Spending six months blogging this series has brought much more than I thought it would. Through the end of the European domestic season and the World Cup into the start of the new season, Giant Killing provided me the brief chance to combine two of my passions in this one space as we followed East Tokyo United through half of a season. Of course I hope for additional seasons of this as the entertainment value of the show was incredibly high as it weighed realism with professional sport. As DVD sales of the show seem disappointing and the inevitable sad conclusion to the story anyway probably mean this is the last we see of this team.
The final episode sees ETU start a new winning run after their win over Osaka, while Akasaki gets called up to the Olympic team forcing Tatsumi to make changes to his lineup. Finally, in a moment of inspiration, Tatsumi organizes a community curry party on a whim which proves to be successful. The three items addressed today are Tatsumi’s squad rotation issues, internationals and building a community club.
With Akasaki’s little international football adventure and Kuroda being suspended due to yellow card accumulation (off screen apparently), Tatsumi was forced to make some changes against Chiba. With that in mind, their Serbian manager targeted their attacks at Kamei, who looked well short of match fitness. Though ETU got a point out of that match, it perhaps shows how lucky Tatsumi has been with his squad this season.
International Football and the loss of Realism
For ETU, having someone from their team to represent Japan at any level seems like an accomplishment. Akasaki being Tatsumi’s first international player is an accomplishment for the manager. There certainly were questions I had about the whole manner in which the national team is portrayed, though.
In real life, 2/3rds of J. League clubs have had at least one player represented on the national team at senior level. Understandably, none of ETU’s older players would justify a call-up at that level anyway. With 3 first-team regulars who qualify for the Olympic side, it makes less sense that none of them would have been called up to this point. The U-23 side in real life sees players from the third tier of the Japanese leagues represented, so why wouldn’t they call up players facing better opposition consistently be called up before then?
I think more should have been made of the fact they could only beat Hong Kong 1-0, but last year Hong Kong’s Olympic team did beat a U-20 Japan side on penalties at home, so it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility.
Més que un club
At times in this episode, Tatsumi seemed rather disinterested. The curry party at the end seemed to light a fire under him and really symbolized all he wanted the club to be. At his English club, Tatsumi became a part of the community and was celebrated for the clubs success in knocking off league opposition in the FA Cup. With a much larger staff at ETU, Tatsumi was able to organize an event that connected the community, players and support staff at ETU together at a fun event.
Thoughts: This is actually the first series I’ve completed here, so this completion thing is a new thing for me. I have to say it was a good experience writing about this unique series, though its lack of commercial success is hardly surprising. So the storylines involving the Japan Cup, safety in the league, the backstory involving the leader of the Skulls will probably never be resolved in this medium. Thinking further about it, outside of this little aniblogosphere thing, does Giant Killing have any sort of impact? Finally, a question for my readers here. Since I have some time to fill in my “Blogging a show other than Legend of the Galactic Heroes” slot, is there any series I should really be looking at to write about past or present?