed, a rather intense episode of one of the series dubbed as “lighthearted”. glad to see I wasnt the only one feeling the pressure and thrill.
    maho, well I hope she’s gonna recover enough to play again in the extension. perhaps by that time, rena will snap out of being subdued and fight properly now.


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