It was the episode we needed for plot progression and character development. Seeing Azuma’s side to the story and the whole history between him and Mikoto getting resolved was great to see and a good way to close off that chapter of the story. I will say though, I didn’t think we’d see this much progression so soon as I assumed the issue of Mikoto’s PTSD with hitting overhead shots was one of the core aspects of the story as well as his broken partnership with Azuma. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out from here, as all the information we’ve received from the preview trailers and synopsis has now been covered in the anime. I for one am more excited about this series now because I’ve always been more interested in the relationship between Mikoto and Tatsuru and the whole ‘Badaryman’ journey they’ve embarked on as partners.
Never make assumptions
There’s no doubt, much of Mikoto’s trauma and anxiousness he’s been experiencing since the incident with Azuma was self-inflicted. As we now know, Azuma never once blamed Mikoto for knocking him down, as it was his own recklessness to prove himself that ultimately led to his injury. Indeed, it was a moment where Azuma lost touch with the team aspect of doubles badminton as he strived for individual success without even considering his partner’s actions. Naturally, the player in the front can’t see behind him, so it’s common sense that the player at the back needs to be wary of his partner’s movements and whereabouts in order to cover him.
Of course, the poor (but foolish) Mikoto decided to blame himself for it, and as we know he got nowhere in his badminton career with so much trauma and emotional baggage on his shoulders. Instead of inquiring with Azuma about how he felt and seeking the truth, Mikoto made the wrong assumption that Azuma blamed him for everything and that it was his fault. It happens all the time in the real world, with too many presumptions and miscommunications that result in a void of understanding and the downfall of relationships. Talking things out can often solve so many issues, and this is even true on a world politics scale. Fortunately, the notorious drunk Mikoto was able to convey his true feelings to Azuma in a heartfelt moment of pure honesty and emotion, and judging by Azuma’s iconic face touch, I’d say things worked out for the best.
Why Tatsuru is the OG
One of the most awesome things about this show and a top 5 reason to watch it is that the real plot is not shown at all during the preview trailers and plot synopses. In fact, you will need to ensure you do not skip the post-credits scenes because they give big hints to the true nature of the plot. We were led to believe that the situation of Mikoto and Azuma would be the main compass in which the series would navigate, but instead, it went a completely different direction. This turn is driven by the one and only Tatsuru, who we’ve all come to assume was a new person who had entered Mikoto’s life by chance (that’s why we never make assumptions!!). Instead, we learn through the post-credits scenes that the two have met long ago, and Tatsuru is the reason Mikoto plays badminton in the first place.
It’s an incredible story, to say the least, portraying the cyclic nature of life and how things can come full circle to carve out one’s destiny. At this point, it makes sense that Tatsuru was the one to scout and recruit Mikoto into Sunlight Beverage, and it also makes sense that he’s been waiting for the day that they are able to play together. In the post-credits scene of this week’s episode, Tatsuru mentions he is glad they could play together “before it’s over,” likely alluding to his possible retirement from badminton or the fall from his peak. Indeed, what makes Ryman’s Club such an amazing series is the unique partnership of a young man with natural gifts and an older man who is a seasoned veteran with all the experience and wisdom of a long ‘Badaryman’ career under his belt.