Diamond no Ace – 27

Diamond no Ace - 27 -7 Diamond no Ace - 27 -17 Diamond no Ace - 27 -35

Now that’s change I can believe in.

In case you missed it, this week it was announced that Daiya no A was going to have a 52-episode run.  It seems ungracious to complain about a full year’s worth of anime in this day and age, but I was hoping we might get a full adaptation of the manga (which would have taken two years at least), though the manga is still ongoing.  Better not to be greedy I suppose – four cours is a nice innings, and so few long-running manga (like Major) get a full adaptation – but I can’t shake the feeling that the anime is going to end just when we’re getting to the best part.

Speaking of the best part, finally seeing Eijun take the mount when it matters is definitely one of the highlights of the series so far for me.  There were two times my internal voice was shouting at the screen this week.  First, it was telling that annoying club advisor or whatever he is in the dugout to shut the fuck up (that was actually multiple times, and it’s an ongoing thing – what purpose does he serve apart from being annoying?).  The other was telling Furuya to give Eijun the damn ball and get off the mound already – the whole world doesn’t revolve around your ego, Stupid.

I can’t help how I feel, and I feel like Ace of Diamond takes a huge leap in intensity when Sawamura replaces Furuya in the game – and the spotlight.  It’s a big-time level-up.  I just can’t feel Furuya as a character – I understand him and I get his role, but he just doesn’t interest me.  He’s just a cocky bastard who was naturally gifted with a lot of talent and grew frustrated he never got much chance to show it.  He’s someone who has the potential to grow better as a character and as a player with a little humility, experience and maturity – but for now, he’s more irritating that anything else for me.

The big difference between Eijun and Furuya, as it has been from the beginning, is not their fastball but their attitude.  Eijun selfishly wants to play too, but everything always comes back to the team for him.  He’s a loose cannon, no doubt, and Kataoka is taking a huge risk putting him on the mound here – no question Sawamura too will benefit enormously from experience and maturity (practically throwing the ball into the dugout on a pickoff and openly adjusting his grip being symptoms of his extreme nervousness).  But in ways both symbolic and material, he’s more connected to the team as a pitcher than Furuya is.  Furuya’s game is all-or-nothing, go for the strikeout every time.  Eijun is part of a nine-man defense, and for all the grief they give him his teammates feel comfortable ripping on him because he’s one of them.

The other side of this is that Kataoka made this move out of necessity.  Furuya was definitely done – give credit to Akikawa for a successful strategy to drive him from the game – and Kawakami is too much of a safety valve to burn in the fourth inning.  Plus, you saw the reaction of the lefty batters (remember, there are 7 of them) in Akikawa’s lineup when Sawamura came into the game – high-school lefties hate facing southpaws, especially ones that are a complete unknown.  It’s a good thing Eijun showed his spirit (though that was never really in doubt) by buzzing the Coach’s chin, because Kataoka by necessity had to have Eijun as a real option for this game.  And Chris’ teaching him the four-seam straight-o is potentially transformative to Eijun’s game – in addition to giving him a completely new weapon, it effectively turns his usual “fastball” into a breaking pitch.

We should be in for some big-time drama now, with Eijun pitching with his future role on the line and the future of Seidou in this Koushien very much (though not really) in doubt – getting the butterflies out with the errant pickoff (saved by Yuki) was huge.  But Yeung still lurks not just as a tough nut to crack on the mound but as a dangerous hitter too – a righty and smart enough not to be rattled by Eijun’s unusual form and the movement on his pitches.  Plus, Akikawa gained an air of cockiness after knocking Furuya out, and that’s not a good place for an underdog to be against a more talented team – you never want to believe you’re over the top until you’ve finished off the opponent.  The rest of this game should be a barnburner.

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  1. R

    Its always interesting to see how differently people interpret characters from me XD Although in this case itay because I have the bias of reading the original manga going for me.

    My impression of Furuya was actually the opposite. I got the feeling his main drive wasn't his talent, but finally having a team that would support him. He's been playing baseball alone before this, so it's gotta be a new experience. And him not wanting to get of the mound was frustration at not being able to respond to the team's support by pitching till the end.

