The Gist: Tsukamoto Tsukushi experiences the joy/hell of having to work harder than everyone else in order to even participate. He’s so slow that the first years have to do extra laps and everyone is pissed — but it doesn’t change his dreamy/urge to fight on. Eventually, he takes on the whole team’s laps, just to keep out of their hair …but the result is rapid improvement in stamina.
Later, while SeiSeki participates in a multi-school training camp during golden week, we get to see that absolute dedication pay off. After a few moments of all the other schools writing him off as a loser, they quickly realize that this, the shrimp of Seiseki is still better than their best. He sets an absurd pace running up the mountain trail and only his fellow first years, hardened by the challenge of repeating laps for his faults, can keep up.
I’m going to revise my take on Days from last week. Slightly. It is still an underdog story, but less about the underdog who finally finds the place he belongs and how everyone was already talented enough to be the best, just needing his magic push, a la Haikyuu!!.
It’s more about finding someone who can lead that legacy forward — someone who isn’t just good out of the gate but has the drive to pull his team forward and replace Seiseki’s pro-level captain. And the captain already thinks this will by Tsukushi, because he is willing to shoulder burdens for the team and push himself harder, which only drives his team mates harder to keep up with ‘the runt.’
The Verdict: I can’t lie! This format is designed to make you root for its hero from the get go and, despite being a simple hero, god damn I’m rooting for him already.
I mean, talk about pure format — Tsuka starts the episode trailing behind frustrated classmates only to end up leading them in an unimaginable blitz up a mountain. There is nothing subtle about that emotional arc!
Is it a good show? Absolutely not! It treads water just above generic with a predictable structure, likable but simple characters, and average artwork that only shines because it’s fully of bright color and depth of tone.
Should you watch it? I don’t even know, to be honest, but it has somehow ended up on my review list, despite the simplicity. Make of that what you will…