With the win against Osaka, the ETU is on a roll as the season draws to a close.
What They Say
Experiencing a long streak of poor performances for several years in the Japanese professional football league, the East Tokyo United (ETU) hires Takeshi Tatsumi as manager to try to break the curse that seems to have fallen over the team. Will he be successful in turning the team around?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With as much time spent on the Osaka game this episode is something of a disappointment after Sera scores the goal to bring them victory. Instead of some time to actually enjoy the victory, savor in the opponents defeat, the show launches into the next game for a minute or so while highlighting that they've had three wins in a row now. The team is running with good spirits and healthy in-team competition with each other and the results are paying off on the field. Changes are afoot though as we see Akasaki moving on temporarily for a really good opportunity as he gets to join the preliminary group being formed around the Japanese Olympics team.
Akasaki is sent off with some jealousy by others, especially when several realize they're too old to ever be invited to said group, but he's also made to be nervous. Tatsumi gives him a lot of props and then starts looking for his replacement right away and even stating that if the replacement plays better than Akasaki does, he has a shot at keeping the position. A lot of it is said with humor by Tatsumi, but there's always that element of truth as well. Akasaki's expression during this is priceless though. Akasaki's time in the Olympic qualifier game does get covered and it's cute to see how into it Yuri gets as she watches what happens.
A lot of the episode focuses on the smaller moments with an air of fun and lightness about it. While the ETU isn't constantly winning, they're moving along well and gaining a lot of steam. Considering how they've played for the last few years, the number of wins this time around is a huge turnaround and the general manager is aware that he's at least made some good decisions. What highlights this episode is that it spends time with several of the characters who have made an impression over time, from showing Gino and how he's wearing down a little after playing so hard for so long and the general camaraderie of everyone. Akasaki makes out really well but most everyone is gaining some popularity as we see Tsubaki being assaulted by a bunch of kids who want to get close to him. Everyone is well cemented here and the ETU comes across as a strong team, something that's been emphasized for quite some time in the series.
With Giant Killing seeming to have covered the first eleven of sixteen graphic novels in these twenty-six episodes, the show takes a fairly appropriate place to call things quits (for now, I hope). The midway part of the season is here, everyone is gaining confidence in their skills and place on the team and there's a really good sense among all of them. It's a bit heavy handed with Tatsumi's rooftop view of everything, but it's appropriate for someone like him to make it clear like that, to say out loud what kind of team he's managed to pull together from the group of players he was handed. Giant Killing has been a top notch show from the start with only a few mild missteps, such as the Osaka game going to long and not giving us a proper euphoric finish for it, but these are mild compared to the overall body of work. Giant Killing is a show you really want to follow through for the entire season to see just how far they can go and to share in the magic each and every step, kick and goal of the way. Very recommended.
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.