「お前の声が届くトコまですぐ押し上げてやる」 (Omae no koe ga todoku toko made sugu oshiagete yaru)
“We’ll Get the Ball Over to Where Your Voice Can Reach Us in No Time”
YES. YES. YEEEESSSSSSSS.
I FINALLY GOT MY EXCITING SOCCER MATCH.
It only took nine episodes, but DAYS finally orients the focus on its sport of subject. Going into this show, what I wanted most of all was for some balls-to-the-wall soccer action. However, week after week, we were treated to vapid character arcs and oversaturated exposure to Tsukamoto and how awesome he is.
Well no longer (…at least for now).
That being said, the episode wasn’t flawless by any stretch of the imagination. Despite my intense enthusiasm at the show’s new direction (for now, at least), DAYS still has a lot to go as far as its action is concerned. There wasn’t too much depth or intrigue here. A lot of the beats were pretty straight forward, and failed to really introduce any lasting conflict or hindrances to our heroes. The closing thing we got was that wicked scorer, but the episode didn’t do much but establish him as a general threat at the beginning of the episode. He pretty much faded into the background as the episode went on. As a result, the kind of danger he posed became irrelevant as the match carried on (at least in this episode). Not much concrete action was taking place, though I suspect this will change next week given this episode’s epilogue (what a little fucker this guy is tho, amirite?).
There was also very little emotional investment going on. Usually the show makes an effort to tell us how much this match means to its participants—telling us what’s at stake here for each player. The outcome of the match goes beyond just getting the W, but also vilifying some sense of self-worth of attachment within each individual. They should really really want to win, for various reasons. This provides a level of depth and characterization that keeps the viewer invested beyond just the flashy fun and action. We should really want the win as much as these fictional characters do.
However, there was really none of that here. I mean, we got a taste of it with Kazama, but only superficially so. The show didn’t dive much past “I want to win because I want to win against the best.” This is very much the show’s past mistakes coming to bite it in the ass, for no substantial character development has been made up until now. There wasn’t really a lot to work with here. Going forward, the show has a lot of catching up to do in order to make its matches far more captivating.
That being said, there were certainly a lot of highlight moments. In particular, I’ve always wanted the show to more explore the parallels between the Captain and Tsukamoto. We got a little more of that here, as the Captain’s fondness for the young chap translated into quite an impressive slew of