Taka-san, Kabaji, Fuji, random crack. But we're that much closer to Tezuka's match. NB: Screencap under the cut.
60. Power vs Power
Tezuka has a little internal monologue where he recaps the Inui/Kaidoh - Shishido/Ohtori match for us. Inui asked him to do it since Inui couldn't be the one recapping his own match. Tezuka is a bit nervous, but it seems to go well.
Sakaki gives Shishido and Ohtori actual coaching advice, something Ryuzaki never seems to do. And he tells them they done good. Also, he is hot.
Inui is already writing up the match, muttering to himself. If I stand 13 centimetres to the right to receive, then Ohtori will double fault and I'll have the best view of Kaidoh's ass. Shishido and Ohtori jog by, cooling down. This makes Inui realise he missed the opportunity to jog with Kaidoh.
Momo shows up to chat with Inui and Inui asks if Momo knows where Kaidoh is. Momo won't fall for that, though. "Oh, probably hasn't started cooling down yet," Momo says, but what he means is, "I'm meeting him in five minutes to see if I can heat him up even more."
Hyotei are cheering loudly. Kawamura hoists the Really Big Seigaku Flag up in one hand, and he's not even in burning mode. Cut to the shocked expressions of Oishi, Fuji, and Kikumaru. Tezuka is not shocked. Possibly, Tezuka is dead and nobody has noticed yet.
Yanagisawa and Yuuta show up. Fuji has saved up about eight episodes worth of emotion and he uses it all to greet Yuuta. Yuuta is embarrassed, as well he might be. Fuji is about to run over, spit on a Kleenex, and clean dirt off Yuuta's face, but he remembers just in time that will kill his chances of persuading Yuuta to come home with him.
Of course, then Kabaji hoists Jiroh up in one hand, to show the greater power of Hyotei. Atobe is also doing the crossed-arms buchou thing. But he talks, so we know he's not dead.
Flashback to Taka-san spying on Akutsu (god, I have to type that name again!) after his match with Ryoma. If only Akutsu would come out and see Kawamura play!
Atobe kind of hugs/headlocks Kabaji! It's the cutest thing I've ever seen Atobe do. Serious love here, Atobe for Kabaji and me for Atobe. I'm working under a theory right now that Kabaji is to Atobe as Ryoma is to Tezuka.
Kawamura in Burning Mode uses "ore-sama". He trash talks on the court, but Kabaji doesn't react. You know, like Tezuka never does.
Kabaji is so huge and tough. He must get solicited by other clubs all the time. If they're not afraid of crossing Atobe.
But Taka-san goes into the weird Hadoukyuu stance. Everyone exclaims. Ishida wants to cry. It was the only thing that distinguished him, aside from the towel on his head. Kawamura puts all his love for Akutsu in the shot. Episode ends.
61. Duel of Hadoukyuu!
Everyone is cheering after Kawamura's amazing Hadoukyuu. He's doing it two-handed, for safety. His post-shot stance, where his nose and mouth are hidden by his shoulder, is very cute. He's like the Count! One Hadoukyuu! Ah ha ha ha!
Flashback to the tender scene between Kawamura and Akutsu. "Tennis isn't exactly boring," Akutsu says, which basically means he loves tennis. He hits Kawamura in the face, which basically means he wants Kawamura to have his babies.
Yanagisawa, of all people, gets the next flashback. Yanagisawa! (Actually, I like him a lot, dane.) So, it seems that St Rudolph was playing Hyotei in the consolation match at the Prefectural tournament. And for some reason, EVEN AFTER HYOTEI LOST SO BADLY TO FUDOUMINE AND ATOBE SAID THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE CAREFUL AND USED BETTER PLAYERS, St Rudolph won the first doubles match. (Though I guess since it's still the same tournament, they have to use the players they originally registered with. Hmm.)
D2 is Yanagisawa and Kisarazu and they are leading 4-3. Their opponents are Kabaji and someone who is never in focus enough for us to see who he is. Kisarazu does his special rhythmic gymnastics drop volley. And Kabaji imitates it. But he doesn't have the pretty red ribbon, so it's not quite as aesthetically pleasing. Also he is not lithe and beautiful like Kisarazu.
So, we the viewers and Yanagisawa (dane) are not surprised with Kabaji hits the Hadoukyuu back at Kawamura.
Check out what's been hiding in the Seigaku stands! The cutest darn second-years you ever did see. They so need their own shounen sports series. I've named them:
Aim for the Sky!
Misaki, Asakawa, and Sato are all working hard at tennis, but they can't ever seem to beat any of the Regulars. Momo and Kaidoh don't respect them and the third years hardly acknowledge their existence, except for a kind word from Oishi now and again.
But one day, Tsukada comes up to them after practice. He's trying to start up a lacrosse club at Seigaku and asks if they are satisfied, being passed over again and again. Sato and Asakawa sign up right away. Sato is the goalkeeper and Asakawa a midfielder. Misaki says he won't give up tennis. His father was a tennis player, and he can't let him down.
But after a practice match where Kaidoh completely disses him after beating him, Misaki realises that he's not betraying his father by switching to lacrosse. Misaki becomes an attackman and they all work very hard for their first tournament.
