Ginga e Kickoff – 24

[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_04.37_[2012.10.25_19.47.55] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_08.09_[2012.10.25_19.51.43] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_19.04_[2012.10.25_20.02.36]

Myself and the other 11 people in the English-speaking world actually watching Ginga e Kickoff were treated to another stellar episode.

It’s a measure of how invested I’ve become in the characters here that when they show signs of real growth, I sometimes feel as proud of them as if they were my own kids (not that I know what that feels like, of course, but I can imagine).  Soccer is life for a lot of fans, and that was the subject of the other great soccer series of the last half-decade, Giant Killing – but GeK means it in a very different way.  This series is about soccer, but it’s about how soccer changes the lives of the kids (and adults) at the center of the show, not how their lives revolve around it.

It only makes sense that when Hanashima-sensei is facing a crisis of confidence over his ability to be a good mentor to the children in his charge, he would turn again to Youhei, the young man whose serious injury caused Hanashima to leave coaching.  It’s clear that Youhei has long since forgiven Hanashima – indeed, I would say more likely he never blamed him at all – and considers him a friend and father figure, but Masaru-chan-san still hasn’t forgiven himself.  While there are legitimate football reasons for the field trip to Chiba, it seems to me that this was a very personal trip for Masaru.

I don’t want to dump on Area no Kishi, because in spite of its flaws I liked the series a good chunk of the time, but it’s really startling to see the difference in the way the shows handle the learning of new skills and the personal development of the players.  When stuff happens in GeK it’s earned through hard work and often painful failure, so when success is achieved it’s easy to see why the players (and the adults) feel so elated – and it’s hard not to share that feeling yourself.  For the Triplets, the journey has been to a large extent one of learning humility.  For Shou, it’s been learning to believe in himself and recognizing not only that he has very real strengths that are his alone, but that he can get better at the things he struggles with.  And this blind soccer field trip is uniquely suited to helping both Shou and the Furuyas on their journey.

Of course, that also serves as another admirable example of how great a coach Hanashima is, whether he admits it or not.  His decision to make the four boys try blind soccer is very revealing, and the obvious result that they’re easily defeated by Youhei early on (even when not blindfolded) is only the beginning.  I would have expected Ouzou – the most analytical and observant (and patient, despite being the youngest) of the triplets – to catch onto the game first.  And indeed he does, grasping that the trick is not to rely on his ears instead of his eyes, but to rely on his mind and to trust his instincts about where the others players on the pitch are going to be.  No one knows his brothers’ tendencies like he does – and no one knows the patterns of all of them like Shou, who I’d also expect to figure the game out quickly.  He does, after a slow start, and starts the chain of possession that leads to the boys’ first goal against their experienced opponents.

My favorite part of the episode came when Hanashima – as always two steps ahead of the curve – slyly demonstrates to Shou the others lesson he wanted to be taught by this training.  Shou has learned to dribble without looking down (how much more satisfying was that than when Kakeru learned in AnK?) and his infectious joy at the realization plays as totally genuine because of the way the episode played out.  We all have our mentors, those whose guidance is important on our journey – no less so Hanashima, in Coach Nagabuchi – and GeK is the story of the mentors as much as it is the students, and of the rewards both sides get out of the relationship.

The GeK special has finally been subbed, and while a lot of it is two former National players narrating clips of early episodes, it’s well-worth a watch.  Next ep it looks as if Erika’s plan was indeed to try and coax Aoto onto the Predators, though we also get what appears to be some kind of intense pickup game that the coach is playing in himself.  I wonder what the “amazing” thing Erika called to tell Masaru-chan-san about was – Reika, perhaps?  The sight of Erika fangirling all over Aoto might prove an interesting development in the character side of the story – has Shou grown up enough to be troubled by it?

[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_07.18_[2012.10.25_19.50.50] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_07.21_[2012.10.25_19.50.53] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_07.57_[2012.10.25_19.51.29]
[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_08.09_[2012.10.25_19.51.41] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_09.15_[2012.10.25_19.52.47] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_09.36_[2012.10.25_19.53.08]
[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_09.46_[2012.10.25_19.53.18] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_11.18_[2012.10.25_19.54.50] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_13.22_[2012.10.25_19.56.54]
[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_15.09_[2012.10.25_19.58.41] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_15.45_[2012.10.25_19.59.17] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_17.50_[2012.10.25_20.01.22]
[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_18.15_[2012.10.25_20.01.47] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_18.21_[2012.10.25_20.01.53] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_20.11_[2012.10.25_20.03.43]
[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_20.15_[2012.10.25_20.03.47] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_21.14_[2012.10.25_20.04.57] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_21.24_[2012.10.25_20.05.07]
[Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_21.31_[2012.10.25_20.05.29] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_22.01_[2012.10.25_20.06.00] [Doremi-Oyatsu]_Ginga_e_Kickoff!!_-_24_(1280x720_8bit_h264_AAC)_[C3AE31E1].mkv_snapshot_22.52_[2012.10.25_20.07.05]


  1. e

    KYAHHH. I mean, ohh, just the best thing to find when you're back online.
    Brb after I watch.

  2. e

    I sometimes feel as proud of them as if they were my own kids (not that I know what that feels like, of course, but I can imagine) QFT. And given also how bug of a role imagination plays in this episode, it fits ;D.
    It's testament to the writing that this is the very first soccer series I've been interested in the last 13 years. I've grown more and more detatched from RL soccer in time, but watching GeK is reminding me of why I used to love this sport so much in the past.
    On the episode itself, you've covered all the basis. I'd only addd how borderline moving for me was seeing Youhei's hands holding Masaru's. Who's mentoring whom here, really?

  3. m

    I totally agree. The only ep of this show where I actually DID cry was when Masaru-san broke down before. And this time I came dangerously close.
    I've NEVER been so moved by a grown man crying before, especially in an amine!!
    I love this show and Masaru is so cool, and real at the same time.

  4. B

    Now that the fansub group I am getting this from is actually caught up, I am once again one of the 11 people watching this! Woot!

    This was a fantastic episode. I thought it was going to be lame at first since it isn't advancing the main story at all but it contained enough character development to overcome that hurdle.

  5. K

    Just a note: It's not that people aren't interested in watching it's just no stream and slow fansubs are not my cup of tea. I am taking note that people watching this seem to be enjoying it but Id rather wait till all the episodes are out and subbed.

  6. S

    Just wanted to add that throughout this episode Shou gets admonished when he shouts at full volume. Another lesson for Shou to learn, that he doesn't need to make his presence be heard so forcibly to get recognition. But this may be one habit that's too ingrained to break. Gonna watch to see if he tones it down a little or at least learn when and where to use that power of his.

  7. Except that I think that in an actual soccer match, Shou's loudness is a positive. It commands the attention of his teammates and he can be heard over the noises of the game and the crowd.

  8. N

    I'm sorry Enzo, but I really don't see any indication that Shuu has any romantic interest in Erika, so a love triangle is sadly not likely. the only romance I can see happening besides Erika and Aoto is Reika and Kouta

  9. Well, I think we're about to find out whether he does or not because her feelings for Aoto look as if they're going to be pretty transparent in episode 25.

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