It was a tear-jerker of an episode (at least for my emotional self) as we observe the journey of two brothers breaking down and picking each other up again. Not to mention the unexpected plot twist of Takeda Kouki making the switch to coach which orchestrated the doubles pairing between the Saeki brothers in the first place. Last but not least, the departure of Tatsuru Miyazumi and his parting words to Mikoto Shiratori is sure to leave viewers bamboozled about what he is up to and whether this really is the end for Sunlight Beverage’s ace pair. All of this will be delved into as I give you my take on why certain events are happening and what they mean for the future of Ryman’s Club.
Takeda Kouki’s Surprising Switch to Coach
I must admit, I did not see this coming. Takeda Kouki was a character I was sure would be in the main line-up for the long run as a badminton player, especially judging by the opening theme sequence and the promotional posters. Nevertheless, the entrance of Usuyama Toru has led to drastic changes being made in the team, and Kouki’s decision to quit being a player was his own decision entirely. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing more of his “imagine everyone naked” technique in action on the court. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how he implements his “anti-anxiety” strategies as a coach that the team can rely on. In essence, Ryman’s Club has always been about keeping it real, and I feel despite my disappointment in Kouki’s decision I’m also learning to accept it as a mature and realistic move. We must remember that these players are responsible adults, and sport is about so much more than just being on the court, it’s about making it all happen and helping the team in the best way you can, and Takeda Kouki is the living example of making this sacrifice for a greater cause.
The Saeki Bros. United
As I mentioned, the journey of the Saeki brothers really brought a tear to my eye, likely because it reminded me of my own relationship with my older brother. Sometimes as younger siblings, we don’t understand what goes on in our older siblings’ minds, but often they are fighting battles we can’t exactly relate to. Saeki Souta absolutely melted my heart when he lent a helping hand to his little bro Touya despite the conflicts they were going through regarding their future as a badminton pair. As Tatsuru Miyazumi always says, “the true answer can be found in pointlessness,” and somehow this quote always rings true one way or another. By overcoming the seemingly unrelated challenges involving the redesigning process of one of the company’s products, the Saeki brothers were able to understand each other better. On the one hand, Touya realizes his older brother really does care about him, and on the other hand, Souta realizes just how much his little brother looks up to him and even acknowledges his impressive fighting spirit. I can’t wait to see the Saeki bros in action in the upcoming matches!
Tatsuru Miyazumi’s Decision
He has all the mystery surrounding him now, with speculations of a job promotion, a girlfriend, and even marriage being spread across the company as everyone tries to explain Tatsuru Miyazumi’s recent strange behavior. Putting in half-ass efforts in practice and not having any time to hang out with the boys are sure signs that something is up. As we soon learned, Tatsuru was in fact heading to Osaka for a business trip, though this still did not explain any of his behavior. Moreover, the episode concludes with the words “I’d like to dissolve our doubles team,” leaving both Mikoto and the rest of us viewers in absolute shock. He is perhaps the most enthusiastic badminton player in the entire series and the one who cares most about Mikoto, even taking great pride in his position as a “Badaryman” everywhere he goes.
As someone who loves the thrill of competing as a team and who would do anything for Mikoto, I simply cannot envision Tatsuru disbanding the team for something as trivial as a promotion or a girlfriend. Then again, I’ve been wrong before, especially in thinking Takeda Kouki would be a permanent player on the team. Perhaps the main message of this series is about embracing reality and making the best out of it for a greater cause, as opposed to somewhat selfishly pursuing your individual goals. Tatsuru may well be tempted by a promotion or a girlfriend, however, I would speculate his decision will have some more depth to it, perhaps an offer from an old badminton partner as we saw in the last episode. Whatever it is, Tatsuru seemed pretty adamant about his decision to part ways with Mikoto, so I’m interested to see where this all goes and what it’ll take to actually bring him back, if at all.
Ryman’s Club is getting spicier than ever now, and if you thought about dropping it after the 3 episode rule I’d urge you to keep on going!
Looking forward to the next one!