Basically, everyone is having sex with everyone else this time around. Except, for some reason, Tezuka and Ryoma.
42. Oishi Being Targeted
Last episode, we saw how Dan ignores the rules (the rules of FEAR) when dealing with Akutsu and how the result is that Akutsu tolerates Dan because he doesn't seem to know what else to do.
Ryoma finds out the same thing. He just doesn't seem to know how to deal with Dan -- he's off guard. Dan, of course, is using his "cute and bumbling" method to wile his way into Ryoma's affections. He actually gets Ryoma to say a sentence or two to him.
Glamour shot of Ryoma putting on his jacket. He's so cool it makes Dan's sweatband fall down.
Oishi is uncharacteristically pre-occupied. He doesn't even respond to Minami's greeting. In the background, Kaidoh is standing about as close to Tezuka as he thinks he can get away with.
Eiji tries to relax Oishi, but all of his usual methods are unusable in public, so Oishi is still uptight and missing shots. He's remembering last year, when he lost to this same pair, but not with Eiji. He's getting lovely sparkles while he plays but they don't seem to help.
Oishi and Eiji spend about half of the episode holding hands. It's how they activate their Golden Powers.
Tezuka tells Momo to go warm up for his singles match. Kaidoh, who is not playing in this game, tells him to warm up properly and Momo tells him to mind his own business. It's how they activate their Bickering Powers. Also, flirting.
Speaking of flirting, Ryoma sees Dan and Akutsu meeting under a tree. This also makes Dan's headband fall down and Ryoma gets jealous. Dan is playing him!
Dan has drawn a picture for Akutsu. Akutsu shows his love by destroying it, so no one else can ever see it. It is a special bond between them alone. "But stop flirting with Ryoma," Akutsu says. "You belong only to me."
Oh, god, Banji fakes a heart attack to mess with Ryuzaki. I just love him so much. He does seem rather happy that she attacked him afterwards.
There's a lot of bad hair in this anime but I think Minami has the worst hair of all.
In order to counter the Jimis' amazing sign play, Eiji starts making cryptic sex references that everyone tries to figure out. Inui complies a list for future investigation. "Teddy bear -- hmm, sounds like Furries to me. I wonder how Kaidoh would react if I dressed up." Of course, Kaidoh is still next to Tezuka and I think their arms are touching.
Oishi is energized by the promise of sexual favours and they win the game.
Banji lectures the Jimis. "There were no weaknesses in your play. But since you don't have sex with each other, you can't reach the same level as the Golden Pair." The Jimis look at each other and cringe. Sengoku wonders if there's a mixed doubles tournament he can get in on instead of this one.
Akutsu looks at Ryoma from afar. "I'm crushing your head! I'm crushing your head!"
The meeting between Banji and Nanjiroh gets the greatest wind effects. It's probably a reference to something. Banji disses Nanjiroh's flirting skills. (He actually does.) Banji says he gets a tingly feeling just wondering how Ryoma plays tennis. (He actually says this.) I don't think there's really anything for me to add.
Sengoku disses Momo by complaining he didn't get to play Ryoma. Momo tries to play it cool. But he is overcome by Sengoku's luck. On the sidelines, Inui is surrounded by children, who are all only half his height. He's like the ichinen babysitter.
Inoue finds out that Seigaku is weak against Banji. For years, apparently. Which suggests, correct me if I'm wrong, that it's Ryuzaki who is weak against Banji. Just ask the guy out already. Or toss him Kachiro to keep him busy during the match at least. Kachiro will do it, if he thinks it will help Seigaku win.
43. Lucky Sengoku
On the sidelines, Inui has rejoined the Regulars, but there's no sign of Kaidoh with them. Momo and Sengoku play tennis. People watch. Oishi and Tezuka discuss Momo. Tezuka actually says a few words in praise of Momo. He does seem to favour Momo.
Ah, Kaidoh is standing sort of near Inui, in amongst the ichinen. Taking the kids out for a Sunday walk, no doubt.
Sengoku pulls off a complicated play to use a Dunk Smash against Momo. Fuji is impressed by the psychological manipulation. Inui explains what happened for us mere mortals. Sengoku presses the point by switching from his "practice racquet" to his "game racquet". He comes back to win the game.
