Diamond no Ace is a bit of a time-crunch casualty this week, given that Sunday (my time) was already the craziest day of the season and most of its shows carried over, and now we can add two big-time premieres and a couple of smaller ones to the list. So this is going to be a bit of a short post, but as always don’t take that as any indication of a slip in my affections – this is just one of those days were a couple of shows are going to get the abridged treatment.
In truth this is a show that stands up pretty well to such treatment, because it’s focused like a laser beam on its most important themes. The name of this series is “Ace of Diamond” after all, so when Eijun says “This is how an ace acts!” it’s an important moment – a reminder that ultimately, this team-focused sports series is about that #1 jersey. The boys who wear it, and the boys who want to. And then there’s the oddball, Sanada – the one who wears #18 but carries himself with the bearing on the ace.
We finally find out why that it – he has an injured calf, and his delivery (all pitchers are taught to use their front leg as a brace, coiling their body and storing up all that resistance in the front leg, but he’s exceptionally good at it) puts extreme force on it. Sanada is in fact already tiring – he gives up a homer to Yuuki – but the way he comports himself afterwards is an object lesson for Eijun in the dugout. And that’s a big part of this story – Eijun and Furuya watching their sempai and learning what it really means to be the ace.
The other ace in focus this week is Tanba, who’s finally going to get his chance to pitch when it actually counts. Kawakami is pretty sketchy – plainly scared of Raichi, who he walks, and he leaves after having managed to give up only one run only thanks to more great defense (someone also needs to tell these Yakushi kids to stop sliding into first base – you get there faster running through the bag). It’s pretty clear from a narrative standpoint that Seidou is going to win this game, but Raizou and Yakushi are certainly proving an interesting foil. Selling baseball lessons for ¥100 by the river? If it was my kid I’d have called the cops, too…
ED4:”CLOUD NINE” by Eijun, Haruichi and Furuya