Another fitting title to the episode as there was certainly plenty of conflict in this week’s Ryman’s Club, particularly with Tatsuru and Mikoto facing barriers to get their special spring onion flavored soda approved by the head of sales. I mean, we are talking about Mikoto’s idea here, the same guy whose favorite drink is natto cola (ew). That aside, there was also plenty of wrestling in this episode, that is, wrestling with the past. We really get to know some of these characters a little better and it’ll be interesting to see how they overcome their past traumas (I’m looking at you two Mikoto and Kouki).
The Way of the Spring Onion
Tatsuru and Mikoto aren’t giving up on the spring onion idea just yet, so in order to spark some inspiration the two have set out to Fukaya where the izakaya chef and spring onion enthusiast will be showing them everything they need to know about this legendary vegetable. As Tatsuru always says, “the true answer can be found in the pointlessness,” and this philosophy is really paying off in his job because the badaryman pair may have just found the combination that will save their proposal with this spring onion and apple combo. While it probably isn’t a major plot point of the series, I feel that this whole scenario in Fukaya had many hidden life lessons you could take away and apply to your own life. Whether it’s seeking more knowledge from your elders, not giving up on a passion or idea, or venturing out into the unknown to find a solution, these are all awesome concepts that we can apply to our daily living and take life to the next level.
Facing your Past Demons
As we learned from the flashbacks in this episode (and there were a few), Takeda Kouki and Shiratori Mikoto are both weighed down by their pasts and are tasked with overcoming their own demons in order to play their best badminton. Unfortunately, Kouki couldn’t quite block out the noise of the audience, a sound he now associates with the trauma of being laughed at by his school when he was turned down by a girl after confessing. There’s still hope for Mikoto to turn things around with his own struggles, but as it looks now he’s gone back to having his play dictated by a paralyzing fear of overhead shots. What’s worse is that this resurfaced fear was triggered by the return of Azuma Tachibana. With the culmination of his past demon staring him down at face value and a whirlwind of complex feelings brewing up, Mikoto will need to work out his feelings about the incident with Tachibana as well as remember where he stands now, and that is at Sunlight Beverage with Tatsuru Miyazumi.
Coach Oono is an Underrated Character
He hasn’t had the most screentime thus far, but coach Yasuomi Oono is definitely the brains of the Sunlight Beverage badminton team and his knowledge of each player’s individual circumstances and motivations is not to be underestimated. This man seems to already know about Mikoto’s trauma, despite Mikoto only opening up about this to Tatsuru. Furthermore, coach Oono was quick to spot Souta Saeki’s lack of inner drive and reliance on skill alone. It was almost like the coach was reading Souta’s inner dialogue just like we as the viewers were during the match. As far as coach Oono’s advice for Mikoto and his past goes, he is well aware that Mikoto will need to “get over it” in order to move forward as a badminton player. I have a hunch that coach Oono will be a very important figure in the episodes to come because he seems to be switched on and knowledgeable about where his team is at and what they’ll need to do to move forward. Hopefully he can dish out some cool one-on-one coaching lessons for each player because that not only would help them all get better but would also be awesome for us as the viewers to get on board with each player’s individual stories and watch how they grow as badarymen!