「ドッジボール大作戦」 (Dojjibōru Daisakusen)
“The Great Dodgeball Plan”
I remember as a kid, I hated playing dodgeball with a passion because I always felt like a cow lined up for slaughter. Indeed, that monster of a kid practically slaughtered the other team-I would not want to face off against him. The first grader with the body and voice of a grown man was ridiculous, perhaps a little too much so for me- though I can see the humor of a huge man in a kid’s school uniform. The whole training scene on the playground was also worth a chuckle. It gives you a peek into the mind of a child-what looks like climbing playground equipment, in their minds is actually a Lord of the Rings worthy embattled journey.
Anya’s mind-reading power can finally be useful for something in dodging those throws in the tournament. She looked really cool and I was rooting for her to take down the other team. Ultimately-as usually happens whenever Anya tries to use her powers-her powers don’t help her much in the end. No matter how well she dodges, her natural clumsiness gets the better of her. That throw with the killer lead-in that ultimately fell short was very funny. Also very descriptive of Anya’s experience. If she were to take a leaf out of Twilight’s book in reading people to manipulate them and a page out of Yor’s book in learning mad fighting skills, she could be a true terror. The fact that she doesn’t know how to use her powers and always has her head in the clouds makes her endearing in a way.
I find it entertaining to see Anya fumble her way through her mission and somehow succeed (or at the very least, not get expelled) by the skin of her teeth. I find it adorable how head over heels Damian is for her-to the point of even taking a hit for her. I don’t think Twilight has anything to worry about-that friendship plan may end up working out better than he could have imagined. In spite of the appearance he puts on, I think he does have a heart deep down-one that is wounded by his family situation.
Damian is truly just the second son-taking second place to his talented older brother. His family doesn’t even bother to show up for his entrance ceremony. I think he sees in Anya a warmth he longs for but doesn’t get at home. Of course, her irreverent treatment of him and her courage also catch his eye. There is definitely plenty of comparison and contrast between the two. Unlike Anya whose “father” at least gives the appearance of taking an active interest in her, Damian’s father doesn’t. Not to mention that he is always being compared to his older brother, even by his own minions. Like Anya, Damian has the pressure to reach for the stars to impress his father.
I have to give Loid credit for finally taking a hands-off approach-stepping back to allow Yor to handle Anya’s training instead of micromanaging everything. He’s finally learned his lesson (I hope) that multiple heads can be better than one and recognizing Yor’s strengths. Either that, or he’s just so worn out he doesn’t care this time around.
While none of the teams won the Stella star that was never up for grabs in the first place (those rumors had to have been planted on purpose), Team Anya does catch Henderson’s eye. Stellas aren’t a purely academic award, with the option to win one through meritorious deeds. To that end, the loyalty and bravery of Anya, Damian, and Damian’s henchboys certainly grab Henderson’s attention. Team Anya was the only one to show self-sacrifice in the name of friendship. This gives a strong hint at Anya and Damian perhaps getting another shot at the Stellas-if they can form a truce on the bickering.