Over the past three months, I’ve used the start of these episodic plots to talk about various anecdotes in the football world and while they may not have tied entirely into the plot of the episodes, I’ve tried to make them have some relevance. As this week’s episode had all of a minute of actual action on the pitch I’ve decided to go with something entirely different.
A few weeks ago, I drove 2 hours to go to a specific place I watched World Cup matches four years ago. At a place like this I could talk to people I would probably never meet again about Argentina’s defensive woes and England’s chances. This happens to be a much different from my everyday life where I have to explain such things as why David Beckham can’t play for the United States even though he plays for LA Galaxy. So the part of the episode where Goro and the rest of the Edomae crew try to round up additional members is something I can relate to a bit.
The three areas I wanted to focus on were Yuri’s work life, the Edomae crew’s struggle and club mythology. None of these areas technically affect ETU at present, on the field, the provide great insight on the culture around the club.
The Dream Job?
Yuri is ETU’s PR manager and has her hand in nearly every bit of interaction between the press and the staff at the club. Since Tatsumi’s arrival, her job has gotten much more difficult. While the mood at the club is optimistic, and the media seem to be taking a more positive outlook on ETU’s chances, that has come with more media interest and much more work. Little wonder then that the stress takes its toll and she passes out at work.
If ETU were a bigger club, Yuri could have had an army of press officers to do the grunt work that she is forced to do now. It isn’t especially surprising that there is no one else there. If ETU were to be relegated for instance, they would have to sack most of the non-playing staff anyway.
In addition, after hearing the anecdote of her co-worker lamenting the fact that her daughter is carefree about life and has no work ethic, I had to wonder if Yuri should have had some of that spirit in her rather than the other way around. Fortunately for her, she seems to realize that she has to change Tatsumi’s image to make her job easier.
Fandom, of a Different Sort
In the excitement of winning their first match of the season, the shop owner Goro and the other 3 members of the old Edomae troop try to resurrect their old supporters club. What they run into is a bunch of questionable looks, absurd attempts at winning fans and ultimately one new member. Most interesting of all was the conversation with the clothing store owner.
While supporting a team with a group of like-minded individuals may seem like a sensible thing to do, it all has to be grounded in economic reality. The shop owner was struggling with the economy amidst the mass of closed shops around him. Taking time off from that and traveling around the country supporting a team that was still in the bottom half of the league made little sense.
The desire not to be forced to join with the Skulls was also interesting. It probably has to do with a clear age gap, the Skulls are noticeably younger in membership. Also, they do not fit in with the social norms that their group has been forced to accept with becoming older. Ultimately, it doesn’t seem like a wasted effort as they manage to get a new member.
In her conversation with Tatsumi, Yuri refers to a match in which Tatsumi scored two goals near the end to win a match. The fans had come to call this event “Sumidagawa’s Miracle,” because of the circumstances, and because it was Tatsumi’s debut for the club. As a fan, she can remember it being a cold night in April because of the cherry blossoms as she walked to the ground that night.
However, Tatsumi simply remembers it as just another match. I can probably understand it for the fact that it was probably 18 years earlier, and he was focused on playing the match more than anything else around him. Also, as a manager, he has probably had to suppress his own playing experiences because they have no relevance to his current role with the club. It also presents an interesting irony in that the person responsible for creating an important memory for Yuri doesn’t remember creating it.
Thoughts: I thought this was a pretty good episode in a classic slice-of-life mold. It looks like the series resumes it’s usual frantic pace from here. Sera will have to do with some unwelcome competition for his place, but as really the only recognized striker at the club it was bound to happen at some point. Also, it appears he doesn’t like the guy they bring back to the club. He was bound for some character development at some point regardless.