Although the entire pre-OP sequence is yet another recap, the pacing continues to pick up somewhat. On the day of the World Cup final, we get a new episode of Giant Killing, and an easy win by ETU. Revenging their earlier defeat at the hands of Nagoya, our heroes net their first home win of the season score three goals – two by Gino. The only downside? Genki Sera – the forward – can’t strike gold.
While Sera broods over his missed scoring chances, Tatsumi arrives at the field to find someone rolling about on the pitch, first laughing, then crying. Turns out it’s Natsumi, who was the team’s ace striker the previous season – before he blew out his knee and missed months of action. Not only that, but he delayed his own recovery for two months by trying to practice too soon. A new character, at last.
And boy, is he a character. Natsumi is refreshingly different than the other team members – brash yet totally insecure, a motormouth who can’t shut up and has no sensitivity whatsoever. The conflict is being set up – likable Sera is starting only because Natsumi was injured. Assuming Natsumi fits in with ETU’s new style, it seems only a matter of time before Sera joins the reserves again. And does that thought ever piss him off.
I’m enjoying how each episode of the series seems to be focusing on one slice of the ETU-niverse – the fans, or a specific player or players. It seems we’re more or less being given spotlight moments for each of the players and even the front office staff, which is interesting – though it does make me wonder just how much the series is going to get accomplished. 15 eps in and we’ve only played 4 league matches and 3 cup matches, so there’s lots of room left to cover. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying this series at every step.