The game rolls on as the ETU finally really starts to grasp what it is that Tatsumi's been moving them towards.
What They Say
Nagoya can't break ETU's defense line, so they put Carlos up front and attack with their strongest formation. This is exactly what Tatsumi has been waiting for. ETU is desperate to withstand the Brazilian onslaught. They block their shot and begin their own counter attack. That was Tatsumi's plan all along. The ball goes to Gino and ETU's attack finally begins. Who will score?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After opening with a surprising amount of recap, Giant Killing gets back to the Nagoya vs ETU game where Tsubaki is starting to realize the scope of, well, everything, as the stadium now feels larger than ever and he's potentially feeling like they're titans striding across the field of play. With the way the game is going, while they're not doing as good as they could, they're definitely holding their own overall against Nagoya. But that can go on for only so long before the ace players of Nagoya, the three Brazilians, begin to figure out what Tatsumi's strategy is. Of course, he doesn't expect it to last forever so there's bound to be a backup plan in there since he wants to have a tie game to show that the team is progressing forward as he teases out their true skills.
As good as any plan is though, and as much as Tatsumi can plan things out, the old adage is true that no plan survives the battlefield. Tatsumi's got a good feel for the team so far and what they can do and his overall expectations for them, but even they can surprise him as Tsubaki does as the intensity of the second half gets going. Sometimes a single event can transform not just a player but the team and the fans in general. Tsubaki's surprise goal shifts the balance of many things for the ETU once it happens, though the best moment is the way Gino compliments him by telling him that he could have made it a bit more elegantly. Considering the way Tsubaki has been beating himself up since he'd had problems in the previous games, this is something that will help him move forward, hopefully without getting cocky since it doesn't seem to be that kind of personality.
The only slight downside to this episode is that we are still on this single game, which is now going on for a couple of episode. I definitely appreciated the pacing of the earlier games that finished off quicker and with most of it being off screen in order to move the story along rather than spend it on too much technical. It's only a minor quibble though because this game in particular has significant importance as it's highlighting the growth of the players as well as Tatsumi as a coach. We know he's good from his time spent overseas and his position there, but seeing him in action here and getting the results of his research on Nagoya coming to fruition like this makes it all work very well. At the same time, I want to see the results of this game and to see what's up next and where the team and the individual players will go.
Twelve episodes in and I'm still surprised by both the quality of the story and the animation as Giant Killing rolls on. The cast of characters are going through the normal bonding and problems, but they're also facing more adversity than you usually see with these kinds of shows considering the number of losses they've had so far. But those losses make each victory, each step forward, all the sweeter for the players and the coaches. Tatsumi's growth is also touched upon nicely as we get to understand more what he drew from watching the previous Nagoya games. There's a lot to like here in general but it's all the neat details that makes it so much fun to watch and makes you want another episode right away.
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.