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.
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.
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.
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.