Giant Killing 12

Did I really just do that?

It’s about time I blogged an episode of this show, because it’s one of my favorites of 2010. It seems to be a new golden age for sports anime, and GK is proving itself worthy of comparison with the best of them.

While there have been times of late when the slow pace of the action (basically, real-time during the Nagoya match) has frustrated me, it’s been fascinating to watch unfold. What I’ve loved about the way this game has unfolded has been the truly realistic nature of events. You have a team much deeper in individual talent, constantly pressing the attack and dominating possession. Yet, the pressure increases on them as they fail to score – and eventually they pull their defensive midfielder forward to try and breach ETU’s defensive wall at last. And – exactly as Tatsumi predicted – space opens in Nagoya’s defense and that leads to the counterattack.

It’s a script you often see in football – one teams relies on possession, the other patiently waits to counter. Goals “against the run of play” are usually how real-life Giant Killings happen. It was great to see Tsubaki rewarded for all his hard work – he runs more than anyone else on the field, and his athleticism had already saved at least one goal from the Brazilians. Ah, the Brazilians – an interesting bunch to watch. I love how the series delivers their dialogue in Portuguese – not only is it a fun language to listen to, but it further plays up the impression that those three were playing a game amongst themselves, understandably frustrating for their teammates. Especially Itagaki, the striker and former top dog now relegated to his off side and generally ignored by the Brazilians. While there’s something slightly paternalistic in the series’ portrayal of the Brazilians, I love how it captures their sense of creativity and fun – even to the point of their respect for Tsubaki’s efforts.

I can only assume, with 15 minutes left, we’ll see the conclusion of this Nagoya match in the next episode. I suspect Itagaki’s cowboy mentality is going to lead to another ETU goal. I think we’re about to see our first giant killing, and Fuwa getting his just desserts.

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