Giant Killing – 26 (End)

Let me tell you, there’s really something to be said for a good epilogue. While most series end up rushing at breakneck pace to resolve everything in the nick of time (and often fail at that) a great series needs a chance to step back and breathe, to wrap-up – a benediction if you will. You need an opportunity – especially with two cour and longer shows – to reflect back and say goodbye to the characters. And Giant Killing gave us a great example of the recap episode at its best.

No doubt the comeback win over Osaka was the true dramatic climax of the series, and it was tucked in at the end of the penultimate ep, just as it should have been. We did get some more game action here – a couple of league matches and a cup match, with two wins and a tie for ETU. Akasaki got a callup to the Olympic team (I never would have guessed he was only 23). But best of all, the episode really focused on Tatsumi taking what he learned managing East Ham in England – how vital a part of the community the football club can be. So at midseason, with Gino hurting and the team a bit tired, he decides to step back from soccer and throw a kind of block party for East Tokyo – a curry party, in fact, with the players handing out flyers, shopping, greeting, and even cooking. Even the owners serve up the chow along with the cafeteria ladies. It’s perfectly charming and fits the series perfectly – GK was always concerned with the role the fans play in the life of a team.

Finishing up things with yet another spot-on flourish, the ED is a couple of ETU chants – starting with the three junior players singing a capella and building to a full chorus of the fans complete with foot stomping. Thus GK ends – on a perfect note.

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