What They Say
ETU begins their match against the Osaka Gunners. They are holding their ground man-to-man for now, but...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The game against Osaka has had a fair bit of build-up in the last episode and the audience come to watch it is pretty diverse as well. While the ETU has been run pretty hard by Tatsumi, some of the best moments came in the more personal face-offs such as his moment with the Osaka coach, or the way Blanc is secretly watching from behind the pillar as the two coaches spar verbally through a translator. Giant Killing excels at its actual game moments with the way they play and the way they animate it, but I also love the little quiet character moments like that in which they tend to get even more defined and refined from their big game moments.
Depending on how the pacing goes in the next episode, this game is set to go for a couple of episodes at least and that's not necessarily a bad thing. As we see in the first half of this episode, there's a lot of fun in watching how each of the sides size each other up. Kuroda and the Osaka player Hauer in particular are a lot of fun to watch since neither can truly communicate clearly, but they're getting their points across as they're practically fighting and challenging each other over different things. It's even more fun since Tatsumi has Kuroda covering him when Hauer is a good twenty centimeters taller than him, something that you normally try to avoid. It just serves to get Kuroda even more pumped and let his aggressive attitude out in a properly channeled way.
The second part of the episode focuses on Osaka getting their game into full gear after going through the softening up period where they're scoping out what their competition is like in reality. Tatsumi's fully aware of it and the challenge that's ahead as he knows that the Osaka coach is ready to let loose, but there's so many variables to the game that you can't be certain. Especially since so much of it rides on the energy of the audience and their encouragement. Both sides here are pretty pumped up throughout which only adds to the excitement. And as that carries on like a wave, seeing the various responses as the plays roll out only adds to that, whether it's the coaches, the players or those in the audience like Blanc and the reporters. There's a lot riding on this game and the opening minutes of it set the tone perfectly.
Giant Killing has a delicate balance to handle once again as we go into a multi-episode game. These can drag on a bit depending on what's going on but it can also contain a ton of excitement as we get to spend time with individual plays. The previous matches gave us a focus of a particular character coping through something, such as Sera, Kuroda and all the way back to Tsubaki's moment in the spotlight, but here it hasn't completely settled on anyone just yet. It's still a team effort, though Kuroda and Hauer get to have a good spot of fun. As the match gets fully underway and the intensity ramps up, it gets me just as jazzed for it and the next episode can't come soon enough.
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.