The Gist: we’re introduced to Seiseki’s striker Kasahara this week. He’s a third year who puts more work into the game than anyone else, but this will be his last tourney before he must leave the school and care for his ailing grand mother.
Tsukamoto is a huge fan and helps Kasahara train for the inter-murals… only to be picked over his senpai in a surprise move by the couch. This choice does not become obvious until their first game, where nerves keep the team stiff until Tsukamoto is sent onto the field. His clumsiness lightens the mood and his intense dedication (and stamina) saves the ball.
He’s still terrified by the end and has now idea how helpful he was until seeing the video from the stands. His team mates point out how relaxed the team becomes, and how Tsukamoto’s tempo keeps them racing.
Watching Tsukamoto watch the video on the train home is Indou Kaoru, Saku High’s team captain. He’s moved to tears by their support but rappidly shifts to a challenging stare. He wants to play against Tsukamoto.
The Verdict: The fake out with Kasahara was a good choice. Sure, it was obvious when the couch paused on the final pick and he hadn’t been picked yet, but it’s still a nice twist. Having Tsukamoto lead a counter charge was a good payoff too.
I am dinging the score down a notch this week because it was a little uglier than usual and it feels more emotionally disposable than the previous weeks. The narrative moved and we’ve met a valuable opponent for our hero but… this was more a step than a complete thought on its own.
Also I hate Tsukamoto’s damn cheek circles still. ARGH!