Indeed, the core principle of the Badaryman way is comradeship, whether it’s in the office or on the court, these badminton playing salarymen have each other’s backs no matter what. It seems the pattern is staying true to itself as each episode interchanges between a salaryman episode and a badminton episode, and I can attest they are equally entertaining. With the plight of the green spring onion soda hanging in the balance, Tatsuru, Mikoto, and the rest of the team at Sunlight Beverage do everything they can to prepare for the tasting session, but not everything goes as planned.
From losing the supplier receipts to a wrong shipment and the constant pessimism of a very persistent financial officer, Mikoto’s spring onion flavor proposal had its life on the line, to say the least. However, it’s in the darkest of times when people’s characters are tested, and decisions need to be made whether to give up or keep striving forwards. As expected from the badminton team, giving up is never an option, so they fight tooth and nail to get Mikoto’s proposal through and let’s just say the team’s cohesion is getting better and better with each unique challenge they face.
As we’ve seen on multiple occasions throughout this series, when it comes to tackling a new challenge, everyone has a certain role to play in building the solution that is born through their unique strengths. The older and more experienced Tatsuru is a great project manager and “outside-the-box” thinker, effectively delegating tasks to the group and even coming in clutch with the phone call to Azumi to bring in the tasting samples at the last moment. Of course, Mikoto was heavily involved in the process of tracking down the receipts, channeling his hot-temper in a productive way by demanding answers from different departments and even using his intuition and foresight abilities to realize the storeroom manager was not telling the whole story about where the receipts were being kept.
The final presentation was the ultimate test, as the Badaryman team was faced with the challenge of convincing the president and, even worse still, the financial officer that their proposal for green onion soda was feasible and a worthwhile investment. Ex-badminton player and quality-assurance analyst Toru Usuyama came in clutch with the numbers indicating the spring onion flavor’s 89% success rate at the tasting session to win the financial officer over. It was a poetic moment where someone who had left the Badaryman life was now doing a solid for the team, despite initially trying to cancel the event due to an issue in QA. It was also great to see Takeda Kouki overcome his public presentation fears by using a tip he took from one of his badminton opponents: “just imagine everyone naked,” then proceeding to absolutely smash the presentation and back up Mikoto who didn’t save his document.
Despite all the different things happening in this episode and the many symbolic lessons involved, I believe the most important takeaway from it all comes back down to Tatsuru’s motto from day 1: “the true answer can be found in the pointlessness.” Throughout each episode, whether it’s a badminton one or a work-related salaryman one, we are reminded of this notion as things always seem to work out in the most unlikely of scenarios. What looks absolutely irrelevant or pointless on the surface quickly becomes the ultimate answer to every minuscule issue going on, and I believe this to be the true theme of Ryman’s Club.