Team – Connect Emotions, Become The Wind
“Right now, I’m not a runner but my feelings are running with everybody else”
It’s time for Honan’s next match and with Kyosuke present, they have a full team, ill-fitting jackets aside.
Their opponent team is Ichijokan and their Relationer, who’s an utter imbecile, shows up to provoke them. Sweet, kind Nana is fazed by his mockery when they’re alone and has a slight crisis when her concept of stride as a sport that ‘connects feelings’ is challenged. But Ayumu shows up in time to ease her mind with less idealistic thoughts on connection that use the Honan team as a base. It’s standard teamwork stuff but it suits the tone of the story quite well.
Actually, this entire episode is about connecting feelings and playing as a team.
The match itself is as exciting as the last. Riku once again has a rough start because the other runner baits him about his brother. This time, we’re treated to a quick flashback which pretty much confirms that Riku’s got an inferiority complex going on. Called it.
So, how many rounds of stride-therapy are we talking here?
Still, he manages to get to Heath. The asshole Relationer tries to engineer a collision like the one that caused Kyosuke to resign the previous year. However, Heath and Kyosuke see it coming and successfully connect. If anything, they seem determined to use that KGB incident to make themselves stronger. Kyosuke’s run is prefaced by his meeting with Ayumu from the previous episode. He uses Ayumu’s cheers and his perception of the wind to get ahead. The next problem is Hozumi and his lingering dislike of Kyosuke, born mostly out of concern for Heath. Once again, they connect their feelings – notice a pattern, anyone? – through stride and Houmi takes off, buoyed by team spirit. He reaches Takeru first and at that point, victory is in the bag because Takeru is insanely fast and just leaves his opponent in the dust.
We also get to see Nana oh-so-gently rip that jerk of a Relationer a new one as he tries to blame the failure on the runners alone. That was immensely satisfying.
Burn this bastard
Meanwhile, Hozumi and Kyosuke make up, nearly breaking their hands in the process, and all is rainbows and unicorns and candy clouds. It’s nice.
But it’s not the end just yet as Saisei Gakuen shows in the middle of Honan’s modeling session to fawn over Kyosuke and invite Honan to a stride camp held by them. I guess we’re in for some friendly rivalry next episode.
Is anyone ever going to address Riku’s issues or will we have to wait until his brother’s team shows up, as the OP guarantees? The boy’s got problems and I’m thinking he seriously needs to talk to someone. Then again, none of the freshmen seem to be in any state to have heart-to-hearts.
The match was as wonderful as always. This time around, the opposing team seemed quite unimportant in the face of the Honan members’ feelings.
Look at all that connecting
Speaking of, this show is not subtle about the whole connecting thing. It could possibly become annoying at some point but for the time being, I think it’s a good aspect of the story. The basic idea seems to be that stride helps the players connect their hearts and play in sync with each other or work out their differences or fix whatever emotional crisis they’re having. It’s no magic therapy tool but rather a channel for their feelings. It doesn’t hurt that it improves their performance.
Now somebody please use it on Riku.
This episode’s ending was hilarious. Not the Saisei invasion but the modeling. Okay, maybe I was just reveling in Hozumi’s angst at being the designated cute guy.
Embrace the cuteness, Hozumi