Giant Killing 9 – Joga Bonito

Marcus Tulio Tanaka celebrates with Makoto Hasebe after scoring the opener against England
Who is to say foreign-born players are a bad thing? Oh wait, he scored at both ends.

A lot can be said about hardcore support for certain teams in nearly empty stadia. Periodically, it can cross over the line, and the 9th episode of Giant Killing tries to provide such a scenario. Stopping a bus from departing doesn’t really compare that badly to dropping flaming mopeds from the 2nd tier of a stand, tossing a pig’s head at a player taking a corner because he left your club for your rivals or rioting because the referee did not give your team a penalty. That was just one little aspect of this particular episode.

The episode begins with the conclusion of ETU’s 5th defeat in 5 matches to start the season. The Skulls are rather upset at Tatsumi’s management of the team and wish to speak to Tatsumi about their run on top of his departure ten years earlier. The general manager, Goto, manages to appease them and they are able to get away from the stadium.

All I could think watching this interaction was, "please don't let this progress any further."

Between matches, Tsubaki finds himself unable to talk to Tatsumi before he turns to Murakoshi for advice. That advice seems to be worry about yourself and learn from your mistakes. He says experience is what counts most at this level and even the most clueless coach would have benched him by now for all his mistakes. Tsubaki sees a certain desperation out of the captain and he sees that he has to be the same as well.

I'd probably have the same reaction to a shockingly bad article in print too.

The next part of the episode revolves around the media. The beat writers realize they are forced to cover everything from a positive angle, though the general media sees Tatsumi possibly being sacked after the match. Fujisawa, though, continues to cover ETU as a freelancer and submitted a column which was described as childish by her peers. It basically said that ETU will turn things around because of Tatsumi’s reactions are more lively following each defeat. She also realizes her job may be on the line as well if Tatsumi is sacked.

The final storyline of the episode involves the Nagoya team that Tatsumi’s team is playing in their 4th league match. ETU’s former manager Fuwa is in charge of Nagoya and he spent big on bringing in a trio of Brazilian internationals to improve the squad. The holding midfielder Carlos, along with the strikers Zelberto and Pepe had fired Nagoya to an unbeaten record early in the campaign, but before the match against ETU the problems are made evident. The Brazilian trio miss the warmups because they are too busy buying their own shirts from the concessions and showing off some tricks to the fans outside. They eventually make it back, but their special treatment by the management upsets one of their more established players.

Even the voice of reason can get sucked in by style-over-substance

Thoughts: I actually found it maybe a little strange that Zelberto seemed to be the only one of the Brazilians who seemed to care a little bit about his job. Maybe I’m reading way too much into Carlos and Pepe. Anyway, as nice as it would seem for the plot for ETU to finally score a win here, I think they get a point out of this match. Call it something between real giant killing and realistic narrative. It could probably be pointed out that the lessons of The Secret could apply to this Nagoya team, but I’ve seen far too many football games where the more talented team of players hating each other wins.

6 thoughts on “Giant Killing 9 – Joga Bonito”

  1. Loved this episode. I really appreciate how prolonged the suffering is, and the ‘badly written article’ provide the perfect kind of shonen/hot-blooded absurdity that reminds me forcefully of the Japanese character of the narrative.

    That said, I really need to see ETU get a fucking win now, which is flagged so much it’d just be horrible if they lose:

    1. Annoying former manager who now got what ETU wouldn’t indulge him with.
    1.1 Said annoyance is actually successful.
    2. Grudge is borne by both sides.
    3. Morale gains have gradually been made by Tatsumi and ETU.
    4. Foreigners are shown to be hubristic, or at least irresponsible.
    4.1 Locals in the same team are pissed.
    4.2 This conflict will play out on the field.
    4.2.1 Just when the conflicts within ETU are resolved in a breakthrough manner ON THE FIELD
    5. Tatsumi is due for vindication.

    I am so not looking forward to the eventual flashbacks of how ETU prepared for this match… or am I?

    1. I can just imagine the flashbacks revolving around the foreigners losing possession and Nagoya’s Japanese players not trying as hard as they could leading to ETU goals. The commonality in 3 of your points is really money since Fuwa never had any to spend at ETU, and at Nagoya he can splash the cash on Brazilians who are there just to collect their massive wage. And yes, Tatsumi deserves some vindication by now, not least because Murakoshi would be allowed to kill him soon if they keep losing.

      1. Or, a flashback showing how Tatsumi designed a ‘kiddie’ game that’s designed to bring out a realization, an attitude, or ability in the players — precisely how to exploit whatever he saw was a weakness in the Nagoya team.

      2. I don’t really see one of those ‘kiddie’ games coming into play here. They exist just to break conventional training up with something different, and were more important to building team spirit than anything tactical. With that out of the way, he can probably pull off some tactical trick to exploit the conflict between Nagoya’s foreigners and the rest of the side.

  2. I know you posted about episode 10….but I don’t to read your post about it just yet. I’m DLing 10 right now.

    I want to thank you for getting me into this show. It really was off my radar as the Spring season started. Don’t know why, but now it’s a must watch show, like Angel Beats.

    That silly anime-blog contest turned me on to your site and the first thing I noticed was that you were using soccer to write about anime. On my blog, I use anime to write about soccer (and motorsports). So this weekend I did a Giant Killing marathon to get to episode 9.

    Great story great show, in spite of the Studio DEEN animation.

    1. Surprised that the aniblog tourney got me any recognition at all from anyone considering how brief my appearance was in the qualifying round. I generally try to present things differently, mostly failing in the process, but when I eventually do make a post that is amazing I hope it will make people sit up and notice.

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