Diamond no Ace – 11

Diamond no Ace - 11 -15 Diamond no Ace - 11 -22 Diamond no Ace - 11 -29

Daiya no A is a veritable feast for the baseball fan.

Every week this series gives hardcore baseball lovers a little something to chew on while still managing to be thoroughly entertaining.  This time the subject is “hiding the ball” – which is one of the practical implications of Eijun using Kataoka’s “build a wall” mantra with the towel drill.  It’s not the hidden ball trick, which someone actually tries about once a decade, but the way a pitcher uses his arm swing to hide the ball behind his body and keep the hitter from seeing his grip and release point for as long as possible.  Some guys are better at it than others, but for those that are really good at it this can be a real advantage.

Of course what we see in this episode is that the catcher also has a hard time picking up the ball, and for a second-year high schooler who’s never caught a pitcher using the delivery Eijun is using here that’s a major problem.  Not that Eijun is throwing strikes anyway – the hard truth is that throwing a baseball is a lot different than pretending to throw a towel.  Taking the long way around, all of this is a conspiracy of events that lead up to the long-awaited return of Chris to the diamond at long last.  It’s a pretty dramatic moment when he dons the mask and takes the long walk onto the field, much to Eijun’s delight – but the truth is, Chris isn’t willing to do that until he’s reassured by the guys who’ve been practicing every day that it’s OK for him to leapfrog over them and get into the game.  Such are the personal politics of Japanese high school baseball.

It’s at this point when Ace of Diamond has what I’d call a “Shounen Jump moment” – probably its first.  Chris’ gambit of calling in all the outfielders is a pretty far-fetched one (it certainly gets a rise out of his young teammates) – you’d only ever really see it in last at-bat situation where one run will win the game – though I did get the psychology behind it immediately.  With a wild pitcher on the mound (two walks, one HPB, no strikes) goad the clean-up batter into being overanxious by disrespecting him.  As unrealistic as it is this is the sort of stunt that might actually work with high-schoolers, and it does here – after Chris has Eijun show the batter another wild one with the towel drill delivery, he has Eijun serve up a fastball down central using his old delivery, and the off-balance hitter taps weakly into a double-play (started by the brilliant Haruchin).  After that Chris picks the runner off third, taking advantage off the fact that he’s straying far off the bag hoping for a wild pitch.

Chris’ shoulder certainly looks fine here, but I have an uneasy feeling about where all this is going.  Once word gets out that Chris is playing in the second-string game most of the first-stringers rush over to watch (led by Miyuki) – all except for the current #2 catcher and Haurchin’s brother Ryousuke, who reveals that the real reason for his hostility is that his “shadow” of a younger brother is always threatening to eclipse him.  Miyuki seems genuinely hopeful that Chris will miraculously win his old job back from him, but I don’t see much chance of that happening – and it’s very possible that Chris’ father is going to pop a vein next week after he sees what’s been going on.

The bottom line for Eijun is simple – he’s made a convert of the coach with his persistent determination and spirit, and intrigued him with the potential of his unique set of baseball skills.  The trick now is that he’s going to have to actually be able to “build a wall” with his right arm and throw strikes with his left, and not even Chris can do that for him.  But it does seem a virtual given now that Hariuchi and Eijun will be the two rookies called up to the first-string.  I’ll repeat, though, that if Chris really were to be returning to action, that would seem to present a numbers crunch – I suppose he could simply replace the backup catcher who’s already part of the 18 first-team players, but it seems more likely that it’s evidence he’s not going to be playing with the first-string in the Koshien qualifying.

Diamond no Ace - 11 -6 Diamond no Ace - 11 -7 Diamond no Ace - 11 -8
Diamond no Ace - 11 -9 Diamond no Ace - 11 -10 Diamond no Ace - 11 -11
Diamond no Ace - 11 -12 Diamond no Ace - 11 -13 Diamond no Ace - 11 -14
Diamond no Ace - 11 -16 Diamond no Ace - 11 -17 Diamond no Ace - 11 -18
Diamond no Ace - 11 -19 Diamond no Ace - 11 -20 Diamond no Ace - 11 -21
Diamond no Ace - 11 -23 Diamond no Ace - 11 -24 Diamond no Ace - 11 -25
Diamond no Ace - 11 -26 Diamond no Ace - 11 -27 Diamond no Ace - 11 -28
Diamond no Ace - 11 -30 Diamond no Ace - 11 -31 Diamond no Ace - 11 -32
Diamond no Ace - 11 -33 Diamond no Ace - 11 -34 Diamond no Ace - 11 -35


  1. K

    This episode gave me so many feelings….And then it was over too soon.

  2. t

    it took a while, but finally a full-time sports (or game) episode in DnA. and it was a very good one! and as expected of sports anime, we'll have at least one more episode for this game.
    and of course everything is just a start here.
    let not forget, this is just some friendly game or something. so we'll have a lot more and better moments than that. but seeing this, oh god, those sports feelings I love so much.
    finally DnA is starting to show what it had all along. I want more!

    I really like how they pay attention to the secondary cast and other members of the group, whether it's first-string or second.
    no chance we couldn't notice that conversation between the 2nd catcher and Haruchi's brother. I don't think it's necessary something bad. it's part of sports, competition inside the team.
    and there is that everyone rushed to see Chris playing. it's also part of sports to cheer your friend who returned from injury.
    so, the fact that other members in the team are getting time-screen even in times like this, makes it great.