    Like I said, very different interpretations. Doesn't make him much more interesting, that part I can agree on XD, but I am more sympathetic towards him

  2. n

    Interestingly, as someone one who have also read the manga (until the most recent chapters (yes, in jpn)), I have the complete opposite of your opinion regarding Furuya not wanting to get off the mound. More than anything, it's Furuya's obssesion to pitch no matter how you splice it. Him not being able to respond to the team's support is just secondary.

    Also, this particular scene would be a good contrast to some future events that would really compare Eijun and Furuya in terms of their attitude as pitchers who want to be the ace of/for the team.

  3. K

    I haven't read the manga but I lean more towards Rita's explanation. I do think Furuya has a hard time acknowledging that the success (& failure) of the team isn't all on his shoulders but I don't think that is surprising considering Furuya's background compared with Sawamura's.

    But I don't get that he wants to stay on the mound because of ego. I think he wants to stay on the mound because he thinks he is letting the team down otherwise. He wants to be the one to set things right since he feels he made the mistakes in the first place.

    Anyways I like both Sawamura and Furuya and because they are so different it makes the show more interesting to watch for me.

    But one reason I am happy Sawamura is playing now because he is completely unpredictable and that will throw a wrench for the other team.

    Although the preview made me think we might have a recap next week, I hope not.

  4. I would add to this another non-manga reader – sometimes you can think you're doing something for the team and still be selfish. Even if Furuya thinks it's best for the team if he stays in because no one else can possibly be as good, it's still selfish when he's clearly out of gas.

    Plus, what he pulled on the mound was seriously disrespectful to the coach. Pro, minors, college or high school – when he makes the switch, you hand over the ball and get off the mound. He basically showed up Kataoka – the same guy who started him in the first three Koushien games despite being a Freshman.

  5. n

    Yes, he's like this because he was ostracized in junior high. He wasn't able to pitch and there was no one who can catch his pitches back then.

    Yes, he doesn't want to let the team down and wants to set things right.

    However, because of his obsession to pitch due to his background in junior high clouded these nice thoughts. If he wants to not let his senpai's summer to end here in this match, if he wants to not let the team down, he should've get off the mound. Because in his current state, he'll just let the team down. But, no, he's adamant. Until the very end, he doesn't want to let go of the ball as seen in the scene where he gripped the ball tight as he passes it to Eijun. Maybe for him, it's his way of not letting the team down but that is selfishness through and through. One can also argue that, subconsciously, Furuya wants to show off that he can do it alone with sheer force alone and that there's no need for replacement even if he's dead tired.

    On the other hand, Eijun's so supportive of Furuya to the point of cheering him on the bullpen, even if Furuya's his rival for the ace number. In Furuya's case, Eijun got "I hate you."

  6. Yeah, that was pretty classy, huh?

  7. n

    Ooops to be exact, he meant "You irritate me." Urgh the one used in CR's subs is a bit strong imho

  8. t

    52 episodes…not a bad one. maybe it's better than just "reaching" the manga blindly.
    I hope DnA will return for cours here and there, the way major did. but..we still have half series ahead of us, let's enjoy it, it's gonna be much more intense.

    Sediou keep their tough fight. and it's not easy. the coach is thinking ahead and not letting Furuya to really crush in front of everyone (especially the next opponents as it seems). but it sure a blow to Furuya's confidence. not only he still isn't able to overcome his stamina issue, but it's a moral blow to be replaced pretty early and seeing the team in pinch (though he isn't really guilty..but it seems he kinda feel like that).
    there are interesting point with Furuya there. but as you said..he isn't really appealing as a character like Eijun. the whole "I don't wanna get off mound and everything" didn't strike me even though I can understand his feelings and all.

    however, I can definitely say it's now the time we really see how much baseball is team play.
    after last week, which demonstrated why Akikawa is really one-man team, this week we have all of Sediou players support Eijun and Furuya that are trying their best for the team and third-years. we can really feel the unity of them and there is great chemistry for me with all these unique third-years.

    we can see through Eijun's pitches and all, that DnA has entered to an intense phase, especially now that this is the second half of the series. the production of this is really good. that's how it is when you have 2 experienced studios. not only it's looking great, but it also feels like that. and I am glad for this.
    can't wait for more!

  9. M

    I also had the opposite reaction that you had to Furuya here. I thought he shined this episode. The development here was all kinds of on-point. Everything with this character, from his debut episode on, was getting him to remove his isolated (and, by extension, egotistical) perception of his role in the game and finally understand that he's part of a team.