Kaidoh is ticked off that his sweetie is losing. He resolves to withhold his favours from Momo, to punish him. (Of course, he'll never be able to keep to that.)
Nanjiroh narrates a flashback to when he played against Banji's team. For some reason, Banji's ability to coach his players and get the best play out of them while treating them kindly and smiling gently during matches is presented as evil.
Sengoku is winning and everyone is worried about Momo. But there's no need. Momo is quite psychologically tough. He's enjoying the game. And garners another compliment from Tezuka. Momo yells to Ryoma to get him his special game racquet too. (Of course he doesn't have one.) Sengoku is taken aback a little.
But Momo is limping! Nanjiroh says he might be in trouble. He's been watching Momo, of course. But Momo is confident, even though he's got a leg cramp. He is the master of his fate, he is the captain of his soul.
Momo really steadies himself here. He's becoming self-aware, realising that he's just been attacking without thinking. He grows a lot during this game.
Flashback to the recent match with Tezuka. Tezuka lectures Momo covering for his sprain, which must have healed long ago. The memory of Tezuka's voice gives him the strength to go on. Momo even gets a special thought -- not voiced -- from Ryoma.
Momo powers up. Everyone, especially Nanjiroh, is impressed.
44. Jack Knife
Yay, jackknife! The sexiest shot of all. And it blows Sengoku's racquet away.
And another compliment from Tezuka! Not voiced, though. And another explanation from Inui about Momo's current amazingness that I didn't really follow because I was typing this. And, god, more praise from Tezuka!
Even Tomo is in the We Love Momo club now. Watch out, Ryoma, Momo is stealing all your boyfriends and girlfriends. You'll just have to make
Momo blows Sengoku's racquet away again. And that's the match. Momo falls over with exhaustion, but raises his hand in victory. Everyone cheers. Tezuka almost smiles.
Inui gives Momo a calf massage, which ticks Kaidoh off on so many levels. So while we're all distracted with ramping up to Singles 2, Kaidoh drags Momo off into a storage closet and has his way with him.
There's some stuff with Shiba and Sakuno and Tomo and then some Akutsu flashbacks, but I can't really be bothered with them because I'm thinking about Momo and Kaidoh in the storage closet. Kaidoh has Momo pushed up against the door and the doorknob is jammed into Momo's side. Momo thinks he really shouldn't let Kaidoh take the lead, but he's tired after the match, so he just puts his hands on Kaidoh's ass and pulls him in closer. Kaidoh kisses like he's angry and Momo just wants more.
What, you didn't get that version of the episode?
Everyone is worried about Akutsu's violent nature. Eiji says if there's trouble, they'll all help out -- he's always wanted to be in a brawl. He gets told off by Tezuka who has the cutest sour look on his face. I'm not sure what Tezuka's alternate plan is if Akutsu gets violent. Maybe he wants to deal with it himself, to fulfil his many fantasies where he rescues Ryoma from bandits or a burning building.
Frankly, while Akutsu wouldn't stand a chance in tennis, he would so kick Tezuka's ass in a fight.
Taka-san gives Ryoma advice about not getting beaten up by Akutsu. Tomo does an imitation of Momo hitting the jack knife!
The match starts. Inui is standing next to Momo. He can smell Kaidoh on Momo and he's planning his revenge.
Akutsu takes his time going onto the court. I have to admit, he's seriously cool. Banji tells Dan to watch the match carefully, they're fighting over him.
Ryoma is super-awesome. If he's at all intimidated by Akutsu, he doesn't let on. The ref is intimidated, though. Nanjiroh says that "he", which I assume means Akutsu, is a kitten compared to his old days. Is Nanjiroh saying he used to be like Akutsu, only tougher? I wouldn't be surprised.
Right off the bat, Ryoma hits a Drive A, right into Akutsu's face, knocking him over. Everyone is shocked, except for Tezuka who is as expressionless as always and Nanjiroh who giggles.
Ryoma tells Akutsu not to take tennis so lightly. Oh, Ryoma, I love you so much right now!