Talk about arriving just in the nick of time…
Update: To my not at all surprise, Diamond no Ace had a sequel announced today. No word on length, but it appears to be starting in April so no interruption.
This episode of Diamond no Ace begs the question – is it possible for the final minute to redeem an incredibly frustrating first 20? I don’t know – this was still a pretty trying experience on the whole, the latest in a string of them with Ace of Diamond. But it’s at least nice to know there’s a semblance of hope now, and that what’s become kind of a predictable drudge isn’t going to stay on that course forever.
I don’t think there’s all that much that need be said about most of this ep, because we’ve certainly seen plenty of it over the last month. It seems almost certain that Kataoka’s ham-fisted military discipline and Miyuki’s constant criticism are being set up as having been right for Sawamura all along, but I’m not buying what Daiya is selling here. It’s not so much tough love as incompetent indifference as far as I’m concerned, but I won’t deny there’s a cultural context involved in that interpretation.
It must be said, at least, that Miyuki is probably aware of Eijun’s importance to the team without Kuramochi having to point it out to him. And when the new coach (well, coach-in-waiting – though I’m skeptical) suggests that Kataoka bag the Fall tournament in order to toughen up Furuya to be the full-on ace by summer, Kataoka wisely refuses to do so. But his therapy for Eijun doesn’t seem to be doing much good – when he finally does allow him into the bullpen again (after a Purgatory stint in the outfield) Eijun once again proves unable to throw inside once Kataoka steps into the batter’s box.
There’s some studying video and such – it’s actually a freshman backup catcher who notices that Eijun’s shoulder is flying open when he pitchers to hitters – but it isn’t until Chris finally steps in that there’s some sense things could actually get better. It’s no damn coincidence that his arrival prompts the first real smile from Eijun in weeks – here, at last, it’s someone who’s supposed to be a leader treating him with dignity. Chris is certainly a much better mentor and better person than Miyuki, and thank goodness for Eijun he’s finally decided enough is enough. But I just hope he’s else to impart enough confidence and savvy in his “final lesson” to tide Eijun over once he’s back in the harsh reality that Miyuki and Kataoka are his future, and he’s worse off than if he were on his own.