Finally getting back to these. These are all filler eps, but by the end, we're ramping up the The Match. Can't wait!
22. Kaoru's Misfortune
You know, for an episode with his name in it, we don't see enough of Kaoru-chan. Not that we ever do, of course. But what we do see of him is very endearing. And sweet. And blushy. And cute. And we get to see his pretty hair. Okay, shutting up about this now.
Momo is also very endearing. Momoshiro lariet! He doesn't really think before acting, does he? And Kamio! Endearing! They get so caught up in their competition that they forget about the thief.
Behold! The introduction of Atobe. And what a total jerk he is. I think people tend to forget how he was manhandling Tachibana An. Not just verbally harassing her, but grabbing her by the arm and not letting her go.
I wonder why she agreed to the date if they beat the other players. Did she think he was nicer at first? Was Atobe just harassing her to begin with and so she said she'd do it if...? All she says is, "They were going to play street tennis here." Does she have a secret thing for bad boys?
This is another step in Momo's evolution as a doubles player.
Atobe is very interested in Momo. Not at all in Kamio, just in Momo.
Kamio is such a hothead. He gets more worked up over Momo than Momo does over him. (Only Kaidoh can get Momo to yell and fight.
I adore HomicidalRage!Kaidoh. He's so darling when he's violent. I think that people (including me) sometimes remember the puppies and the kittens and forget this side of him.
This is one of the best filler episodes ever -- just really fun.
23. Appeared! Inui's Juice Deluxe
Inui is digging up bugs that look like they're from Springfield, to put in his juice. He's so very, very sinister. Evil!
Burning!Kawamura calls Kaidoh Mamu-chan! And then poor Mamu-chan has to drink Inui Juice and passes out.
Inui is really enjoying himself today.
Tezuka beats Fuji in the zone-practice game. Seems like Tezuka was extra-serious and Fuji extra-un-serious, due to the Inui Juice on the line. But then Tezuka takes the wrong bottle and ends up imbibing the juice after all.
This is a lovely scene. Tezuka has to work so hard to keep his cool, but he does it. It's sort of a Fonzie moment for him. He takes gulp after gulp while everyone watches, horrified. He ticks them off for staring. His hand is shaking but that's all.
And this means war for Inui! He can't let his juice be defeated like that! So he breaks out the Special Golden Power Inui Remix Juice, now with more insectoid life-forms. Just in time for Ryoma and Eiji to play.
Inui realises that the practice isn't working out because everyone is too afraid of the juice. So he never makes it again.
During Ryoma and Eiji's game, Inui stops the ball in mid-air to deliver a 15 second rules clarification and to allow everyone to react to it. Then he starts it up again.
Ryoma disses Eiji with a between-the-legs shot and a "hoi!". Everyone is amazed except Tezuka, whose expression hasn't changed since he drank the juice.
During the rest of the practice, there's a lovely shot of Tezuka clutching his arm, then a pull out to reveal he's watching Ryoma play.
I really wish I knew what's in Horio Juice Special Grand Extra Version.
And that's it.
24. Ryoma's Holiday
Ryuzaki-sensei is so nice to Sakuno, trying to help her in her pursuit of Ryoma. Either that or she's feeling sadistic.
I think this is my favourite Nanjiroh episode. I love how he has no qualms about following Ryoma around and spying on him. And how Momo has no qualms about doing the same. They are so alike!
Momo really is a good senpai, though, taking the ichinen trio out for burgers and teaching them about tennis. And he's so valient! Worrying that Sakuno is being stalked and wanting to protect her.
Ryouma seems so rude to the old racquet-stringer. Fortunately, the man seems to think it's cute.
Is that Okiayu doing the TV announcer voice for the All-Japan tournament?
Both Nanjiroh and Momo are frustrated with Ryoma's neglect of Sakuno. Ryoma seems totally clueless about it. And I love how Momo considers himself an expert on dates, but later, with An, completely freaks out.
And then, the moment we've all been waiting for. *points to icon* Nanjiroh/Momo is so my evil bad wrong shota ship. I love how Nanjiroh just cuddles right up.
A bit of foreshadowing -- the racquet stringer asks Ryoma if he's bored of playing easy tennis, children's tennis. "I am a child," Ryoma says. ♥
And Ryoma turns out to be a nice boy after all. He helps Sakuno with her tennis. Because that's the only way he can relate to people right now.
Nanjiroh plays on Momo's kind heart to get Momo to buy him food. There is no record of what happened on that date.
Finally, finally, Tezuka asks Ryuzaki if he can play a match with Ryoma. There is train imagery. The episode ends.
It's a great set-up. This episode may have been "filler", but really, it points up a few things we need to keep in our heads for the match with Tezuka.
* Ryoma isn't pushing himself, he's not challenged
* Nanjiroh is shown parallel to Momoshiro, not Tezuka (in this ep, I mean, not generally)
* Nanjiroh follows Ryoma for his own amusement; not to imply he doesn't care about Ryoma, but he's in "watch and see what happens" mode
* Ryoma is all about tennis right now, only tennis, no matter that he says he's just playing to beat his father
* Tezuka has finished his evaluation of Ryoma and is now ready to act
Next episode...oh, next episode.