Archive for the Giant Killing Category

Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 9 – ETU! *clap clap clap* ETU!

Posted in 12 Moments, Giant Killing with tags on 12/17/2010 by Shinmaru

Writing about Giant Killing was one of the more fun experiences I’ve had as a blogger. On a purely objective level, it’s not an amazing show; the production values are average at best, the characters are solid but easily identifiable sports archetypes, the pace is unbearably slow at times and there’s too much damn recapping. But it does two things well that add a lot to my enjoyment of the series: Tap into the excitement and suspense that makes sports great, and create a fleshed out universe in which ETU can exist.

See, a lot of Giant Killing takes place on the field, but it’s not all about the games — its sole concern isn’t simply that the ragtag group of ETU players get better and overcome adversity, slay the giants they face. The show also explores everything that comprises the organization: The players, coaches, fans, general managers, owners, PR, staff and so on and so forth. ETU is presented as a living, breathing entity, and thus the viewers see that organization as sports fans see their favorite teams.

And I think that adds a lot to how people watch the series. We are privy to everything in ETU, and we’re just as much a part of it as anyone else in the show. Every week I would see people in blogs, forums or on Twitter on the edge of their seat because they desperately wanted ETU to score a goal or get a stop or whatever. ETU’s victories were our victories not simply because we identified with the players, but also because ETU became our team. People were even semi-seriously wondering if ETU jerseys were available! (For the record, I would buy the hell out of a Prince jersey.)

More than any one moment in the series (though there are plenty of awesome moments, because that’s the way sports narratives are built), I’ll remember freaking out every week on Twitter and blogs with my fellow ETU fans, waiting for the one episode where those giants would finally be killed.

Giant Killing 26 – CURRY PARTY (END) (?)

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 09/26/2010 by Shinmaru

Would it be too much to ask for Giant Killing to get a second season? I hope not. This statement doesn’t mean much, since I have such limited experience with the genre, but Giant Killing is the best pure sports series I’ve seen. (Cross Game is a better show, but it’s also not totally a sports series, whereas Giant Killing is all about the sport.) Exciting, solidly (though not perfectly) paced, and shows more dimensions of its sport and the world around it than most shows would bother with, Giant Killing has been one of the most fun shows for me to write about week in and week out.

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Giant Killing 25 – Victory Is Sweet

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 09/19/2010 by Shinmaru

I don’t know if Joojoobees was actually predicting that Sera would score a goal or simply using Sera as an example why Natsuki shouldn’t be automatically expected to score a goal despite all the attention focused upon him in this arc, but hell, let’s give him the Stephen Colbert “I called it!” anyway. Why the hell not?

Also, what’s the bigger upset: ETU getting the win against Osaka, or the game actually ending in this episode? I can’t be the only one shocked to see that Giant Killing didn’t milk the tension until the finale! Wow! As soon as it was revealed that there was four minutes remaining in the game, my first thought was, “This is going to be the longest four minutes in history.” Next episode will probably be the sports anime equivalent of the “life goes on” ending — the “season goes on” ending, I guess? Haha.

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Giant Killing 24 – Just As Planned

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 09/12/2010 by Shinmaru

As expected, Tatsumi’s plan largely reveals itself in this episode (although there is probably still more yet to come), and every match-up starts to bear fruit for ETU — some in large ways (Tsubaki and Gino teaming up to tire out Hiraga, Sugie perhaps inadvertently making Kubota open up his game a bit more and burning through his energy early) and some in smaller ways (Kuroda frustrating Hauer to the point where Hauer shoves Kuroda to the ground and earns a yellow card for his trouble). ETU has all the momentum right now.

(Quick question about the choice of card: It’s pretty clear Hauer attacks Kuroda after the play; it’s not a foul that comes because he went after the ball a bit too strongly, or whatever. Does the attack have to be more severe to warrant a red card? Does it depend on the league? Maybe the series makes the shove look more severe than it actually is, thus the yellow card? I guess it was just a shove in the heat of the moment and doesn’t really deserve an automatic ejection. You’d think ETU would at least try to push for a harsher penalty, though, or stand up for Kuroda.)

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Giant Killing 23 – The Limits of Talent

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 09/05/2010 by Shinmaru

Natsuki’s basic conflict in this episode is one that is universal to athletes: “Just how good am I, really?”

