Yes, the feather in the opening theme song has finally been explained. It is in fact a cherished feather from a badminton shuttle that Tatsuru gave to Mikoto 10 years ago, kind of like the infamous passing of the straw hat in One Piece from Shanks to Luffy. Indeed, Mikoto may well have just had the shock of his life as he flicked through an old notebook from his childhood, only to see the words “When I grow up, I want to be a badaryman!” Realizing the profound impact that Tatsuru has had on his life, Mikoto rushed over to the infamous hippo park to see his badminton senpai in a state of deep reflection. Returning the feather to him now that he himself has become a badaryman, I can’t help but think of this scene as a spoiler for One Piece, as we all await the day that Luffy will return the hat to Shanks after becoming a great pirate.
Going Full Circle
Ok, One Piece references aside, it was interesting to see how in the same way that Tatsuru pulled Mikoto into the world of badminton, Mikoto pulls Tatsuru back into it with the threat of retirement looming over him. Now, the dynamic duo is seeking aid from Tatsuru’s old coach, a specialist in para-badminton, as they find new ways to move around the court without straining Tatsuru’s chronic ligament injury. I find it cool how Tatsuru is always reigniting past relationships on his badaryman journey, whether it was recruiting Mikoto 10 years after meeting him as a child, or seeking help from an old coach that he’s parted ways with. This aspect of Tatsuru’s journey shows the importance of not burning bridges and keeping your support networks intact as much as possible.
Mikoto Is Made For Doubles
No matter how you look at it, Shiratori Mikoto is born to play doubles, and this point was emphasized through his singles match with Ibuki Sentarou (Ryoutarou Okiayu), who took the practical approach to show Mikoto the error of his ways when he stated he’d start moving towards singles play. There’s no doubt, Mikoto sports a rather risky style of play that simply does not work in singles because of the lack of a backup player. Hence, he can’t truly enjoy badminton in singles play the way he does alongside partners like Azuma or Tatsuru. Again, we see the whole “full circle” concept of this series in motion as Mikoto begins his badminton career as a doubles player with Azuma, continues to go through the dark ages as a singles player who was not having fun nor producing results, to now enjoying badminton again and producing results alongside Tatsuru. If there’s any phrase that really describes what Ryman’s Club is all about, I’d say it’s that “what goes around comes around.”
With the golden pair back at it again and training with a new regime, Ryman’s Club continues to deliver a unique aspect to sports anime not quite seen before. The concept of taking the initiative in one’s training and making responsible “adult” decisions are just some of the concepts that separate this show from the classic high school anime tropes. I also love seeing the badminton team face their daily work challenges alongside their post-work badminton duties as it adds an extra layer of dynamics to the show that goes beyond just sport. Indeed, Ryman’s Club is truly living up to the “badaryman” life by giving us a more realistic portrayal of everyday work-life balance that more people can relate to on a personal level.