「僕は天才じゃない」 (Boku wa Tensai ja nai)
“I’m No Prodigy”
It’s finally happened, our boy joined the water polo club! While not the most exciting plot point, I mean, it’s a water polo anime so everyone saw this coming, but I still think it was executed very nicely. We got a little more intimate with some key characters, and the world-building seems to be coming together. Above all else, we’ve had our first glimpse at some water polo action!
Fueled by a challenge with water polo athlete Chinu, Minato is back on the scene to fulfill his promise. Team captain Jou Joujima (Subaru Kimura) (Jojo reference maybe?) and Eitarou Oka (Koutarou Nishiyama) welcome him with open arms. As the hunt for new recruits gets underway, Jou and Eitarou get carried away using Minato’s status as a former champion to grab attention towards the water polo club. A crowd of hyped students arrive, only to get disappointed and leave at Minato’s infamous “I’m no prodigy” line. At this point, we are introduced to the tall, kind half-Nigerian Yutaka Babayaro Inomata (Tasuku Hatanaka), and the much smaller, withdrawn Yoshiharu Ushimado (Daisuke Hirose), the only two students to hang back after Minato’s confession.
With the addition of the passionate and athletic Takekazu Eijiri (Makoto Furukawa), the water polo team has reached six members and will need one more to be complete. I think we all know who the last member is going to be (not even a spoiler, he was in the opening…)! Perhaps the most iconic scene, in my opinion, was the epic jump from Minato into the pool to symbolize the reboot of his water polo career. Despite his severely extinguished muscles, Minato is happy to be back in the pool. A team of unique individuals is banding together to realize the dream of winning the high school water polo championships.
Jou Joujima is the Unsung Hero
As it now stands, Jou Joujima is easily the best player on the team. His relentless hard work and dedication to the sport he loves most were inspirational, to say the least, even bringing tears to his eyes (and mine) as he told us his story. Without this quirky, bubbly, and optimistic character, there may well be no water club. In a school where the sport was very much being forgotten, Jou was putting in the hard yards maintaining the pool, training his body, and keeping the club alive with his constant marketing of water polo across the school. And he did this all by himself.
Looking ahead, I feel Jou is going to be a very special character in this series. He is the glue that brings people together, and his love for the sport is unmatched. His months spent alone at the water polo club are what give him great compassion for his friends, and I believe he will be the one to lift the team when they hit their biggest challenges. Jou’s burning desire to get a team together was highlighted towards the ending of the episode. When Takekazu makes the intention to quit after saying he joined the club for ulterior motives, Jou responded with a passionate roar “I don’t care about your motives!” and managed to convince him to stay. Emotional stuff aside, Jou is easily the most athletic, well-built, and skillful member of the six, and there’s no doubt he’s a force to be reckoned with in the pool.
On that note, I think Minato will eventually reach his prime once again, however, this series is definitely more about the journey than the destination. I wouldn’t be surprised if our boy starts to slowly regain his memories as he plays water polo, and perhaps we will see a gradual unwrapping of his talents to go along with it. My prediction is that Minato and Jou will have a special relationship moving forward, almost like that of a master and apprentice. Also interested to see how the other characters develop throughout the series, such as the remaining team members and even Chinu. Once again, MAPPA is doing an incredible job with the animation and delivery of this series, and truly bringing RE-MAIN to life.
Looking forward to the next one!
ED: 「壊れた世界の秒針は」 (“Kowareta Sekai no Byoushin wa”) by (Shugo Nakamura)