Captain Tsubasa (2018) Episode 31 & 32

Episode 31

As expected, Nitta pulls a Tsubasa. Of course, it doesn’t matter, because he’s not Tsubasa and is therefore still going to lose, but he does it. And now he looks very honourable and talented and it’s fine for him to lose next time. I was thinking that it was kind of nice to see someone giving Tsubasa a taste of his own medicine, see how he likes it when people bust out some mad special move they just learned/stole mid-match, and then Tsubasa had to go and do it. He had to go and outdo him by blocking that Falcon Shot with some Wakashimazu-style karate moves. I don’t know what else I expected.

On another note, Katagiri seems to be fulfilling essentially the same function as the scouts were before the timeskip. He hadn’t really bothered me before (though to be fair, he only just got introduced a few episodes go) but I found it a little grating in this episode. It was obviously another budget-saver of an episode (understandable after the arc we’ve just hard) and I feel like he was nattering on to kill time. Plus having him talk is a good excuse to bulk out the airtime with flashbacks, of which there are many.

By the way, how many fucking pictures of fucking birds did they show in this episode? Jeez. That had to be a record. “Whoaaa Tsubasa is an eagle but Nitta is a FALCON and that’s also a strong bird, take him seriously, he might win!”. When it comes to episodes like this, sometimes I think I’d be more interested in watching 25 minutes of the directors explaining their artistic decisions. I dunno, I was just bored most of the way through. It’s not that Tsubasa et al are going to win that makes it boring, it’s that it’s probably the most by-the-book match I’ve seen so far (by the Captain Tsubasa book, that is, not the actual football book). I couldn’t even get myself hyped up for the two goals, even though the show was clearly trying to make a big deal of Nitta’s. This match doesn’t matter, Nitta doesn’t matter (yet), nothing matters. I did notice something funny, though: when Morisaki is in goal and they want an opponent’s shot to not score for Drama reasons, a lot of the time they make it so the failure is due to bad luck or miscalculation on the shooter’s part, rather than any skill on Morisaki’s part. Like it’ll hit the crossbar, or go off-course, but very

rarely will Morisaki actually save the goal. Don’t go getting the idea that he’s competent or anything.

I feel pretty sad for Nitta. He’s pigeonholed into this shitty little prefectural tournament box that I just want to get out of. Apparently, they get to him again much later in the series, though I doubt we’ll get that far in this anime, and none of the other adaptations have covered that far in either. That’s why I found it slightly disappointing when I first heard that the 2018 version was taking it from the top once again – so much has happened that hasn’t even come close to being televised yet and I’d love to see it (I know I should just read the manga, I’m getting to it). I understand that it wouldn’t have made much sense to David to start in the middle when the last televised incarnation came out in 2002, a good two to three years before the show’s presumed target demographic would have even been born. But it means characters like Nitta only ever get their boring bits televised, which is a shame.

Anyway, yeah, pretty meh match, in my opinion, just hoping they can wrap it up next time.

Episode 32

Okay, well, Nankatsu won, we got that one out of the way early. Just enough time for them to pip in one more goal and really rub it in Otomo’s faces. Praise the lord, we’re done.

The rest of the episode is something of a “where are they now” of the big names of Tsubasa’s football generation that segues into a Musashi vs Toho match. Wakabayashi, the Tachibana Twins, Matsuyama, that one fat goalie, the Young Noble of the Field (still on a time limit as before); the whole gang gets a look in. It’s lazy for sure, but I actually don’t mind it at all. It’s nice to catch up with everyone, even if catching up mainly means watching slightly taller versions of them kicking a ball around real good for a few seconds each. Except the Glass Ace, of course, who gets a lengthy and emotional segment befitting his return to the sport. It’s funny, I’d probably count Misugi as one of my favourite characters in the franchise after Hyuga, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing about his personality. He’s… determined I guess? That’s about it. But I just love his heart bullshit so much. That plot point is a stroke of genius as far as I’m concerned. He’s got a built-in jobbing device.

Also, can we add doctors to the list of near-uniformly negligent adults in this series? Misugi is in no way fit to play competitive football, and everyone knows he’s going to push himself over his time limit and endanger his life if it comes to it, but:

I wonder if a child has ever died in this league. If they did everyone would probably be like “Oh well, it’s what he would have wanted”. Maybe we need suing culture after all. These people are getting pretty reckless without it to keep them in check.

I actually laughed out loud at Hyuga’s indignation Tsubasa mentioning in an interview that he’d most like to play against Misaki. He is literally shaking with rage, like it’s an unacceptable challenge to his pride that Tsubasa would want to play football against his dear friend who he hasn’t seen or heard from in three years over the mean angry guy he beats in the national finals annually. Never change, Hyuga, you mad lad, you.

Oh, just to prove my point on the Jun/Misaki/Matsuyama sameface issue once again: I was watching this episode with my boyfriend who hasn’t been paying very close attention to the series, and when Matsuyama came on screen, he said “Oh, so Misaki’s been in Hokkaido all this time?”. And that was pretty dumb of him, but it shouldn’t be such an easy mistake to make.

The animation is a little off again this episode, but since there’s not too much in the way of action going on (and where there is action it doesn’t get too terribly awful), it isn’t that irritating. But I wanted to draw attention to it because of this one shot that I love where it looks like Roberto is growing out of Tsubasa’s shoulder.

I want to cover my walls in awkward Captain Tsubasa screenshots.

There was a little bit of a romance undercurrent to this episode, and I did not hate it at all. Not so much for the romance itself, but I think it’s cute that Yayoi and Anego have struck up a little friendship based on having huge crushes on football prodigies.

Next time is the conclusion of Hyuga and Misugi’s match, which I am actually quite looking forward to. Melodrama and bullshit lie ahead once more.

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