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2.43_ Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu
(All episodes watched):|
Well, this sports anime definitely does something right which many do wrong. Namely, episode one is mainly about introducing the main characters and making them interesting and likable rather than concentrating on the sport itself. Chika will no doubt attempt to turn this sorry team around and make it into a respectable competitor. While not exactly friendly, he quickly gets to work offering useful advice to other players. But while he is a star, he has an intriguing fault of his own: he was apparently considered to be too demanding and hard-driving by his previous team and his actions had a tragic result. Yuni will no doubt be inspired to improve greatly himself and will teach Chika how to get along better with fellow players. So, my first impression was so far so good. Another sports anime, but one that seems to know what it is doing and should be fun.
Events move rapidly in episode two--perhaps a little too rapidly. Chika is astonished to learn that winning a mere four games in the small tournaments of this sparsely populated district can take a team to the National Championships, and vows to make it so. We fast-forward six months to the first tournament, and the team rockets upward thanks almost entirely to Chika and Yuni, but then crashes and burns just as quickly. Why did Yuni suffer an extraordinary loss of nerve after doing so well in his first game? I was surprised at the extent of his jealousy for Chika, since it seemed to suddenly come out of the blue. Many shows take far too long to move the plot forward, but I would say this one didn't take long enough. I was left wondering where the team could possibly go from here. Nevertheless, I was still eager for the next episode. This show stays engaging and keeps the tension high, and also stays realistic and believable. As a result, it was one of my favorite anime--perhaps the favorite one--of the season. In episode three we learn what the significance of the figure '2.43' is. After another six months the shattered team begins to reassemble; I was a bit confused about why so much organization effort was needed--there are now numerous different teams, for example. Is this because the characters have now transferred from middle school to high school?
In episode four this new team undergoes rigorous training and participates in its first competition. Chika is a tricky person; he knows everything about the game of volleyball and the team desperately needs him, but his social skills are lacking and there's always the risk that he'll be so abrasive as to tear the team apart. Yuni thinks Chika is looking down on him when in fact Chika considers him to be one of the best players on the team. Chika makes his goals clear in this episode. In episode five Chika and Yuni make a trip back to Chika's previous school in Tokyo and get a surprise about what really happened before he left. This sort of felt like a cop-out to me, as if the makers were afraid to include such a disturbing element in the story and now were backing off, but it wasn't that big of a deal. The bit where Chika faints was pretty silly, too. I have never fainted and I'm hardly an athlete. Much better and more revealing was Chika's comment about what happens to him if he spends even a day without at least practicing volleyball. In the end the episode was pretty neat and renewed my confidence in this show. Again, it's good because it's about the characters rather than about the sport.
In episode six we get an introduction to the team that will be the main rival of Seiin for now. Personally, I would have preferred if the time had been spent delving even deeper into the characters we already know rather than introducing new ones, but with time it became clear that the makers knew what they were doing. Up 'til now it has gone without saying that this new team would represent Fukui province in major tournaments, but for once it has a serious challenger. The team's star player, Mimura, is unquestionably good but kind of gets under your skin. It turns out that he has problems of his own, however, and is not a two-dimensional character. It looks like just beating his team will be as far as this show goes, unless it proceeds directly to a second season. And, given how wildly their fortunes have varied in the past, it's not inconceivable that Seiin might lose here and have to start from square one again. Sports anime are a good deal more fun when you don't know who's going to win the games. Episode 11 is an edge-of-your-seat one as the crucial match is played, and at the beginning of episode 12 we learn what the outcome was. On the losing side there are the usual attempts by everyone to grab as much of the blame for failure as possible--Japan seems to be a hyper-competitive country. The story is clearly far from over--there are hints that we will run into Mimura again at some point in the future--but it was not made clear whether a second season of this anime was forthcoming. Maybe that will depend on the ratings it got. I am definitely hoping the answer will be 'yes'. While sometimes confusing, 2.43 was always exciting and intriguing. Even volleyball can be an exciting sport if handled right.
Last updated Monday, March 29 2021. Created Saturday, January 09 2021.