Anime Review: Giant Killing Episode 3

(Originally published on Livejournal on May 21, 2010)

Anime Review:
Giant Killing Episode 3

What This Is All About: Over the past several weeks, I watched the first episode of every fansubbed anime show of the Spring 2010 season. Ten of those first episodes passed the muster (out of more than thirty). Out of those shows getting the thumbs up, eight of them passed the second round, and now I am taking a look at the third episodes. Just a quick synopsis, my thoughts, and a verdict — nothing too fancy.

About The Series: Ten years ago, the future was bright for East Tokyo United, with their new star player, Tatsumi leading the way. But when he suddenly left to play soccer overseas, the team fell into a long slide. Today, ETU is on the verge of collapse, losing key players, sponsors and fans. In a last-ditch effort to turn things around, they hire Tatsumi back as the head coach. After being branded a traitor, can he win over his former fans and teammates, and will his unorthodox methods shake things up enough to bring ETU back from the edge?

In This Episode: The team arrives at their training camp in the far north, and Tatsumi’s at it again when instead of a structured training session, he tells everyone to just do whatever they want, and then leaves. But as always, there is a method to his madness as he watches from afar to see how the players behave when they are left to their own devices. Then he takes things a step further, when he takes away all of their balls except one. But perhaps Tatsumi has taken things too far, when the practice session ends in chaos and fighting.

The situation becomes even more complicated when the team’s star player, Luigi Yoshida, nonchalantly strolls into practice late. Brash and arrogant, Yoshida exudes an air of entitlement as well as confidence, asking for his fellow teammates to call him “Prince”. There’s a question as to how Tatsumi will handle such a strong personality, but instead of knocking him down a few pegs, he gives Yoshida a chance to prove himself. But it turns out that he can back up his attitude with actions, and easily shows why he is the star player on the team. Satisfied, Tatsumi makes the unexpected move of naming Yoshida team captain, as they prepare for their first pre-season match against powerhouse Tokyo Victory.

My Thoughts: More of Tatsumi showing what an odd duck he is. More of Tatsumi making decisions that leave his team confused and infuriated. More of Tatsumi being aloof and seemingly carefree with his public face, yet cold and calculating behind the mask. However, we still haven’t seen if his unusual coaching style will actually bear fruit; up to this point, it’s all just been setting things up for the first act. Now that we are on the verge of the first test match, the world will get to see if hiring Tatsumi was the most brilliant move in the world, or the biggest mistake they could make.

The big wildcard that was thrown into the mix this time was the addition of the star player, Luigi, a.k.a. Gino, a.k.a. Prince, who is just as full of himself as Tatsumi is. One would expect that the two would immediately be at each other’s throats, butting heads against everything, since they are so much alike. But because they *are* so much alike, it seems they both seem to understand each other on a different level than the other players. And more importantly, Yoshida has the goods — he really is as good a player as he thinks he is. It’s a gutsy move to make such a person the team captain because no matter how good any single player is, it is the entire team that wins the game. It’s as much of a risk putting Yoshida in that position as it was putting Tatsumi in his position – will it pay off?

The first three episodes have been nothing more that setting the background for the real story – the series truly “kicks off” in earnest with the first real game next episode. Not sure if I’ll stick around for the whole season – how it all plays out over the next couple of episodes will be the true test. If the show is mostly about game play, I’m outta here; but if it’s more about the character interactions and conflicts, I may stick around.

The Verdict:

My review of the first episode: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/461704.html
My review of the second episode: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/473478.html
Random Curiosity Review of Episode 3: http://randomc.net/2010/04/18/giant-killing-03/
Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Killing

Passing Grade for Round Three: Working!!, Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, K-On Season 2, Arakawa Under the Bridge

Up Next: The Tatami Galaxy, House of Five Leaves

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