They still need more players, though. They find out that Tachiki used to play lacrosse at his old school. He's not in any clubs right now and Tsukada tries to talk him into playing. But there's a painful secret in his past...
Okay, I'll stop now.
Inui says any data gathered on Kabaji is useless. But then he says that Kabaji has special grunts for each shot. Surely the grunt could be useful in predicting the shot. Especially in Anime Tennis World where it can take up to thirty seconds for the ball to get to your side of the court. I think Inui is just covering up for his shitty data collection on Hyotei. We all know he was spying on Kaidoh when he should have been spying on Hyotei.
Of course, Kawamura switches to the one-handed Hadoukyuu, even though it will cause muscle damage, tooth decay, and erectile disfunction. Kabaji does likewise and Atobe loves him for it.
Ryuzaki actually tells Kawamura off! And Kawamura has his racquet in his hand, but he's not in burning mode. So, he can switch it off for authority figures?
Ryoma gets a line because it's in his contract to be in every episode.
Kawamura keeps doing the one-handed Hadoukyuu and Ryuzaki doesn't stop him. Everyone is shocked. Except Tezuka, who hasn't changed expression for about ten episodes now. Seriously, I'm getting tired of the whole crossed-arms stoic thing. Maybe he just can't think of anything to say. Maybe he stands there, thinking, Oh, god, I should say something insightful but I can't think of anything! Everyone will think I'm stupid! And I don't know what to do with my hands!
The battle continues. We get some nice couples shots against black backgrounds: Golden Pair, Momo and Kaidoh, Inui and Fuji (♥), and then Tezuka all alone. Who should I ask to be in the picture with me? he was thinking. Echizen? Atobe? Tachibana? Yamato-buchou? Ryuzaki-sensei? He took too long and they had to just shoot him by himself.
Kabaji can't continue playing because his hand is bleeding. Now if Kawamura could have just held onto his fracking racquet for thirty seconds longer! Shouldn't this have been Hyotei's forfeit? It seems unfair to me.
Christ, I want to punch Tezuka in the face, just to see if he'll have a reaction of some kind.
Momoshiro leads Kawamura off the court. Taka-san is like Momo's fourth-string backup boyfriend, in case he loses Kaidoh, An, Kamio, and Eiji. (He's not yet aware of his impending affair with Atobe.)
Oh, Tezuka actually put his arms at his sides and turned the corners of his mouth down a little. Also, Ryoma is standing beside him. Should I move closer to Echizen? Maybe I could put my arm around him. Or say something oblique about my love for him. Or would that be inappropriate?
Fuji is touched by Kawamura's
62. The Disappearing Serve
Everyone mutters as Fuji walks out onto the court. They are all worked up about seeing him play. Everyone except his opponent, who is napping.
Did you ever notice that Ryuzaki has the same funny bang things as Oishi? There's got to be a story there, but I'm not sure I want to know what it is.
Ryuzaki is taking Kawamura and Kabaji to the hospital, so someone has to be bench coach. Everyone flips out, wondering who should have such an honour. You'd think she'd just tell Tezuka to sit there, but she likes to stir things up. How can I mess with their fragile little minds today? she seems to think.
Of course, Ryoma just goes and sits himself down. Inui is ticked off because he's missed his chance. Everyone else seems to think Echizen is being presumptuous. Which he so is. Momo and Eiji try to pull him off and he resists! Clings onto the bench so they can't pull him off. It's seriously cute.
For once, I love how Tezuka says nothing. I'm surprised he doesn't tick Ryoma off. It's very indulgent of him.
Even though Ryoma is trying to be blasé about it, Ryuzaki figures it's because he wants to see Fuji's play up close. Fuji gives the assent. They're both thinking of the unfinished game in the rain.
I love to watch Fuji play. He's such a technician. But why doesn't he use the Disappearing Serve later on in other matches? Not exciting enough?
Jiroh is a freak.
Fuji wins the game, of course, and when they change courts, asks Ryoma if he has a good view. And Ryoma does the single cutest thing I've ever seen him do: he makes binocular hands and uses them to follow Fuji. It almost makes me wish I shipped them, it's so adorable.
Jiroh is good enough that he shocks Fuji. He seems to specialize in Drunken Tennis, falling all over the court whilst returning the ball.
Inoue seems to specialize in Drunken Reporting. He says that Jiroh's wrist twisting might be as good as Pete Sampras's. This explains why Inoue is always covering Junior High tennis instead of, say, something important.
Jiroh wins his service game and Tezuka actually thinks about Fuji for once. Fuji responds by getting all serious and showing off for Ryoma. And Yuuta. And probably Inui. And maybe Kaidoh. Possibly Oshitari as well. Tezuka wishes he hadn't had the thought after all.
Ryoma holds out a drink of water for Fuji, like Jesus Christ to Judah Ben Hur. Or maybe not quite like that. They banter. Tezuka seethes.
Higuma Otoshi. Oshitari is impressed. Fuji seduces Ryoma with the promise of the last triple counter.
We are left to wonder what it could be.
ETA: Now with Lacrosse Boy comment fic. There are several in the thread, so scroll through.