Every athlete has a limit, a ceiling to his or her talents. Some athletes have higher ceilings than others for various reasons (more naturally talented, more competitive, more willing to put in hard work, etc.), and once an athlete passes a certain point, the ceiling starts to get lower (as Sugie and Kuroda have found). Natsuki is a young guy, so he is pushing the upper limits of his talent . . . but Tatsumi’s talk with Natsuki before the game against Osaka brings one doubt to the forefront of Natsuki’s mind: “Am I really as good as I believe I am?”

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Giant Killing 22 – Stalling for Time

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/29/2010 by Shinmaru

This says it all about the look Gino gives to Natsuki . . . and my reaction to this episode, really. I mean, it’s not bad, but it definitely feels like a halftime show, and there isn’t much of interest until they get back into the game near the end point of the episode. The locker room stuff is kind of meh. Sugie, Kuroda and the rest of the defense realize where they screwed up, Tatsumi comes in and speaks as enigmatically as usual and everyone is off on their merry way. And the fan culture clash continues, but the game interested me a hell of a lot more, so meh.

As Tatsumi predicted, however, the players really did seem to get it the moment they stepped out onto the field. The defense is much more loose and free-flowing in the second half, able to use their advantages to their fullest extent. Kuroda continues to get under Hauer’s skin and frustrate the big Dutchman by attacking down low and exploiting Hauer’s weak footwork. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Sugie seems to be taking advantage of his strength by playing as rough with Kubota as is allowed by the refs. Nothing wrong with a bit of bumping to throw off someone’s concentration, after all.

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Giant Killing 21 – Kubota Is a Showboata

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/22/2010 by Shinmaru

lol red herring

Well, not quite. Part of Giant Killing‘s storytelling M.O. so far has been to tend toward one direction in a game, and then suddenly leap into a completely different direction, whether that is through a Tatsumi-employed tactic finally bearing fruit (followed by a flashback of Tatsumi drilling that tactic into his team), or a player whose impact on the game has been left to the background making his presence felt with a big play and changing the course of the match. In this episode, Kubota is the player who puts the game ever more out of ETU’s reach.

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Giant Killing 20 – Getting Ahead of the Game

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/15/2010 by Shinmaru

This episode does a solid job of setting up numerous storylines to play out through the course of the game, with various levels of payoffs that come in this episode and are sure to come as the match progresses.

The big result, of course, is the goal scored for Osaka via Hauer’s header at the end of the episode. What is most impressive is how many different parts are juggled to lead to that goal. First we have the match-up with Hauer and Kuroda. The fans are understandably worried because Hauer is bigger and stronger than Kuroda; however, Tatsumi has faith in Kuroda’s ability and smarts (along with a helpful suggestion about Hauer’s weak point), and this pays off at first as Kuroda quickly senses Hauer’s weaknesses and gets inside the big man’s head.

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Giant Killing 19 – Big Game Pre-Show

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/11/2010 by Shinmaru

I like how Emperor J writes about the perspective of the ETU vs. Osaka match in the comments of his post on Giant Killing‘s latest episode: To a neutral party, this really is not a big match; it only feels like a big match, because ETU and its fans are approaching it like a big match. Osaka, on the other hand, sees it as just another game, even if they might be wary of Tatsumi’s style of adjusting his team’s play depending on the opponent.

That look at different perspectives between the teams is kind of cool. Not too many fans are lucky enough to root for a team that is so consistently great that to watch them against an inferior team is a relatively “ho-hum” experience, whereas to other fans it is a genuine event. It’s like a homeless man’s version of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teams in the NBA during the late ’90s, where everyone got excited when MJ rolled into town. It could have been some meaningless January game against the Vancouver Grizzlies (trust me, nobody ever said, “Man, I can’t wait to go out and watch Bryant Reeves and Shareef Abdur-Rahim play tonight!”), but against the Bulls, no game was meaningless, because there was always the potential that they would pull out some kind of magic that night.

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Giant Killing 18 – Fighting Words

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/03/2010 by Shinmaru

Not entirely sure how I feel about skipping the entire second half of the match against Niigata. It’s an OK way to save time, I guess (I’d be curious to know if the same thing is done in the manga), and it does add a bit of mystery to how exactly the team has gelled after the locker room confrontation, but it’s always better to actually see things rather than be informed about them after the fact. Oh well.

The locker room fight in this episode is inevitable; I’m actually surprised it didn’t happen sooner, but the negative feelings probably needed to boil a bit in combination with the team being close to victory but falling short for a number of weeks. Regardless, a big conflict is clearly what was needed. Few people were on the same page; many had different ideas for what the team should be doing, and varying standards as to how high ETU should be aiming. Tatsumi definitely sees the lack of cohesion in his team from the tie in the previous episode.

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