Seigaku's Pillar of Unmarked Vans and Candy
I was planning to call this recap "Fuck You, Tezuka Kunimitsu" but after watching the episode, I can't bring myself to be too mad at him.
Anyhow. Ryoma is jogging alone through the dark, dark woods. He stops and bends over to
"Good to see you again, Echizen Ryoma," the voice
"I know you're one of those guys who wants to bone me, but which one?" Ryoma says. He wonders if he should have let Inui make him that molester database iPhone app after all...
Cut to Fuji perusing the line-up for the Court 5 vs Court 3 shuffle match. Fuji's mouth drops open in shock, though not his eyes, so we know it's just a really mild shock, like if he found a pimple on his perfect skin or got an A- on his civics essay, instead of a big shock, like if he found someone else talking to Yuuta and then he had to kill them with a rusty steak knife.
The mild shock is over Tezuka's opponent: Yamato Yuudai. We're not mildly shocked, though, because we already recognized his dulcet tones from before, when he was creeping on Ryoma. He has three red flags in Inui's database, Fuji remembers, and thinks fondly of those long-ago days.
Meanwhile, Oni and Akutsu have one of those tough guy conversations where they both have their backs turned to each other, so it's hard for them to actually make out what the other one is saying. "You know why I didn't choose you, don't you?" Oni says. "Cheese stew?" Akutsu says. "That doesn't make any fucking sense!"
Really, Akutsu being here at all doesn't make any fucking sense. He hasn't beaten anyone up or knocked over any convenience stores or anything. He's been wussified by the overwhelming ensemble cast and should really flee to a different genre altogether, yankii for preference, where he will be properly appreciated. He can take along Taichi to be his second in the street gang and Kawamura to keep house for him.
The two courts line up before their match and Irie and Atobe trash talk some more. It's a little empty, though, like they know nobody will be thinking about them when Tezuka steps onto the court.
"I'm surprised you recognized me with my stupid hair and contact lenses," Yamato says to Tezuka.
But there's no way Tezuka could forget the voice that rang in his ears that special day in the back of the clubhouse when Yamato made Tezuka
"Sorry," Yamato says. "You're too old for me now."
Back on Stockholm Syndrome Mountain, the
At the shuffle match, Krauser, about whom I do not care one whit, collapses on the court and forfeits his match with Nakagauchi, about whom I do not care even half a whit. Krauser lies unconscious on a bench, not receiving any medical attention. Later, he's thrown onto a trash heap.
They pretty much fucking skip over Kirihara and Shiraishi's doubles match. :( :( :( More OVA fodder, perhaps? Anyhow, those high schoolers had some of the most terrible hair-dos yet, so everyone was hoping they would lose. That one guy looks like he's trying to imitate Hayashida from Cromartie High -- maybe he's hoping to join Akutsu's spin-off instead?
[ pause while I re-read all of Cromartie ]
Atobe says some boring stuff on the sidelines. We listen to his lovely, lovely voice and note that he's standing next to Tezuka. ♥
Yamato tells Irie about the days when Tezuka was top bitch in Yamato's ichinen harem. "I have to give him something," Yamato says. "But first, tennis." (*rimshot*)
At the net, Yamato grills Tezuka about why he's not in Germany right now, since a pro team tried to recruit him. Tezuka wonders how Yamato knows this since Tezuka never told anyone, but it was actually on the Facebook page that Inui made for Tezuka and helpfully updates on his behalf with news, links to cat videos, and profile photos of Tezuka sleeping. That's how I knew about it, anyhow.
So, Yamato is concerned that Tezuka is so ultra-responsible to his team that he doesn't take these opportunities. You remember back in the first anime he was offered a place at a study-abroad program that would have been awesome for his tennis, but he turned it down because of his
On the mountain, the kids suck at returning balls with the lead-filled racquets. Except for Echizen, who figures a lead racquet would be great for self-defence when attacked by creepy molesters in the woods.
