「合宿ザムライ」 (Gasshuku Zamurai)
“Training Camp Samurai”
Turns out Leo was British. The Men in Black threw me off, since that’s more of a trope for American secret services, as opposed to British ones. Nevertheless, we find out that contrary to any expectations of Leo being a gymnast, he’s a top tier ballet dancer who’s run away from the demands of that life – for reasons that have yet to be explained. Though flashbacks during his conversation with Tetsuo suggest that he mentally struggled against the pressures of being on top.
More importantly, there’s a time limit on Leo’s stay in Japan. He was able to secure an extra six months. But his supervisor expects him to return for real in January. So that parting will be inevitable. Let’s see what difference Leo can bring to the lives of Jotaro and Rei in the little time he has left to spend with them. And whether he will actually embark down the path of gymnastics at any point – which is the development which I’m expecting.
The Training Camp
When we saw how Tetsuo easily outperformed the Japanese athletes, Liu created a similar gulf between himself and Tetsuo. That’s something I really liked. Because it reminded me of an incredible moment from the past. Perhaps not as awesome as the scene where Kong Wengge sent Peco to the cleaners in Ping Pong the Animation, but a throwback all the same.
It gives us a sense of the clear direction Tetsuo and Jotaro have to take in order to win anything. Even if one of them rises to the top of Japan, another mountain exists out there for them to surpass. Also, I can concur with Liu’s sentiments, that Tetsuo is a truly talented boy who can one day have the potential to reach the pinnacle of gymnastics. Sure, Jotaro rediscovered the Aragaki. And I can appreciate that he continues fighting because of his sheer love for gymnastics. But I hope that we don’t see some kind of asspull where Jotaro draws upon hidden talent he never knew he had, to suddenly discover his prime year as an athlete in his 30s and win a gold medal out of nowhere over Tetsuo or Liu.
As much as I like him as a character, that would make for a disappointing conclusion. It would be more interesting (in my opinion) to see him fail, re-evaluate his bearings and wind up becoming a mentor to Tetsuo and Leo – who go on to achieve success under his guidance and tutelage. It would definitely be bittersweet for Jotaro. But I’m confident it would give him the chance to demonstrate development as a character, and still reach a deeply fulfilling terminus.
The Japan-China camp ends with success. Though I didn’t expect relations between these nations to be so friendly, given historical contexts. And while it’s another country altogether, Korean fans committed suicide at the 1988 Olympics when the Japanese team defeated the Korean team in the semifinals for a sport. Though Taiso Samurai is a fictional piece, so I can imagine where certain liberties were taken to maintain a rather wholesome storyline.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. I look forwards to finding out what Jotaro’s Aragaki Mark II will entail, how it will measure up to the competition and whether his body can hold out against the strain. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!