Stand Up – Because You Were There
I want to run with you
Finally, the Riku issues get addressed and resolved.
The episode begins with Honan’s practice session before the EoS match against Saisei. Riku’s typical problem of slowing down towards the end occurs again. While Takeru has no tact, Nana is better at it and even manages to conclude from her data that Riku’s problems aren’t physical but mental. It’s his own mind that makes him slow at the end. Dan-sensei makes Riku and Takeru work on it together but nothing seems to help and eventually, Riku snaps.
Gloom and doom but mostly gloom
We see him draw more parallels between Takeru and Tomoe. They’re both talented and insanely determined, and Riku feels that their advice or him to ‘try harder’ is spectacularly useless. He storms out of practice and conveniently runs into Saisei’s Asuma, bonding with him over intimidatingly impressive older brothers.
This also paves the way for Riku to talk about his brother complex.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen and others, it’s happening. Finally.
So, turns out that Riku used to admire Tomoe and wanted to be like him but after seeing that not only was Tomoe extremely gifted, he was also twice as devoted – as in run-during-a-fricking-storm-for-no-particular-reason devoted – Riku kinda gave up. Afterwards, stride lost its appeal and he quit before Takeru and Nana cajoled him into it again. Asuma saves the day with the rather predictable but still valuable advice that Riku is Riku, not Tomoe, and that he should run for himself and maybe his teammates.
Riku and the men in his life
Thus emboldened, Riku returns to Honan to run on his own, only for Takeru to join him. There’s a storm, because how else will they drive home the Tomoe/Takeru parallels, and once again, Riku finds himself staring at someone’s back. But unlike Tomoe who passively accepted Riku’s decision to give up on stride, Takeru insists that he wants to run with Riku. That seems to get through to our boy and he soldiers on, even beating Takeru with a final burst of speed.
Thus the episode that began gloomily ends on a happy note, rainbows and all.
No, seriously, there’s a literal rainbow.
Karandi told me before I started this show that it was nothing special but that it was perfectly watchable. Well, she said something along those lines. The exact words escape me. Anyway, point is that she was completely right. Aside from the made-up fun sport, there’s nothing about this that stands out but at the same time, it executes what it does have extremely well. It’s a good show; nothing great but solid all the same.
The reason I said that now is because of the Riku thing and its conclusion. Familiar themes and familiar actions but they have enough individuality to them to make you invested in the outcome.
Even the rain is sparkling with their joy
I can understand why Riku was so disheartened by Tomoe’s drive. That kind of hardcore dedication is intimidating and not for everyone. It’s perfectly natural to feel like quitting when the person you aspired to emulate turns out to be so far out of your league that he might as well be in a different galaxy. And it’s nothing short of impressive that Riku manages to move past that, even if it took years and a couple of friends to help him do it. Way to go, Yagami, you did good.
Moving on to Takeru, we see another glimpse of what seems to be him and Riku as kids that makes me think the person Takeru is chasing after is Riku himself. Now I’m curious for that story, as well as Nana’s role in the whole thing.
The mystery remains
Also, can I just say that I love that art in this series? My eyes are extremely happy right now. Just look at all those beautiful blues…