Captain Tsubasa (2018) Episode 33 & 34

Episode 33

Well, we all knew this match was going to end with Toho winning, but Misugi and Musashi acquitted themselves pretty well, and I thought it was a pretty exciting match. Hyuga and Misugi’s running clash right before Misugi damn near drops dead is hype as all hell. Wakashimazu’s last-minute save was also incredible. Mainly I think I liked this episode because it went so overboard with the colourful special effects. And of course, Misugi’s heart nonsense and Kozo Kira’s coach nonsense.

But really though, do they even bother setting Misugi a time limit if they’re not going to enforce it? He’s clearly near death, i.e., the thing that the time limit was presumably imposed to prevent, so they should be dragging him off the pitch no matter how strong his resolve to play is. Why do they even have his doctor here if he’s going to hold off on intervening because “Misugi worked really hard”? This world is terrifying. I am happy he’s playing though, because I literally could not name another Musashi player if my life depended on it. It’s just a shame he can never win an important match at the risk of undermining the main rivalry. Poor Misugi, the eternal third wheel.

I love that they had him seductively clutching his chest in the mid-episode eyecatch:

And here is yet another bold design decision from the visionaries at David:

What did we do to deserve such artistic bounty?

On a related note, I’m glad Kozo Kira still gets to be around despite not being Hyuga’s coach anymore. We’ve already lost Roberto, I couldn’t handle losing the other damaged coach too. All melodrama sources in this series must be protected at all costs. His scene at the end of the episode where he bitches out Hyuga for “going soft”, i.e., hesitating in the face of his opponent’s heart issues instead of kicking him right in the fucking chest like a real winner would. I am also enjoying the extended Hyuga-as-tiger metaphor he invokes, it leads to some amazing shots. Such as this one, which definitely belongs in a museum:

That tiger’s expression is such a mood, he’s so done with everyone’s shit.

Speaking of melodrama sources, I can’t believe they kept playing the second half while Misugi was rolling around on the ground, possibly going into cardiac arrest (well no, I can believe it, but it’s still pretty wild). I mean if that’s not grounds for a brief pause in the match, what is? And if they don’t want to stop play, they could at least send someone to check on him to make sure he’s not, y’know, dying. It takes like 5 minutes before anyone decides to take a look at him, and even then it’s only his teammates. His doctor’s right there, it’s not like he’s got anything better to do.

But yeah this was a fun episode, especially for a non-nationals match. A lot of the time I actually have more fun watching the matches that Nankatsu aren’t involved in. They feel freer or something. Anyway, onto the next one.

Episode 34

I’m not sure whether this is a popular opinion or not, but I love episodes like this once in a while, where the action gets put on hold and we get to see how all the boys we haven’t seen in a while are doing. Football match after football match can get a little bit insanely repetitive. And wooo, Misaki’s shown his face again. Visiting Germany and living in France, but still. Before the reveal for a second I thought Wakabayashi might have been talking about a later character, Karl-Heinz Schneider (“the emperor of West Germany – no, of all European youth football”, according to the ‘80s anime). But I’ll take Misaki too. Even if his excuse for ghosting the Nankatsu boys was flimsy as fuck. “Too busy settling in” my ass. If you can find time to bounce around France teaching young fellas how to be friends with the Ball you can find time to write a lousy email (or letter in the original) to Tsubasa. That’s cold, Misaki.

Hyuga running away from his team to train with Coach Kira in Okinawa is another one of my favourite anime plots of all time. I love this training arc so much, the concept is hilarious, it looks amazing here, and I’m just sorry it doesn’t last longer here. It’s so, so stupid. How exactly is kicking balls into waves during a typhoon supposed to hone your football skills any better than conventional training? It’ll sure as hell harden you up though, as long as you don’t get hypothermia, and I guess that’s the main goal anyway. Hyuga and Kira are a dynamite combination, absolutely nobody gets up to antics as serious as this pair.

Fuck Toho’s coach, by the way. I understand he’s freaking out about a child disappearing on his watch (and wow, Kira seriously fucking dropped the ball not reporting that Hyuga was safe with him – if newspapers are reporting the disappearance does that mean the police are involved?), but it’s unnecessarily cruel, not to mention irrational of him to crush a promising player’s future and throw his own team’s chances of winning down the drain just because his ego’s been bruised. Why do all the adult football people in this show have emotional problems? Well, they probably do in real life too.

The end of the episode dragged for me a little bit, as first-round Nationals setup tends to, to be fair. It’s hard to get excited about a team you know is going out in the first round. Plus after the Hyuga plot line got introduced that became basically all I cared about for the episode. Soda’s gimmick as a centre-back who scores the majority of his team (Osaka’s Azumaichi FC)’s goals is pretty intriguing, though, and it could potentially lead to some interesting moments in the next episode. Let’s hope, anyway!

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