The pre-season match moves into the second half and nothing continues to go as anyone expected.
What They Say
Second half of the Tokyo Victory match. Tsubaki screwed up and gave the opponents a chance to score. Tatsumi tries to fire up Tsubaki by saying that he shouldn't worry about a foul. In order to combat Victory's increasing pace, Tatsumi puts in offensive players midfield. Though Tsubaki was motivated by Tatsumi, it doesn't go well and his efforts turn our disastrous. Meanwhile, Murakoshi re-examines himself as a player and tries to find a hole for the counter attack.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of the game moved pretty quickly with some definite intense moments to be had throughout it. As it got close to the end though, things turned against the ETU a bit when Tsubaki ended up fouling which in turn allowed the other team to score a goal, bringing it all to a tie. That the foul wasn't Tsubaki's fault doesn't change anything, though Tsubaki has to go through a bit of guilt and grousing by himself and the others. Tatsumi's the right kind of coach though in that he knows how to motivate his players while still allowing them to own the mistakes that are theirs. Or in Tsubaki's case, a mistake that wasn't his but that he needs to be more aware of.
The second half of the game gets pretty intense after the half time pep talk and re-deployment that Tatsumi sets up for them. Nobody argues with him, which is a nice change of pace from how other shows would handle this, as the professional players know they have to do what needs to be done. With Tatsumi promising them that they'll tie up the game at the least, there's the mindset that they have to at least hold what they've accomplished and go from there. But as Tatsumi notes, this team is wanting to win, and badly, based off of how they acted during the first training session with all the fights that broke out. They have the spirit and ability, but it hasn't been trained enough yet. Hopefully what Tatsumi has orchestrated here will give them a kick in the head to listen more going forward though.
The adult nature of the cast really does change the dynamic of the series. You can see this in how Tsubaki reacts to the points being caused by him and how it starts to drag him down. Everyone else manages to turn themselves into wanting to win even more, that they can still do it, instead of believing that the game is already over and there's no chance. While the first half was focused on Gino and the way he orchestrated everyone around him, the second half has taken to looking at Tsubaki with the problems he's having but it also looks at Murakoshi. With his demotion from captain, he's still finding out what kind of player he really is and the words from Tatsumi are striking deep inside of him. There's a great but brief internal monologue he has about the whole situation and it sums up where his character is at right now perfectly.
It's a rare series that feels great not just in the first episode, but each of the subsequent episodes as well. At the fifth episode, we're seeing what the team can be and what issues are still there to be faced. The most intriguing moments come not with the rookie having his problems and dealing with the pressure, but with the way Tatsumi is managing Murakoshi and trying to turn him into a better player. Considering the problems the two have had in the past, it's an interesting approach and one that both me have to deal with. And the fact they deal with it like adults is incredibly welcome. Add in all the great soccer action that's wonderfully animated (now give me this in high definition on my TV people!) and this is a spot on fun series that has me glued to the screen with every frame.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.