Gurazeni – Episode 8
I suppose it was bound to happen at some point, some may say it had a long time coming, but I can’t help but admit this week’s episode of Gurazeni wasn’t as entertaining as the previous ones. This isn’t to say that I hated it or that the show is in danger in terms of me continuing it, but that this story was more of a miss for me. It still had a couple of highlights that I plan to touch up on though.
First off, we learn that the closing pitcher Segawa is in danger of being dropped because the team is looking to hire some foreign talented players. He’s obviously distraught with the news, so he starts working harder in his training right away, but the episode actually doesn’t focus on him, but on another player called Thomas. Thomas is American and a pitcher. He hasn’t really been successful enough to warrant recognition in the pros and he mostly plays in junior leagues, but from time to time he’s used in professional games. He’s worried he’ll the the one in the chopping block if a new player gets hired and he has reason to because it turns out that there are quite specific rules about foreign players in the Japanese pro baseball league.
This makes sense, of course, you wouldn’t want a Japanese league to be overrun with foreign players and if you’re importing talent, it might be unfair to local-only teams. Either way, the regulations are clear: although the number of foreigners in the overall team member count of 70 is not regulated, there is a cap of 4 for the amount of active foreign players in a game roster. On top of this, only 3 total players can be either pitchers or infielders at once in the lineup. The Spiders currently have 2 pitchers and 2 infielders in the active roster, not including Thomas, which means one of those 4 players have to be taken off the roster to let Thomas in and if a new player with more promising stats enters the team, it is only logical that Thomas would be the one to be let go.
I found this explanation very interesting and educational. I can’t say if that’s a real life rule outside of the Gurazeni universe, but I thought it was cool that it was included. Now, the reason why I didn’t enjoy the episode as much this time around is because I really disliked Thomas. He had a terrible attitude he can’t manage properly, he seems a bit entitled and he complains a lot. Bonda still does his best to support him by giving him advice on what to do if he gets dropped, by taking him along with him to work so Thomas won’t get lost and by reminding him that he should keep his cool on the mound since he has a short fuse.
Still, the advice falls on deaf ears and Bonda ends up being called to cover for Thomas when he becomes unable to perform properly. Bonda ends up getting his second victory of the season and Thomas lets his frustrations out by breaking a bucket. In the en though, we still get a nice positive ending as Thomas admits he’s learn something from Bonda. There are no hard feelings between them and they’re shown riding to work together.
Happiness is short-lived for Thomas, unfortunately, as he’s soon sent back to the juniors while Segawa is shown making a comeback. In the end the negotiations with the foreign player fell through and Segawa is no longer in danger. This was a bit expected too, if we’re to consider how previous episodes have all ended neatly in a way that minimizes impact on the cast as much as possible, but it was really the fact that Thomas, the focus of the episode, had such a bad attitude which dampened my enjoyment this time around. I hope it won’t happen again soon because I really enjoy this show.