Note: There may be mild spoilers for future episodes in these write-ups. Previous: memories or tagged.
It's Momo and Kaidoh and Kaidoh and Momo and Tezuka and Inui and Mizuki and Oishi and Eiji. I really enjoyed this batch a lot.
30. Mizuki's Scenario
Kaidoh loses his nerve and doesn't hit the Snake because it seems like Yanagisawa and Kizarazu were expecting it. While he's not totally falling apart here, he's still pretty rattled.
It's interesting how mentally weak Kaidoh really is, compared to the rest. He lets his frustration get the better of him against Kamio and Ryuzaki-sensei has to yell at him to bring him around. Two other times, it's Momo who snaps him out of it. Which is why they make such a good pair, actually.
Mizuki is the only one we've seen call a time out during a match that's not due to injury or equipment failure. (If I were less lazy, I'd look up the rules about this. I didn't think you could call random time-outs, even to sweep the court.) I like how strategic he is. Everyone on his team is just a game piece to be manipulated. I think he wishes that Inui were doing the same thing so they could face off.
This is counter to the overall message of tennis for its own sake, but I rather like it. Because of the thought and planning involved, I guess.
Momo and Kaidoh are getting each other worked up. Momo knows just how to get under Kaidoh's skin without actually making him too mad during the game.
(Aw, Kaidoh looks over at Inui before he decides to hit the Snake! And Inui is happy.)
I wonder why more people don't ship MomoKai, actually. They're an awesome, awesome pair, IMO. So much energy and scope for conflict and resolution and groping.
Boomerang Snake! It totally shocks Fuji -- his eyes and mouth are open. Not Inui, of course, and not Tezuka because he's just had Botox injections and his face won't move.
Ryoma kind of taunts Kaidoh from the sidelines, saying that the Boomerang Snake is incomplete because it's not in the singles court. And Kaidoh doesn't freak out because he knows this and it bothers him.
A remark from Tezuka about how simple-minded Momo is. I imagine he doesn't mean dumb, just kind of uncomplicated. Maybe more single- than simple-minded. And then, when Momo goes up for a Dunk Smash, a compliment -- "As usual, great timing" -- and a smile. A smile. From Tezuka. (Despite the Botox.) Up until now, the only thing we've seen make Tezuka smile is the news from the doctor that his arm is all right. Such is the power of Momoshiro's charisma.
Momo and Kaidoh are not quite smiling at each other. But something is starting to happen there. They're in sync. And I'm smiling.
31. Moon Volley
Kaidoh keeps hitting St Rudolph with the Boomerang Snake. Momo compliments him and Kaidoh snaps that Momo won't be able to show off now. They start to manhandle each other on the court. Everyone watches them yell at each other.
Tezuka remarks that it's an odd pairing, but the result is better than expected. I wonder if Inui had to talk him into this. Or talk Ryuzaki into it. But really, I think Ryuzaki would have agreed to it just to see what would happen. I'm sure they are providing her with plenty of amusement.
And Momo's Dunk Smash takes out Yanagisawa. Everyone is shocked and worried except for Ryoma who grins. The brat.
Poor Momo. He's not happy with winning this way. Tezuka looks pained.
The Golden Pair step up for D1. I actually don't like this match very much. I'm not sure why.
Ryoma is lounging under a tree instead of watching the match so the first-years have to come get him when things start going badly for Seigaku. I wonder why the rest of the team let him get away with that.
I so admire the way Mizuki sets things up to work against the Golden Pair. It's really smart. But in the end, the lesson is that you have to work together with your partner, not rely on strategy.
There's a flashback to Bondage Tennis, where Ryoma and Momo become entangled and the Golden Pair float like butterflies and sting like bees.
Oishi really has the prettiest eyes.
32. Super move! Eiji's "Pretend to Sleep" Attack!
Everyone is shocked that the Golden Pair is having so much trouble. Except, of course, for Mizuki.
We really see Oishi shine here. He's so calm, so patient, so precise. I do love him.
About Australian Formation -- I am not a tennis player, but when I was doing a bunch of reading on formations last year, while I was working on I Am The Walrus, I thought from the diagrams and such I saw that what they're doing is really the I Formation. And that the Australian Formation was where they started out in opposite corners and then crossed to the other corners after the serve. Maybe someone who knows about this can clarify.
Ah, Flashback!Inui, lecturing Oishi and Kikumaru about their formation and combination. If I didn't like watching Inui play so much, I would say he should be their coach and trainer forever.
I like seeing Kaneda putting the good of the club above the need to be respectful to Akazawa. It's obviously a hard thing for him to do.
Ryoma takes off again. Is he bored? Does he not like to watch his teammates struggle? I'm thinking bored. But then he gets told off by Tachibana and Ibu for it.
I would like to see Kamio and Ibu play the Golden Pair. That would be an interesting match.
The way Oishi covers for Kikumaru -- we see that from a couple of other players later on. Kaidoh covering for Inui and then later Momo covering for Kaidoh. Have I missed anyone else?
I don't usually watch the end credits this time through the episodes, but I did today and there's a nice scene of Tezuka leaning against the fence, watching Ryoma from behind.