He's flashing back to the encounter with Yamato, who told him he and Tezuka were going to play that day. Also, have a tennis match. (*rimshot*) "Would you like to watch or join in?" Yamato says. "This might be the last sex Tezuka has in Japan."
This gets Ryoma's attention, as he always figured that after the thing with Tokugawa had run its course, he and Tezuka would be back to their epic romance.
Yamato and Tezuka play. Tezuka is pretty. Yamato uses a feint (Illusion to Waking Dream or some such nonsense) on Tezuka that makes Tezuka think the ball is somewhere else. Tezuka struggles. Yamato yaps.
Atobe uses his Insight to see that Yamato is a creepy pedophile with stupid hair. He's ticked off that such a clown claimed the manhood of his beloved. Also, he's pretty.
So is Tezuka.
Anyhow, Yamato is trying to be all subtle and symbolic by saying something I forget because I stopped to check Twitter. Just a sec... Got it. "It's an illusion -- both the ball you chase and the pillar you stand for." Basically, he ticks Tezuka off for being such a martyr for his team, which I guess we've all wanted to do, so I don't know why I'm so resentful of Yamato for doing it now.
Tezuka responds by saying all the middle schoolers are counting on this match, so he can't lose. And he goes into one of those glowy states, like he does. The Whirlwind of Awesomeness or The Mounting Storm of Dangerous Tennis or The Wheel of Cheese or some such. It deflects all of his opponent's balls out of the court.
Ryoma can sense this from afar and it fires him up to keep swinging a racquet that probably weighs as much as he does, because that sort of thing is good for anybody and would never cause any sort of permanent injury. Unless it slipped out of your grasp and then it would only injure someone else.
The coach, though, being a secret romantic, tells Ryoma to run along and watch his One True Love.
But he doesn't reckon with Tezuka's Other True Love, Atobe, who yells at Tezuka not to push himself so hard. "This is why you're always too tired!" he says.
Yamato, using his best mindfuck technique on Tezuka and all the rest of us, ret-cons his tenure as Seigaku's captain so that he was injured then, that's why he lost to Tezuka, it wasn't that he just sucked at tennis.
Oh my god, ickle Tezuka makes my heart hurt.
Anyhow, Yamato shows Tezuka the scar he got when he was crawling through a torn wire fence, stalking Horio and Kachirou, and claims it was from a tennis injury. Somehow this is meant to inspire Tezuka to become a pro.
"Set yourself free," Yamato says. Tezuka looks dumbfounded until Atobe backs him up. "I know all the things you play because I play them too. You've got to have faith."
So Tezuka decides to have fun playing tennis and I don't know how he got this far as a shounen sports series hero if he wasn't enjoying tennis. But consistant with the rules of the genre, now that he's having fun, he's also playing better.
This is as much Tokugawa as we get this week. I haven't bothered to learn the other guy's name.
Ryoma shows up just in time to see the flashback to various manga panels and anime stills from days gone by. And Tezuka's last thought is of Ryoma being all pillar-like. "That's right," Tezuka says. "My job is done. I can leave the earth and go back to the astral plane." He ascends, just like Daniel Jackson, but without all the radiation poisoning. Or maybe he just goes back to Atobe's bedroom.
Okay, he really just ends the match with a zero-shiki drop-shot. Which is always lovely to see. ♥ Everyone except Atobe looks shocked. Atobe just looks very turned on.
Atobe stops Tezuka as he leaves the court. "You want to go to Germany? I'll follow you when I'm done here. Be ready for me."
Tezuka seems pleased by the prospect. :)
Yamato, meanwhile, stalks Ryoma some more, with some success this time. And since he's now retiring from tennis, he has lots of time for his hobbies.
Ryoma tips his hat to Tezuka. I wish there were so much more. :(
So, Tezuka takes off for Germany without finishing middle school and, more importantly, without saying goodbye to Oishi! I've been angry about that since I read it in the manga.
You know what? Fuck You, Tezuka Kunimitsu is a good title after all.
Next week: ATOBE.