Nothing original happens in this episode. There is a lot of reused jokes and events.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the still photos came back full force, and there was even a still frame of the CGI characters..
So the game against Saku High continues. Tsukamoto is now in the game, and begins by lifting the mood in terms of dropping trow. His pants fell down and there were groans as well as laughter. Great, but not original. He did manage to get the ball, in a tag team effort with Kazama, but once again, right before scoring, he was stopped.
2 issues with that sequence of events. Between the positioning, the receiving and the ball control.. Its an incredible upgrade from Tsukumotos last performance.. Almost too much maybe? Not that Tsukumoto cant improve, but attributing it to training, without showing a sequence or something messes with the timeline a bit I feel. 11 episodes in he should be getting better, but if we only see the end result.. We see Tsukumoto run most often, not strategize..
And Narukami, stopping the ball mid air, with a flexed foot… momentum would have carried him into the net, wouldn’t it? How fast was he running to get in front of Tsukumoto then, and kick in an upwards motion to swing the ball away? That’s not how its portrayed to the viewer.. But its hard to tell because it’s a still image. Which is completely frustrating.
The rest of the match, is essentially episode 10. there is more of a focus on Narukami than Tsukamoto. His thoughts, his strategy, his observations, his opinion of Tsukamoto are monologuing through the next few moments of the game.
An extremely out of place element was Tsukumoto telling a story about an old cat he had that ran way. The story does include the reason for his dads death, and it felt like a push to add a message into the episode. That episode being to make sure you have an many important things as you can. I guess it fits in with the shows overall theme, relating back to Tsukumotos argument with Ubukata, but it felt like such an after thought in this episode, in these moments. 1 moment the team is seriously ready to play the last 5 minutes, Tsukumoto especially, the next he’s spacing out thinking about a cat.
And then the episode ends on a cliffhanger…. But we have seen the end of these cliffhangers in-episode, so its less of a cliffhanger.
I feel like the episode was created for the characters to have fun, and the ‘theme’ was added later and almost forgotten. The episode would have been fine if the cat story wasn’t put in, because then it wouldn’t have ended on a weird note. I actually think the story would have had more impact if it was told after the game, like Kazama suggested when Tsukumoto tried telling him the story in the middle of the field. If there was to be an emotional story told, it would have been more thematically appropriate for it to be surrounding connections, because of the combined efforts of him and Kazama, as well as the non-communicative connection between Indou and Narukami. If we were left with a message like that, then it wouldn’t have been so out of place.
So again, the still photos made me frown, but seeing how Narukami reacted to Tsukumoto made me smile.
Thanks for reading!