Ginga e Kickoff – 06

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The soccer diet is all the rage in Japan, apparently.

We have a new pre-open and new eyecatches this week, as Ginga e Kickoff makes the transition from team-building to competing.  One of the things I really like about this series is that it doesn’t ignore the small details, and while a sports anime dedicating much of an episode to the grunt work of preparing to coach a youth team and the details of practice drills might seem boring to some, It’s very much true to what the show is – this isn’t a Shounen Jump-styled magical reality sports shounen.  Like its hero, “Ginga” is about relentless energy and the straightforward charm rather than superhuman feats of brilliance.

While more low-key than the insanely fun fifth ep, this one is still most entertaining, mostly splitting off into two tracks – one following Coach Haneshima as he readies himself to re-enter his life, the other as Shou (finally, with a little help from Erika) tries to find the remaining players to make the Marauders a legal team.  With approval from their backer at last (the star power of a J-leaguer outweighing the concerns about having a local drunk in charge of sixth-graders) Masaru proves to be serious about the task at hand.  He tries (unsuccessfully) to fit into his old suit, he goes to the Japanese Football HQ to attend a lecture on coaching kids, and he declares his dissatisfaction with an old teammate who’s settled into a life of mediocrity.  I was pleased to see the series make a point of showing Masaru’s displeasure with the canned advice in the “Coaching U-12” pamphlet his old friend had written – ritual is very important in Japanese youth sports, and not many manga are willing to take on the sometimes joyless nature of orthodox coaching methods.

Meanwhile, one of the stipulations for Marauders existence is that they have to submit a list of 11 players for the district tournament within 48 hours.  Once again the Triplets leave it to Shou to do all the work, which proves to be a challenge even for a tireless terrier such as he.  As expected 3-U – Uematsu Tarou (Kousaka Atsushi), Uchimura Katsura (Oura Fuyuka) and Ukishima Yuuto (Inoue Suguru) agree to join, bringing the total to eight – and Masaru is able to borrow a couple of promising 5th-graders for the tournament, but the well runs dry for the final member.  That is, until Reika-chan finally musters the courage to tell Erika that she wants to join the team. 

Now, this was a development that’s been telegraphed for a while, but I still enjoyed the way it was handled.  There’s some natural skepticism from the Furuyas, especially Kouta – he’s proving to be the most interesting of the bunch – but one of 3-U (I honestly have no idea which) points out that the Furuyas are doing nothing but complaining, not helping find players.  Shou proves once again why he’s the right choice to be Captain – he swallows his surprise almost immediately, declares “If Erika says it’s OK, it’s OK!” and welcomes Reika with a smile.  Kids like that are pretty rare in real life, of course, but that doesn’t make Shou-kun any less likeable as an anime lead.

So with that, Marauders are 11 – but not the final 11, as we know Ten-chan Takuma will be joining at some point.  In fact he shows up after the drawing for the district tournament, with Kageura (Maeno Tomoaki) the giant sixth-grader we saw briefly at Tokyo Roses’ training center – though just why, we’re not certain.  Looks like we’ll have game action next week, along with the drama of Reika trying to lose weight Araki-style in time for the tournament.  Let’s hope (and I expect) Ginga will deal with the weight loss issue a little more realistically than Area no Kishi did. 

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  1. J

    re watch the OP, reika becomes just as skinny as everyone else, although it looks like it'll take her a lot more work to get to that point (She was panting in the OP).

  2. Yeah, but that doesn't mean it happens in a week like it did in AnK.

  3. I

    It's not going to be a fabulous transformation and most likely will take several months or a few tournaments to reach that level.

    I'm still feeling high off HIMYM season finale, just too good.

  4. A

    The triplets are such brats, but I can't help but be fond of them. (And, well, everyone else in this show…)

  5. B

    The two 5th graders introduced in this episode look like dullards. Character design wise they don't look like permanent members. My guess is they leave eventually and Takuma and someone else (maybe the freakishly tall guy?) join the team as permanent members.

  6. L

    well the triplets can be hard to deal with (more specifically Kouta was more of a jerk towards reika but atleast his brother calmed him down) but in the end they do have high expectations and expect everyone to have the same love and determination to the game (which can explain kouta reaction but I'm sure that will change in time as Reika proves herself to be just as capable as them) which is why they insisted that shou be their captain they could have made themselves (or one of them) captain but they saw that shou may not be the best player but he loves the game as much as they do which is something they totally respect plus shou has qualities they know they dont have which will enable him to make good decisions for the team. Double plus they also know that shou has what it takes to become an awesome player its only a matter of practice and just learning how to get along with each other.
    What can I say I'm looking forward to seeing how their friendship develops along with watching them become an excellent team.
    Anyways who else is excited to find out when the goalkeeper will make his appearance? He looks so cool ^_^

  7. L

    Well just got back to watching episode 7 raw…It was the hardest episode to watch mainly because of what reika goes through in this episode ;_;

  8. e

    'tireless terrier ' ahah, perfect description.
    ( Yes, I caved in and now I'm watching this too – Enzo see what you're doing to me? My plate. Is overflowing – ). And rooting for the kids of course.
    Reika going by the OP is going to turn into a pocket size hime cut bishoujo XD, but overweight health issues aside I find her pretty adorable and huggable in her current chubby state… plus she seems a natural with the ball ).

  9. N

    Enzo, aren't you a little bit like Shou in promoting this show? relentlessly giving it good reviews until a made shift team of viewers give in to it's unlikely magic.. Well, to drag on the metaphor, I'm happy to be the 11th player to join the ginga express, o captain my captain.

  10. R


    That aside, weight loss. It's an issue that bugs me for AnK a LOT since I spent nearly 6 months getting my weight down to more normal levels (and I was never at obese level either) so it just….really ticked me in the wrong way. That being said, I do know the feeling and sports ARE a good way to motivate yourself to lose weight, so we'll see how this turns out.

  11. I can't think of many better reasons to stay up till 2 AM than getting acquainted with the Tireless Terrier and his support team.

  12. R

    If you manage to get another watcher, we'll have to make our own Gianga e fan soccer team or something. QUICK WE NEED A SNAPPY NAME.

    AND I HAD FINALS TODAY *cries* (in all seriousness, I love the show so I blame you for nothing and everything)

  13. A

    I just realized someone can make an amv of this series with the intro song to giant killing. by the way enzo why dont u post these recaps on random curiosity so that this series can get more exposure?

  14. It's not my choice what shows RC covers and which they don't, ultimately. And truth be told, I don't think GeK would have much of a following over there, though I'd certainly like to give it the help. I've given it a plug a couple of time already, in my KnB posts.

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