Canadian-born England midfielder Owen Hargreaves has had a rough two seasons. After signing for Manchester United from Bayern Munich, he enjoyed success in aiding the Red Devils to the 2nd of 3 consecutive titles in 2007-08. Then the injuries began accumulating to a great degree, as tendonitis led to surgery that ruled him out for almost all of the following season. Then his rehab did not go as well as expected as his return continued to be delayed. Reserve appearances continued to be pushed back until finally he made his return at the end of last season for a brief substitute appearance. Of course, fate continues to be cruel to him as he once again finds himself injured.
The 15th episode of Giant Killing sees the return of an ETU player from injury. He was vital before the injury, but could his return damage the club?
A few things that stood out for me from this episode are Sera’s similarity to Tsubaki, the continued introduction of surprise elements and the future flow of the series.
Sera = Tsubaki?
The focal point of this episode was Sera, but I could not help but feel that it made him seem almost the same as Tsubaki. If you remember, Tsubaki had issues dealing with his level of confidence and he used image training to try to adjust to different situations, when all he really had to do was play more matches to build up his confidence. Sera now finds himself in another crisis of confidence because his only goal of the season was a consolation goal. As an added wrinkle, the return of Natsuki from injury and Sakai’s form off the bench continue to add pressure to his place in the team.
I can’t help but feel that the problem is going to be resolved by Tatsumi telling him that he is free to make mistakes. However, I can actually see Sera being dropped because he probably doesn’t suit a lone striker role as well as a larger player might. Equally, I can see Natsuki getting injured again and allowing Sera to continue.
Yet Another Surprise?
The re-introduction of Natsuki into the team isn’t terribly surprising from a perspective of a typical top-flight football team. What is problematic is the fact that it continues a trend of writing that would be unforgivable if it were not so well executed, though this plot thread will have to wait. To date, we’ve had surprise introductions like:
- Tatsumi having no idea who Gino was when he appeared for pre-season training
- Tactical revelations in the friendly against Tokyo Victory being revealed after the fact
- The match against Nagoya was filled with surprise elements of its own as I highlighted in those posts
It just seems as though there is little faith that a viewer would find Tatsumi knowing someone recovering from injury the whole time would not be entertaining. While Natsuki coming back from injury should be worth focusing on from a series standpoint, Tatsumi and Sera shouldn’t just remember that he exists on the day of his return.
How Many Matches Remaining?
With 11 episodes remaining in the series at this point, I thought that perhaps the series had slowed down far too much. With 4 matches gone in both the league and the cup, ETU should still have 33 matches remaining at minimum in the season (30 league, 2 cup, 1 in the Emperor’s Cup if included). This raises a slight fear that either the story will only get halfway before a second season of Giant Killing, or there will be a mad rush of episodes to get to the end of the season with plenty of details missed. I think the latter is more likely I’m afraid.
Thoughts: It looks like my Tsubaki-Sera point will be addressed in my next episode with dual crises-of-confidence. I just want there to be more rapid fire league matches. I especially liked the way the cup game against Sapporo was done, I just wished it happened more often that’s all.