April 24th, 2014.
Full Blown Samurai Showdown.
Right, Ping Pong. Great stuff. Last episode we’ve had Smile don his super sexy robot metal samurai suit of doom, and vanquish the coach, who loved it. Last episode was great, with everyone shocked out of normalcy, including the ever-smug Peco. Smile is now on his road of conquest, but he only ever got on it in order to not be forced to go on the warpath. Let’s see how this plays out.
P.S. Coach is a great character. Amazing, even.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Unleashing the Samurai Monster:
1) Awww, Tsukimoto and Coach’s wife. Each met their match. A boy who speaks his mind and won’t play nice, and a nice woman who will give him affection anyway. The old lady is going to crush his defenses. Also, he only came to check the coach is fine, which he found out. Mission accomplished. Next time, he’ll come for the company.
2) Just look at coach here. It looks like some old dude in a french café :P He knows what Smile is like. He knows Smile to be a swordsman without peer, and he’s pushing him there. Coach wants to win, and he doesn’t care that he’ll unleash a monster. Coach and his wife… Coach wants to nurture a monster, while his wife will nurture a tender boy. Too bad they share the same body.
3) The music of all the different players playing and training. Very well done. We skipped past the whole training regime, what was it, 6 weeks? And we’re at the tournament. As Kaio’s teacher had said, “In Victory we find truth.” There’s no reason to dwell or worry about the road. Victory or defeat, in the fires of combat we’ll find what they are truly made of.
4) Boisterous, belligerent, challenging behaviour. This is a samurai show through and through, they just happen to have tennis clubs instead of swords.
2) On Winning, Losing, And the Caring Heart:
1) Everyone watches Kong, but not Smile. Smile is playing his game. Smile doesn’t wish to be here, and he’ll destroy those who forced him to be here, and in so doing will grow to like this place, even as he loses reasons to be here. Kaio? He too says Smile doesn’t hide his emotions. But only Coach Koizumi knows. He may not hide them, but he doesn’t reveal them either. Smile unleashed isn’t a different Smile, but is moreof himself. Greater in every way. Great and terrifying.
2) “Those who consider their opponents’ feelings in combat are not fit to hold a racket. You disgust me” – This is a samurai show, I’ll keep saying so. And then we move to the game Smile is playing, where he crushes his alien enemies, blowing them into tiny bits.
3) Smile plays a game where it’s all about the scoreboard, about beating scores. Now it’s on. And yet he sounds so detached. That’s the type of monster Smile is.
4) A big deal was made of considering the opponent’s feelings, of how they have wishes, of how these wishes can be crushed, and now after Tsukimoto had said he’ll crush his opponent, the match is set from the opponent’s perspective.
6) Smile had answered Kazama, but they were talking of Kong. Smile is playing tennis to pass the time. He knows crushing his enemies in this setting will deprive them of hope, but it only has meaning when theycare for tennis. Smile cannot be crushed, because he does not care. Smile crushes his opponents, even though he doesn’t care. Smile is a monster. There is understanding, but no compassion.
3) “A Hero Can Save Us – I’m Not Gonna Stand Here and Wait:
1) Interesting phrasing, “A hero will save me, no matter how deeply I’m locked away.” Smile knows his weakness, that he hides away, that he ends up buried. Those who save you are heroes, those who crush you are monsters. Coach is trying to unleash a monster though, not a hero.
2) Dat style.
3) Engage hyper-drive. Man-killing machine at the ready.
4) Tsukimoto, hero of Japan, will crush down the invader.
5) In the end, Tsukimoto not caring still matters, and the time he gave up early. We’re only at episode 3, we’ve still got room to go, you know. We don’t need to win the right now. Tsukimoto lost when China’s coach shouted at him. Did he consider his opponent’s feelings? He might find it “revolting” to stake your life on ping pong, but he still cares. Or is it that the coach’s shouting, something he hates, had thrown him off balance?
Post Episode Thoughts:
I thought Tsukimoto would lose, once I thought mid-episode “Wait, we’re on the third episode”. We still have Peco’s match to go through. This is a sports show. This is a friends’ drama. How Peco does, and the confrontation between Peco and Smile, they need to happen.
Peco should know smile better than everyone else, and even he was surprised and disbelieving Smile might beat Kong. Peco sees only what he wants to. The other old hands can recognize talent.
Can’t wait for next episode.