  3. Just to be clear, this is not a friendly – this is a real game. Big schools like Seidou have so many players that they sometimes play "split squad" games, and send their B team to play what they perceive as a lesser school.

  4. t

    I meant friendly 'cause this isn't under some league or cup. namely, for the schools – winning or losing isn't that crucial as one might think.
    sure, every team wants to win. and to know how good they are and what there is to improve and so.

    in the perspective of the individual, it's sure a competition over a position in the squad. players that will be dominant and perform well enough might find themselves in first-string. I am well aware that Eijun and everyone fights for those 2 positions left on first-string.
    that's why the first-string is always worried. whether it's a friendly game or under some competition.

  5. e

    And Chris' eyes are back for good! Yay! *hugging Ronbb-the-ice-fairy-sistah in the igloo*
    Even without watching the preview I don't think his Animal ( :,D ) dad will make things easy for him. And when you add the players free slots availabe and the current line-up it does seem like he's not gonna play in the first string… still I'm rooting for him as being a cast staple in some form (even if in regards to Eijun's balls ****The Kazuya is The One***** ). He's a good character and manages to stand out in an already pretty good ensemble.
    Once again good job oh DnA staff.

    P.S.: the blond player of the other squad is fishier than last week *growls*

  6. M

    Kurisu-chwan to the rescue! Agreeably the best episode yet – and in no small part to Mr Dilation. The equal focus on other players helped too.

    What is with vexed blonde rivals in mah sports animu? Yowapedal has one too.

  7. i

    I need to thank Fujoshi everywhere because sports anime is becoming quite big again. There's 3 I'm following this season that will follow on into next season and 2 more good ones coming out in Spring. Not all sports anime are for Fujoshi but I don't think it can be denied that a lot of them are produced because of the yaoi clans.

  8. i

    Also Araya Hiroshi in Baby Steps had to be modelled after Nadal. Looks and plays like him, wondering if a Federer's gonna pop up to? If Taichi played tennis he'd be Andy Murray.

  9. i

    Actually so many players and styles from Baby Steps are like those in the real world, even names (A thin blonde named Marcia, seriously?). And Natsu comes off as such a great love interest, the best I've seen since Aoba, though less involved I feel in the story than Aoba was.

  10. I honestly don't think any of the Japanese players are expressly based on real players – I never would have thought to compare Araya to Nadal, anyway. But Japanese players like Date Kimiko and Nishikori Kei are definitely in there under different names.

  11. i

    You might not be as into tennis as I am to pick up the hints. Araya's a muscular baseline counterpuncher, with a loud aggressive style and is left handed, that's Nadal's exact MO. Plus they share a similar nose and hair style (when Nadal's isn't very long). Also a tall thin blonde named Marcia has to be modelled after Maria Sharapova. Hair style, height, lives in Florida. The rest are a bit less clear cut but I think Ei-chan is something of a David Ferrer.

  12. Well, I follow tennis pretty damned closely and I think you're reading a little too much into some of this. I'm basically going by what the author herself has said, in any case. Besides – until Araya starts crotch-tugging he can't possibly be like Nadal…

  13. t

    offtopic – are you going to cover FIFA world cup 2014 this summer? 😛
    the group stage looks promising enough 😛
    let's hope we'll have Paul the octapus #2

  14. M

    Believe what you want to believe!

  15. Depends on what the TV situation is here – whether it's broadcast on one of the OTA networks, or offered free on the web somewhere. I'd like to do a few posts at least.

  16. t

    I see.
    then I am really looking forward to that if it work out.

    Japan is participating. and they have a fair chance of going on to the next level. besides, now that the Olympic games in 2020 will be in Tokyo, so they'll show some interest in sports (or so it seems to me..but who knows).

    what will be tough is probably the time frame. Brazil and Japan has a huge difference in hours..like 12 hours or something like that. it's like the difference between day and night, and since in Brazil the games will be at night (or evening), it'll be hard to watch it in japan.
    hope you'll still be able to enjoy it (:

  17. i

    Why doesn't the mangaka just use real names for actual players that are referred to? I remember PoT mentioned Sampras, Hewitt and a few others constantly, so it isn't a copyright problem.

  18. t

    because they prefer Japanese names..so that Japanese people (surprisingly, the majority of the audience in which the manga is directed to) will connect more to it.
    don't forget, it is published in Japanese magazine..namely, this is all aimed toward Japanese mostly. at least from the mangaka POV, especially when it comes to selling it.
    but that's just how I see it.

  19. i

    No but when Baby Steps introduced Kimuko Date Krumm they called her Miki Yazawa or something. I think it's for another reason.

  20. I assume it's just artistic license. She probably feels this gives the series more of a sense of realism.

    BTW – I owe you a haiku. Topic?

  21. i

    You don't owe me one, I support you because I learn a lot about the anime world from you and LiA's fanbase but a Chihayafuru one would nice. Fitting for a Haiku isn't it?

  22. i

    Ooh and can it be Arata x Chihaya based. I like Taichi but my that's the ship I boarded;

  23. Only if it's ironic.

  24. i

    Like about how Arata makes one small scene per episode usually? Sure.

  25. Z

    Ooh Kurisu walking onto the field like a boss!

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