So Tsukumoto is the team Princess it seems. He is the comic relief, the inspiration, the underdog and younger sibling to many or all of the club members.
While he may be good at running, Tsukumoto still sucks at plenty of other things. He cannot kick, block, steal or pass. Scoring is completely out of question. He can barely score against an empty net.
When you watch this show there’s almost 2 ways you are watching it. Much like old Disney movies, there’s a kiddie way to interpret things, and then an adult way, where you see the motivations and aspects in the background influencing everything.
For example, Kazama exudes an aura of effortless skill. No one really sees him practice. But Tsukumoto walks in on him practicing alone in the dead of night. Kazama lies and says he’s just messing around with the ball cause he’s bored. Tsukumoto appears to believe him, and all moves on. But as a viewer you understand that Kazama isn’t effortlessly skilled, he works hard at night and in secret to appear a natural. Its hard work to be naturally skilled. He goes through an internal monologue about how playing soccer became a chore, but not with Tsukumoto.
Mizuki, the captain of the soccer team also has some interesting things to say about soccer and Tsukumoto. Apparently Mizuki, the well known and supposed ‘best player in Tokyo’ started off playing in highschool and sucked big time, just like Tsukumoto. That does explain why Mizuki declared Tsukumoto would be the captain soon last episode, but its still pretty..sweet, if that makes sense.
Most sports animes don’t have a character who sucks then achieves greatness, other than the protagonist. The protagonist has that impact, that buildup of hype and emotion. With Mizuki having gone through this as well it feels like almost a 2nd Generation season then. That’s not a bad thing, it just adds a new element not often seen.
Now in a scrimmage, Tsukumotos first game with the team, he sucks. Royally. But he looks like he’s having fun. He is running, falling, but smiling the whole time.
The third character this episode goes through an emotional monologue, about how playing with Tsukumoto is fun. He truly is the princess of the team.
Despite the older members of the team scolding the first years for being so inefficient in their running, they win the game. Members of the opposing team scoff and claim they couldn’t play properly because Tsukumoto was too comical. Seiseki teammates are quick to dispel that. They were bitter because they lost to Tsukumoto.
The pacing of the episode is kind of fast. There’s so many internal character monologues its hard to find out who we are supposed to focus on. As it is, the structure feels very tree like. We are focussed on Tsukumoto, he is the main character. But we get small branches of other characters, and how they are affected or how they relate back to our main character.
We don’t see too much how the older teammates feel about Tsukumoto, other than that he reminds them of Mizuki, and they are vey protective of Mizuki. The first years are also protective of Tsukumoto.
I do wish we got to see more of Mizukis past. Like maybe a flashback to young Mizuki royally screwing up or something along those lines. Instead he was kind of wedged inbetween the other monologues. One of the monologues could have take place in another scrimmage. It didn’t necessarily have to be in this episode..
Mizuki himself isn’t as serious a character as you would expect from the ‘best player in Tokyo’. He explains things in feelings, like ‘when the ball goes ‘ghwaaaah!’ and when Tsukumoto tries and applies logic to it, Mizuki doesn’t understand what’s he’s saying. He also injured his foot-not playing soccer- but slipping in the bathroom.
So I would definitely like to see more of Mizuki.
To read my previous posts on this series, check out the links below!