    And the fact that he showed those obvious flaws in this episode just makes me like him even more, because of how incredibly subtle the writing is in progressing his character. It's not an immediate change, but a slow one. It's development where, even if he has a major breakthrough (like he did in this episode), his whole character is going to instantly change.

    Furuya was outcast because of his skills, which built both his ego and the notion that he's a single man against the backdrop of less important people. Hell, he only joined Seido because he thought Miyuki could catch his pitches. So at first, the guy gave no consideration at all to the team he was signing up for.

    But then he saw how the other players were. He saw how strongly the played together, and their passion for the sport and their teammates. He saw that he wasn't quite as good as he thought he was, that there were things he had to work on. Sure, his pride was still there, it's a central part of who he is; but despite his experiences in the sport, he still bit his lip and worked to improve his pitching. Through all of that, you can see that he began caring about the rest of his teammates, and not just himself.

    But, he still has his ego. That's not going to change overnight. He still has it lodged in his head, even if he's recognized that he's got a lot to work on, that its his responsibility to carry the team when he's up on the mound. He places everything on his own shoulders. But whereas it was completely self-centered before, that ego and pride of his is now channeled for his team. That's the first step of his character development.

    Then you get to this episode. Before, he wasn't able to play the whole game, and that frustrated him, but he always finished the inning. Even if he had a few hiccups, he was able to finish it out strong. In his mind, the image that he could carry the team while he was on the mound was still strong and firm. But this game, that's not what happened. He couldn't finish the inning. That was Furuya's first failure to his sense of self at the moment, that it's his responsibility to carry the team that he's started to care for to victory. He even mentions in the match that "he won't let their summer end here."

    So when Eijun approaches the mound, having been swapped in as the pitcher, Furuya hesitates. Is it disrespectful to the coach? Damn right it is. Would he have brought the team down had he stayed in? Undoubtedly. But this was a HUGE moment for him as a character. This was the first time that he, himself, with his own hand, had to put the ball in another pitcher's glove. That's a big deal, something that's difficult for him to do. He needed his other teammates to remind him what it really means to play on a team, that trying to do everything by yourself will only hurt everyone in the long run.

    He's still got his ego, and he's still got his pride. Those are deeply embedded elements of his character. But the fact that he, at the end of it all, was able to hand the ball to Eijun himself and walk back to the dugout (he didn't have it snatched from him, he didn't have to be carried off the field), shows that he's taken a huge step in his development. That's why the scene got so much attention, and that's why I loved Furuya so much in this episode.

  10. Obviously we're each entitled to view that in our own way. Not having to have the ball ripped from your fingers after the coach pulls you and then telling the guy who's been cheering for you from the bullpen the whole game "You piss me off" is about as low a bar as one could possibly set for acceptable behavior, never mind admirable, if you ask me. But that's me.

  11. R

    I should have felt happy that this show will get 52 episodes, but no…the first thing that came to mind was, "Damn you, IG/Madhouse, pick up the pace. You've used up more than half of what you have given to this show." I want to see more character growth — not only in skills but development as a person. I want to see more team play and how that helps Seido win a tough battle on the field. I want to see more human interactions — like how the third-year players pass on their experiences and Seido's spirit to the first-year, for instance. So much that I want to see, and I'm worried that it won't deliver in the current pace.

    I'm not annoyed by Furuya, and I don't find him boring. Miyuki — as a character — is the more boring one for me — he's too perfect and always right. His role is more like reading the script and telling the viewers what tactics to deploy. Yes — Furuya showed us a bad behaviour — arrogant and immature — but this makes him flawed and all the more interesting than Miyuki. I guess I'm not emotionally attached to Furuya yet and can see the potentials in his character development. Eijin is different. Gosh, I swore I'd curse IG/Madhouse and the staff if I still didn't see him standing on the mound in this episode — thank God that he did and that saved me from becoming bitchy and sweary. Eijin has been put aside acting stupid for too long — it's time to let him shine, and he deserves the hyped-up visual and BGM treatments. Eijin has the personality to raise the team spirit. I guess that's another reason for why Kataoka switched him out. It looks like we will have a recap next week — which will be a bummer unless it's really needed in the context of the remaining episodes.

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