So we have arrived at episode 4 and it was not the team’s first water polo match as the preview led us to believe. Instead, we get more character bonding, some back story (for Chiaki and his friend Kouki this time), and a nice training montage. In terms of pacing, it slows the plot a little which might not be best for such a short series, but we still got a lot of information and some fun happens. So let’s discuss!
(I suppose I should reiterate my disclaimer. I’m not fluent in Japanese and I can’t follow 100% of the dialogue but I do understand enough to write these recaps. Also, the captions for my photos are always just my snarky thoughts, not actual dialogue. I’m not sure if that was clear before.)
Starting off, we have some fanservice-y shots of Ryuji in a speedo (and also a close up of Naoya’s butt) followed by Chiharu announcing that they’ll be playing a match against Suiran soon. Everyone is really excited!
Over at Suiran, everyone is not excited. In fact, they are quite annoyed. Does anyone remember the Really Tall Asshole who stole the scrunchie in episode two? He was especially angry for some reason, but he smiled evilly when he was reminded that Chiaki is on KasuKou’s team. (Remember Chiaki? He’s the one who likes Chiharu-sensei)
Anyway, so the team gets together and eats at the same restaurant (as always) when suddenly, Really Tall Asshole walks in. (Because, I guess, this literally is the only place to eat in town)
By the way, I learned his name is Goda. Anyway, he says some mean things to Chiaki, who runs out of the restaurant, and then continues to say some mean things to Ryuji. What is this dude’s problem?
Naoya chases after Chiaki, and even “borrows” (read: straight-up steals) somebody’s bike along the way.
When he catches up to him, Chiaki apologizes and says not to worry. Well, okay then?
As the team gathers for practice (although, like, do they ever actually practice? Because they are hardly ever in the water) the Baka Trio pulls out an old yearbook and figures out that Chiaki and Asshole Goda used to be classmates.
Everyone is shocked by how cheerful Chiaki is when he shows up to practice. But when it’s just Chiaki and Ryuji alone, Chiaki asks for a bit of encouragement.
And then we briefly get a glimpse of Nagisa’s storyline. Basically, she’s distracted and the coach berates her for not doing her job as a manager. Poor Nagisa.
Back to Chiaki: he’s wandering around town (skipping water polo practice) when he runs into Asshole Goda. And Chiaki must have a deathwish because he greets Asshole Goda with “Hello Goda-chan.” I don’t think Goda likes being addressed like a young girl? You gotta admire Chiaki’s bravery.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team is having practice, and Ryuji teaches them some knowledge.
There’s a silly bit where Naoya confuses the words “freeter” (a part-time worker) with “floater” (a position in water polo). I am a sucker for these kinds of jokes. Anyway, they all wonder where Chiaki is, and the Baka Trio wonder if they should let Kouki know that Chiaki’s being bullied.
And then the lesson continues…
And, wait a minute, HE WAS THERE THE WHOLE TIME?!
(Actually, he’d gotten beat up and then was watching from a distance afterwards)
So the next morning, Naoya gets an unexpected wake up call.
It’s Nagisa’s friend (…Riko? Ryoko? I can’t remember). Yuto’s a bit confused about why she’s hovering over top of him in his bedroom and her response is “Nagisa didn’t tell you? We’re going on a date today.” Well, that’s a bit forward, yeah? Naoya’s a bit reluctant because he has water polo practice but the girl guilt-trips him into it. So Naoya leaves a note with Nagisa to give to the boys.
Understandably, the boys are a bit upset about Naoya abandoning them for a date.
They yell at Nagisa (who yells back) and then they march away. This leaves Nagisa and Ryuji alone for a nice heartfelt chat… oh, no, wait. Ryuji just pushes her into the pool.
And then they have their nice heartfelt chat… oh, no, wait. Nagisa just pulls Ryuji into the pool too.
It was actually really adorable. Forget love triangles, y’all. They just need to get together.
In other news, Yuto and the girl are on a date at the aquarium and the Baka Trio is stalking them, because what else do friends do?
Also, Torao shows up while Nagisa and Ryuji are walking home.
And everyone just stares angrily at each other. And then Ryuji does that thing where he walks away without saying anything. So… okay then?
Next, Naoya’s date is interrupted by some bad news. Chiaki’s been arrested for stealing!? Huh?? While they try to figure out what’s going on, Kouki gives them a bit of backstory. Chiaki stood up for Kouki once while Asshole Goda was beating him up. And he thought that was pretty awesome of Chiaki. They met again later when Chiaki transferred to KasuKou but Kouki doesn’t think Chiaki remembers that time he saved him.
At school the next day, the group gets together to face the Mean Vice Principle and clear Chiaki’s name. As it turns out, the person who was accusing Chiaki of stealing was the lady from the shop earlier in the episode. Remember when Naoya stole that bike? SHE THOUGHT HIS NAME WAS CHIAKI. LOL Anyway, once that’s all cleared up (no one is going to address Naoya’s apparent kleptomania?), the Principle comes to tell them that Chiaki has actually been working a part-time construction job because, as he told the principle, he “wants to get stronger.” *Getting stronger is the theme of the episode!*
Chiaki and Kouki have a nice conversation. But I didn’t understand much of it because Chiaki has a weird way of speaking. Oh well. It’s all good. The most important thing was the repetition of his goal to continue to become stronger. And the reveal that he did remember that time he stood up for Kouki. And in the end, they both yell “YEEESSSS” (in English) at each other and throw up a peace sign. They are weirdos and I like them. And then the rest of the team shows up to work with him? Well, okay then.
And in the next scene, everyone is cleaning the aquarium?! WHEN DID THIS BECOME THE KARATE KID? Wax on. Wax off. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
And then, they train in the water at the aquarium?! NOW THIS REALLY IS WATER BOYS. LOL. I mean, seriously the Water Boys trained via a game of Dance Dance Revolution and the aquarium. This whole show has just become one weird homage, hasn’t it?
And a nice training montage takes us to the day of the match against Suiran and also to the ending credits. While the theme song plays, the KasuKou “Mizu Tama” Team stare down the opposing team as they get ready for the match.
And then, PLOT TWIST! Turns out they’re playing the Girl’s Team! LOL.
So I was a little disappointed at first because this was not the episode of their first match like last episode’s preview had led me to believe, but the reveal at the end of the episode was worth it. It’s something I certainly wasn’t expecting. After a while, all sports dramas/movies seem to be the same, so I like the change up here. I’m still betting on KasuKou’s team losing their first game but we’ll see how it goes. It’s sure to be entertaining either way!
We’ve still got some problems, mainly that there’s still no motivation behind the Suiran team’s antagonism. It probably won’t be addressed but I’m still hoping for it. And with a series with only 10-12 episodes, I’m not sure we needed a whole episode dedicated to Chiaki’s storyline. Basically, this whole episode was preparation for what’s to come. It’s like a really long training montage without the cool music. But it wasn’t all bad. “Getting stronger” is a lesson the boys need to learn. Especially as they head into their first match!
See you again next week for episode 5! If you have any thoughts, questions, opinions, etc, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know what you think!