With the intent to tie up their first game while playing as a true team, everyone is surprised when it ends with a full on victory.
What They Say
In Giant Killing a ragtag bunch from East Tokyo are struggling in Japan's top football league. The team is going through an abysmal spell right now where they are nearing the bottom of the table and have lost 5 matches in a row. The losses haven't done much to team morale, because it was already low. Fan support, on the other hand, is looking bleak. In the world of football, once the fans turn on a team the end is near. Teams don't recover. Coaches are fired, players are sold, and teams drop to smaller divisions where profits often prevent them from ever being successful against even mediocre top division programs. East Tokyo United, ETU, can only blame their coach right now. And Coach is ready to give up this next game to prove to his team and fans, that against the biggest club in the nation he can make this team win.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The ETU win over Nagoya has done a whole lot to boost up the team in the morale department but it's having a significant effect elsewhere as well. Those who have been fans of the team, or children of fans who have struggled through the bad years, are rejuvenated by the win and are really interested in the ETU and their prospects as well as soccer in general. The win has become completely infectious to everyone with a smidgen of interest in the team, though some of them go a bit further than others which isn't a surprise knowing how just about every kind of fandom is like.
The interest is so high that a lot of people are out to watch the team as they practice after the game and there's a significant variety of them. The kids are there hoping to get autographs from their favorite players, though one of them wants one from Tatsumi, and you also have several high school girls in uniform there to admire the Prince of the game. Add in the manly men who have been in the stands from the start and even threatened the team to start doing better and it's really amusing and fun to watch all of them react to the practice. The intensity of it surprises the younger ones but even some on staff are a bit surprised by how intense the training is the day before the next game against Sapporo. Tatsumi shows off his smarts by doing this since it keeps the team from getting full of themselves after their first win.
The focus tends to run across a couple of characters in particular. Some of the older fans who were strong supporters in their youth are feeling invigorated again but not all of them have the time or energy to put themselves back into being a full time fan. A good deal of attention is given to Yuri in the public relations department as she's trying to capitalize on their win while understanding how she really has to handle it with everyone since they could just as easily lose again, making their first win a fluke. While coping with that, she's given the nugget to think about that she may be focusing too much work and not enough on fun which leads her to overworking. But we get a really nice flashback moment from her that shows why she's such a fan of soccer and the ETU in particular, something that helps to establish her place in the series much more firmly.
Giant Killing does a really good job of spending some quality time with the rest of the cast by looking at everyone outside of the team itself. While the team is what they're all there for, without the fans and support the team can go only so far. Showcasing the importance of all these other players in the series with how they invigorate and inspire each other and the kind of dedication they have to the team and organization is important in building up what it really takes to win. The team does most of the heavy lifting at the key times, but without all of this there wouldn't really be a team of this nature. The focus on a variety of characters is welcome and a lot of it is spent with Yuri which is a nice change of pace since we get some femininity into it while still keeping to the overall themes. The fans that populate this show are some of the best and are the exact kinds you want supporting your team. They add to the show just right.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.