「智花(キミ)がいるだけで」 (Tomoka (Kimi) ga Iru Dake de)
“Because You’re Here, Tomoka”
After a close game and a tearful conclusion, the unspeakable happened – the girls graduated. They may be middle schoolers now, but this story definitely isn’t over!
Down To The Buzzer
What an exciting last match…is what I would like to say, but aside from two parts, it was mostly a victory lap for the series in general. It wasn’t bad, in fact I found it quite touching, though it did make me realize that, when something plot relevant isn’t happening, the basketball in this show is pretty simplistic. I feel like there are a lot of steals and drives past set defenders, not enough missed shots or set plays (picks, etc). Maybe that’s how mini-basketball works, I don’t know. I mostly just appreciated how they brought back Subaru’s nicknames for the girls, which I’ve always liked for reasons I can’t adequately explain. Fireworks, Innocent Charm, Prismatic Bud, Ice Age, and Shiny Gift…they’ve been through so much! *sniffles*
As for the parts of the match that were exciting (or at least interesting), first was Maho’s duel against Rena. It speaks volumes about Maho’s maturity (and innocence) how she encouraged Rena to give it her all even though most people (myself included) would have taken the advantage or her hesitation and bled her for points. I also really liked how Rena ended up fouling out. After all the crap she pulled, it was good to see her tossed for it – and even better for Maho to pop back up from another tumble with her trademark cheekiness. Loved it!
The other moment was Tomoka’s buzzer beating fade away jump shot for the victory…!! Not. What the hell! *flips table* Bullshit! That was a shitty call and you know it, ref! Can we get an instant replay over here? Someone must have paid him off! Ref gave the game to Suzuridani, GAH!
*cough* Ahem…sorry. So after my initial dumbfounded explosion of disbelief, this actually ended up being a great moment. One of the things I like about sports anime (and by extension, any competition like them…martial arts tournament arcs are another example) is that the protagonists can actually lose. It’s harder to get away with that when the consequences are death, destruction, and/or pain for all the protagonist’s friends and family (or whatever the stakes are in more action-oriented stories), but in sports anime they can lose without too dire of consequences, and that uncertainty makes matches even more exciting. Besides, it did end the series without a dumb montage of the rest of the tournament, and the girls took their loss well. A good ending, even if that ref is still a hack.
A Tearful Graduation
I knew they would ask Subaru to keep coaching them when they went to middle school, but I expected it to be something that Tomoka asked him alone, not a big, tear-filled moment that left even Subaru crying. I’m glad I was wrong! It was a touching moment, and even though it wasn’t the end for them, it showed how much they mean to each other, and it was an appropriate time to reflect on it as they got ready to move onto another stage in their lives. It also means the story could going on!
This just goes to show you that it’s not elementary girls that are the best, but these girls. Subaru definitely knows that. Middle school, high school, college, and beyond…I’ll keep following their story for as long as it keeps going.
“Will you please stay by my side?
Subaruuuu, you effortless casanova yoooou! This has always been one of the things I liked about Subaru, the fact that he’s a genuinely good guy who says all the right things and actually seems to deserve multiple girls falling for him (you bastard). Sure he’s a little dense, but most guys are, myself included. He’s the harem lead that all other harem leads should aspire towards, though if his sleep talking is any indication, there’s only one girl on his mind. “Tomoka…saikou daze…” You finally got it right, Subaru.
Looking Ahead – It All Began…
In case you never caught it, go back and re-watch the OP and you’ll find a tantalizing bit of foreshadowing about this final scene. I’ll admit that I love the old osananajimi trope for reasons I ought to write an MWotA about one of these days, so the revelation that Subaru and Tomoka met when they were younger just fills me with so much D’AAAAAWWWW I think I broke the Squee Chart. (It’s a thing, totally.) And once again, this means the story isn’t over yet! (Edit: apparently it is. Frack!)
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – After a close game & a tearful conclusion, the girls graduate. But Subaru is still their coach, & the story isn’t over yet! #rokyubu END
- The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that Suzuridani won. They had a lot more talent, and it was only Rena’s dysfunction that kept the game so close. Still…that refs a hack!
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: 37.
There are many things I like about this series – the comedy, the endearing characters, the wholesome competition, Subaru inadvertently stealing the hearts of all the girls. The first season left me laughing sometimes, inspired me during others, and constantly kept me looking forward to the next episode, if only to wait for the inevitable day when Tomoka grows up enough for her and Subaru to get together. What can I say, I’m a romantic at heart, and they’re perfect together! They’ll get there someday, just you wait.
Coming into this season, I was hoping it would gives us more of what it did during the first season while expanding the cast with the arrival of the fifth graders. It did that with flying colors. The fifth graders really enhanced the story by giving a larger and more varied cast on the court, as well as by having new character flaws and lessons to learn that the sixth graders were already too mature to need. And the Subaru x Tomoka shipping was still strong! Yes, that’s still my favorite part. So sue me.
Of course, not everything was perfect. As I mentioned earlier the basketball could be a bit simplistic, and some of the arcs were either too short or simply not executed to their full emotional power. What makes up for it all in my eyes – and what makes me like this series, even more so than the aforementioned shipping – is heart. To paraphrase one of my favorite sports movies, you’ve gotta have heart. Miles and miles of heart. These girls have it, and it showed in nearly every episode, from Maho befriending the twins to Airi growing as a player and all the way to Saki making the buzzer beating shot she missed last season. After all the junk each of us deal with in our everyday daily lives, it’s nice to see characters with such innocent heart. It does the soul good.
This show isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. You don’t need to tell a story for everyone, you just have to tell it to the people who will appreciate it, and tell it well. This story was told pretty damn well, and I enjoyed every episode I watched. You could call this my guilty pleasure, but after blogging a season of it I don’t think I can claim that anymore. I’m pretty shameless about it! This is my Shiny Gift, and hopefully we’ll get another season someday, or maybe just an OVA showing the girls in high school or something. Until then, let me paraphrase Subaru – Ro-Kyu-Bu wa saikou daze!