Well, naturally Daiya no A would decide to start off 2016 by royally pissing me off – must be payback for initially leaving it off my 2015 Top 20 list. It says something for how much I like the parts of this series that I do like that it could make that list despite annoying me as much and as often as it does (which is a lot and pretty damn often).
I’ve had the feeling for a while that Kataoka was going to start Kawakami in the final. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned that’s the anti-climax to end all baseball anime anti-climaxes. I’m sorry, but you just don’t get to make Nori as useless as a sheet of seaweed on the mound for the entire series and then make him the hero – it doesn’t hold water. I know Eijun is going to get a chance (against Raichi for sure) at some point in this game, but it doesn’t matter – Kawakami started is a plotquake plain and simple, even if I predicted it (and I did, you can check).
What of Furuya? Well, naturally he gets his ego stroked massively even while insults are heaped on Eijun. That aside, it will just piss me off that much more if Kataoka goes against the doctor’s orders and let’s him pitch in the final. I’m trying to give Kataoka the benefit of the doubt and believe all this is about keeping the team’s spirits up and using Furuya as a decoy, but Kataoka has done idiotic thing so often (and been deified for it) that I have my doubts.
It may change once Eijun takes the mound, but no kidding – right now I just like Yakushi better. Apart from Eijun and Haruichi there’s no one on Seidou I like as much as most of the Yakushi kids, and Raizou just appeals to me more and more. He’s a guy that’s very rare in sports manga (and frankly not all that much less rare in Japan) – one who calls bullshit out for bullshit. I love the way he and his team approach the game – they’re loose, they have fun, but they’re serious about winning. And Raizou is a pretty sharp guy when it comes to psychology too, much cagier than he lets on. I sincerely hope we see Raichi pitch in the final (I had some inkling he pitched at times) because I think that could be really interesting.
One other thing you can’t help but notice about Yakushi – almost all their key players apart from Sanada are tenth-graders (i.e. first years). That may be part of the reason why they’re so lovably goofy, but it’s also an ominous thing for Seidou and every other team in Japan – as good as these boys are now, how good are they going to be when the freshman are all third-years? How good will Raichi be? I want to see Eijun get the respect he deserves – and the ace jersey – but I want to see the answer to those questions almost as badly…