Gurazeni – Episode 2
This week’s episode of Gurazeni is once again divided into two distinct parts. In the second part a new character gets introduced too, but this still has a bit of ‘manga pilot chapter’ feel since it focuses on a very particular situation with a limited number of characters. If they keep this pace, they’ll surely take ages reaching the cast shown in the opening credits. Still, this was quite an entertaining episode! There’s more focus on baseball tactics (lingo included) this time around and that was a nice improvement, as they didn’t focus too much on baseball in episode 1.
In the first part Bonda starts off with his usual self-introduction, but as he’s talking about his hobbies, he seems distraught. Sakota, one of the coaches finds him and he calls attention to Bonda’s obvious shortcoming. That’s quite an intriguing start! This part of the episode is also appropriately titled ‘Tendency’. The next day Bonda is called to play in a game and before the coach can explicitly say what Bonda’s bad habit is, the viewer gets a bunch of hints to be able to figure it out. As Bonda gets put in the game, he strikes out a player who has a very impressive batting average, but later on chokes up in front of another player with less impressive batting average and overall less impressive skills.
Anyone would be confused by such display, but then the difference between these two batters is their contracts. The first batter had a smaller yearly contract than Bonda and the second had a bigger contract. He confidently deals with players with smaller contracts because he seems himself as superior to them, but he gets nervous in front of players with contracts bigger than his. This is definitely a shortcoming in the world of pro baseball and something else the coaches would have to consider in their strategy. Bonda puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of contracts, but this also influences him negatively. One thing I found really interesting was that after the batter’s contract reaches 100 million per year or more, Bonda returns to his regular pitching form. Coach Sakota tries to put this bad habit on display for Bonda to try to fix it and in the next opportunity he plays, he ends up getting in a draw with a player that has the same amount contract as him. I hope they will touch up on this again in the future, as I would like to see Bonda improve this part of himself.
On the second part of the episodes, titled Buddies, we meet Bonda’s friend Akira. Akira is one of the starting pitchers of the Spiders and they’ve known each other since the beginning of their careers. This part of the episode was a little less interesting to me as it focused exclusively in the sort of slump that Akira was having. It was interesting in the sense that Bonda is relevant as a supporting role for these characters, the fact that he’s there makes things right somehow (even if that almost-home run at the end being caught was basically luck), but I had some issues with Akira’s overall attitude and demeanor. He’s a pitcher though, and a starting one to boot, so I’m sure he’s used to being the star. There’s also a lot of pressure that comes with his position and we learn some of it through the inner monologues he and Bonda are having, but I still felt like he was putting his buddy down.
Overall, this show is still a very fun watch and I liked how they mixed things up for episode 2, but I really hope they’ll pick up the pace a bit in character introduction because they keep showing me this woman in the opening and ending credits and I just want to know who she is by now! Hopefully next week we’ll find out?