Giant Killing 12 – USA! USA! USA!
The title has nothing to do with the episode; I am just in an obnoxiously patriotic mood after America’s 1-0 victory against Algeria. Go, America! Also, try not to give me a heart attack before the World Cup’s conclusion. The Lakers already sent me close enough to the edge. Thanks.
Have to agree with the consensus that this episode has a predictable, sort of annoying structure but is nonetheless entertaining because it is at least pulled off well. Rakuen’s observation shows that there is at least a method to Tatsumi’s madness — Carlos has a large part in Nagoya’s defense (when the team actually has to defend, anyway). Really, it shouldn’t be surprising that Carlos is so good; the episodes have been focusing on Zelberto and Pepe so much that it was only a matter of time before Carlos stepped up and showed his stuff.
Despite the fact that they are the “enemy”, I do like watching the Brazilian crew do its thing. They would be a fun team to watch every game, like the Phoenix Suns of Giant Killing‘s soccer league. Aside from Itagaki and Fuwa’s characterization, Nagoya seems like a pretty likable team. The focus on the actual quality of play rather than villainous maneuvers by the shadier characters makes this game more enjoyable to me than if there were a clear-cut hero team and villain team . . . the audience is meant to root for ETU, yeah, but in any other game, I’d probably be rooting for Nagoya.
With Itagaki getting pissy, though, it appears as if he is going to force the issue in a desperate attempt to get a goal for Nagoya. Kuroda has been owning him all game, and he doesn’t seem the type to be able to improvise well, so this probably will not end up well. There’s a difference between a player recognizing he needs to step up and lead his team to victory (though a single player doing this is more difficult in football than, say, basketball), and a player getting selfish and developing a Hero Complex.
The Hero Complex is one of the worst things a player can develop in sports. (As a Lakers fan and a fan of Kobe Bryant, I know what the Hero Complex looks like at its very worst. :p) It’s not just that a player has to drive the team to victory — it’s that he has to drive the team to victory on his terms, and nobody else on the team matters at all. Itagaki is bitter and resentful of the status the Brazilians enjoy on the team; he does not believe he is appreciated enough, so he is going to score in his own way so that the team will be forced to appreciate him. That is just not going to fly.
ETU is going to win the game the right way because, really, they’re just relieved to be scoring a goal at all, haha. They’re feeling some pressure, but they just want to get a win; Nagoya as a whole, and Itagaki in particular, is feeling the pressure to live up to immense expectations. Some teams can meet those expectations because they are great all around, and some teams will just implode. Nagoya is getting close to imploding.
Now I have to laugh at this lady again, sorry. It’s just funny that she comments on Tatsumi’s tactics earning her respect, as if that is worth anything at this point in the series. She’s standing back and hoping that ETU will win so that she can fart out a good article. That’s good journalism how, exactly? What a joke. Maybe she should latch onto Nagoya and follow them from now on.
Anyway, the game continues to be fun and entertaining, although it is kind of funny how many episodes it has stretched through. Guess ETU’s first victory of the season deserves a tighter focus than normal. I wonder where the series will go from here on out, since the series will be halfway over when ETU (presumably) wins its first game of the season.