The Nagoya match is upon the East Tokyo United team and they're in the position where they simply must win.
What They Say
The fans are demanding that Tatsumi is canned. The opponent they face during their last stand is Nagoya Grand Palace, led by ETU's former manager Fuwa. In a stark contrast to ETU, Fuwa has been winning cup and league matches. He is an absolutely rational coach who used expensive foreign players to raise the power of the entire team. In the beginning, the Brazilian trio goes on a fierce offensive, but Tatsumi's plans are already in motion...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Changing his tone from all previous games, Tatsumi actually informs the Nagoya coach that they'll win today, something he hasn't done before. With the things he's done to get the team ready for it and working through some of the personal issues among them, Tatsumi is getting a team capable of working together, with spirit, that can start winning games. Having winnowed out the problems in the first three matches, the fourth league match is the one that will decide just how much he can accomplish going forward as both the fans and the management is watching closely since his honeymoon period is just about up.
The Nagoya team is pretty amusing since they've got three Brazilian players on it, something a lot of other Japanese teams don't, and they're definitely skilled. They're also a bit showy as they do some moves outside for the public to see which enamors them to everyone. It's also different in that they're so full of smiles and happiness, forced or not, as it's a stark contrast to the serious nature of so many other players outside of Gino for example. Nagoya also has one other issue that sticks out like a sore thumb for the ETU and its fans in that the coach of the team, Fuwa, is the former manager for the ETU. With him being considered responsible for dragging down the team, there's a huge psychological pressure there to outshine his team and show him up as to what the team he left can truly do under a good coach.
The majority of the episode is given over to the actual game itself, which is again a strong point for the show as it's pretty active. Unlike some of the other sports shows where there's a lot of standing around and general tense moments, here they're always on the move and going back and forth. The tensions on the field are fun to watch as the three Brazilian players cause quite the ruckus with their speed and style while there are general rivalries to be had among all the Japanese players as well. I also continue to like that these games showcase such a huge audience in the background, something you don't get with the high school sports shows even when they get to much larger national matches.
There's a lot to like with the Nagoya vs ETU match here as it plays on since there's s much at stake with it. The introduction of foreign players adds a bit of flavor to it while still keeping to the various normal rivalries. The extra bit o tension comes with the knowledge that the team is being coached by the former ETU coach who essentially helped to drive the team into the ground and mismanaged it. The ETU is really starting to come together and they're playing with a hell of a lot of spirit and teamwork overall. Tatsumi's got a plan, which we knew from the last episode before he crashed, so watching it slowly come about to the confusion of others is definitely intriguing as you wait until the tide starts to turn and Nagoya finds itself hopefully facing some stiff competition.
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.