Diamond no Ace – 62/63

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I’ll say this for Ace of Diamond – it usually delivers in the clutch.

It’s Comiket weekend and I’m exhausted, plus the Top 10 post awaits, so this is going to be a slightly brief collection (for a double-episode) of my thoughts rather than the usual Daiya no A post.  Suffice to say, those were emotionally draining episodes, too – not surprising, really, but pretty heartbreaking nonetheless.  And they seem to set the tone for what sort of series this is going to be for the remainder of its TV run (for now).

There are certain rules we more or less expect to be followed in sports manga, one of which being that the hero can’t achieve his dream the first time he reaches for it.  There’s also the fact that thinking back on it, baseball manga that actually show us the Koushien itself are extremely rare – even when the protagonists qualify the story usually stops there and then (as it did with Touch and Cross Game, for example).  And finally, let’s be honest – did you really have the slightest confidence in Kawakami?  I certainly didn’t.

Taking all that into consideration Inashiro’s win was pretty much expected, but the way it came about was still a gut-punch.  I was really surprised how hard I was pulling for Seidou there at the end – I thought I was pretty indifferent to them apart from Eijun and Haruichi, but I really wanted to see them avoid that heartbreak.  And Haruichi has to be feeling it keenly, after having failed to make the final out despite making a spectacular diving stop on Masa’s liner up the middle.  Was it the correct call by the umpire?  The anime, at least, chooses not to show us.  Haruichi’s flip was a bit weak, but under the circumstances it was a hell of an effort and he shouldn’t feel badly – which is what I’d say about Eijun too.  But you know they’ll beat themselves silly over it.

The game was lost, really, not on that infield hit (Kuramochi fell asleep and let Carlos scored the tying run) or even Narumiya’s legit game-winning gapper.  No, it was Kawakami walking Yoshizawa after getting ahead 0-2 in the count.  With Masa and Mei on-deck, he had to end the game there – but I always hate watching Nori pitch.  He looks terrified every time, and his pitches follow suit.  I guess Kataoka didn’t have any choice, but Mine-san was basically correct – not having a real ace was the downfall of Seidou.  Eijun was their best hope and he did more than anyone could possibly expect from a first-year, but he was broken after that accidental beaning.  That was the beginning of the end.

I don’t think much of the Seidou third-years – apart from Chris – but I couldn’t help but feel for them here.  Seeing your career end that way is brutal – which is why I don’t blame them for not doing more to protect their kouhai after that loss.  I kept waiting for someone to go to Eijun, to Haruichi, to help them get through this – Eijun especially needed it desperately – but the third-years were so busy being heartbroken that they just couldn’t muster the strength (and even the next day second-year Kuramochi couldn’t comfort roommate Eijun even though he knew he should, because he was still in mourning himself).  Even the seniors are still kids, really – and that’s why high school baseball is especially gut-wrenching to watch at times like this.  They’re going to carry this pain with them for a long time.

Give Inashiro credit – in all honesty they probably were the better team.  Seidou’s pitchers gave up eight walks, and Inashiro really should have salted the game away long before they won it.  But it was a near thing – if Mei hadn’t loosened up Masa when he was gripping the bat so tight he looked like he was trying to strangle it, he probably doesn’t get that hit.  Coming so close and losing is emotionally worse than getting blown out, no question – and it’s Eijun especially I worry about.  He’s blaming himself (he shouldn’t, but it’s the human thing to do) and the next time Miyuki asks for an inside fastball, his nerves are going to be put to the test.

So – what now?  The third-years are out, but Kataoka apparently gets to keep his job (though he does have to grovel a bit).  A new captain has to he selected – as snarky as he is Miyuki certainly seems a more logical choice than Kuramochi or Kawakami.  And the first-years, especially Eijun, have to find their footing and start the long climb back into the light.  Maybe Furuya – dickhead to the end – will spur Eijun out of his doldrums with his arrogant declaration that he intends to assume the Ace role himself.  That’s where all this started, really, so it seems only fitting that we get back to it after the Koushien quest comes to an end.

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11 comments

  1. m

    I'm biting my fist to avoid spoiling anything, but let's just say, Eijun, my heart goes out to you.

    And Furuya's a dickhead.

  2. e

    Eh.

    A flaming one to boot. Roasted marshmallows anyone?

  3. I

    Looking back, I kindof did not like how this all ended, but then again its probably cause I was so tired of that one game, and I had high exceptions for how long it went,

  4. S

    mixed feelings on this. They certainly milked that game for as much as they could and more, so I'm glad that part is over. I won't miss any of the third years personally, and there's only one I could tolerate because of his ability (the captain). So looking at it that way, shit can only get better from here on out. (I was fantasising about the coach getting sacked too, but alas…)

    I did connect with the loss though. It really was gripping, and the emotions were raw and honest.Good stuff. I almost wanted them not to lose the way they did.

    I liked Furuya's reaction too. Maybe a dick move, but I think it'll spark a good reaction in Emiya.

  5. B

    Emiya ? You mean Eijun.

  6. A

    Oh wow, I was all ready for Inashiro to wrap this game up but when they did it actually kinda broke my heart a bit. I think it's because of Sawamura's reaction, to have him so beaten up is rough on the heart and maybe also the how staged it when Mei was up to bat (loved how it all turned out for Mei, though when he all but broke down showing another side of himself).

    " A new captain has to he selected – as snarky as he is Miyuki certainly seems a more logical choice than Kuramochi or Kawakami."

    Um.. Miyuki is the ONLY choice really, I can bet my money it's him. Aside from the obvious, he's probably the only one that's standing right now (did he cry?)

    Any word on an extension for the series? I mean it's pretty popular in Japan at the moment right?

  7. DVDs are selling very well, and the manga has always been a huge seller. I don't know why they'd wan to stop, though they might take a break of a couple of seasons after this coming season.

  8. B

    If you think Diamond no Ace is good, look for better baseball anime series like : Major, One Outs, and Ookiku Furikabutte.

  9. For the record, I think One Outs is the PoT or KuroBas of baseball anime. It's the baseball series for those who don't care about baseball.

  10. J

    I don't know why but I truly thought they were going to win this game. I have seen many sports animes and I know the formula, but for some reason I truly believed they were going to win this one, sigh. But man are they going to be in some trouble for next season, I can't wait to see who steps up to the plate (no pun intended).

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