So we’ve reached episode seven! And finally we have some conflict concerning Naoya! Even though Naoya is pretty much the main character, the story’s conflict has up until now centered around Ryuji. Naoya, on the other hand, has been gung-ho about water polo since the beginning. So here we have an episode that questions everything Naoya is about. Will he get kicked off the team and out of school? And how much does he really love water polo? Let’s find out!
So the last episode left off with Mean Vice Principal saying that Naoya is getting expelled from school. But why?? As it turns out, someone has done some vandalism in town and Naoya’s school ID card (remember the one Asshole Goda picked up?) was found at the scene.
Naoya gets blamed for this because of the ID but that seems like a bit of circumstantial evidence that probably wouldn’t hold up in court, but hey, high school is nothing like the criminal justice system! Guilty until proven innocent, right?
Chiharu-sensei tries to figure out what they can do to help Naoya but Nice Principal just apologizes instead. Welp. That wasn’t helpful at all.
Meanwhile over at Nagisa’s house, everyone is hanging out, eating corn, and discussing everything.
Ryuji explains that while he was at Suiran’s water polo practice, he realized that he wasn’t the best player, but he believes Naoya is their team’s ace.
Everyone agrees with Ryuji and it’s a really nice team bonding moment. Naoya even says “you guys…” while trying to hold back happy tears. (And then he eats corn. Because of course he does. Why not? I would too.)
Ryuji volunteers to help Nagisa with the dishes after dinner.
And there’s one point where he’s about to say something important to her… but then he chickens out and says “nevermind.” At the end of this scene, we see that one of the Baka Trio (I’m sorry I still don’t remember his name) was listening outside the room. And he looks disappointed. He likes Nagisa too? The potential romance on this show is getting entirely too complicated!
There’s a really short scene where Nice Principal meets with Suiran Coach Lady in a restaurant. And Nice Principal says “but isn’t it great that those boys are aiming for the top together?” (that’s a rough translation) and Coach Lady’s response is a sort of smirk and something along the lines of “well this is a world of challenges.” Huh. The whole thing was weird. I didn’t quite understand the point of meeting, but whatever! It’s not important to this episode.
Next, one of the Suiran girls (does she have a name? idk) sees Asshole Goda giving a random guy a mysterious paper bag. She asks what that was all about but he doesn’t give her an answer. Hmm… suspicious…
Back at Nagisa’s house again, Nagisa’ parents notice that Naoya is really happy. He explains that it’s wonderful to have good friends like he has now. Aww, that’s cute! Good for him!
The next day at school, the team discovers that they may have some trouble continuing with practice.
Mean Vice Principal shows up to keep them from having any fun. This is his only purpose. NO FUN EVER.
Oh and then this legitimately happened and it was not a dream sequence or anything. LOL
Nagisa, of course, isn’t really happy about a kiddie pool in the middle of the temple grounds. Oblivious Naoya doesn’t understand why she’s upset and asks if she wants to get in too. She doesn’t, but her friend immediately volunteers.
Anyway, Naoya is just happy about life and water polo and KasuKou and basically everything. (Maybe he’s just extra happy that being expelled means he doesn’t have to go to school right now?)
Meanwhile, the rest of the team is trying to figure out who really did all the vandalism and set up Naoya. Unfortunately for the boys, they find more of the same graffiti, and all the townspeople show up. Saying they aren’t happy about it is a bit of an understatement.
Nameless Suiran Girl runs into someone who she thinks is Naoya, but it actually turns out to be that sketchy guy with Goda earlier.
Asshole Goda had given him some clothes and a wig to impersonate Naoya and wreck havoc on the town! (I’m disappointed we have no scene of Goda picking out the perfect blond wig in a costume shop. Wasted opportunity, y’all!) Anyway, Sketchy Guy runs away and Suiran Girl runs into Chiaki and Kouki. I think she and Chiaki have a moment. Afterwards, Chiaki and Kouki try to tell everyone that Naoya wasn’t the graffiti guy but nobody believes them. They try to get Suiran Girl to back up their story but she runs away instead. So in the end, Mean Vice Principal just decides to completely abolish KasuKou’s water polo club. OH NO! Ryuji calls Mean VP out on this though. “Aren’t you a KasuKou teacher? You don’t even believe your own students?”
The team apologizes to Naoya but he’s not too upset. In fact, he’s got a better idea: let’s break into the school?
I guess they really really really wanted to practice. Alright, so this is probably not the best idea but it was really fun to watch them play together in the pool. They finally feel like a real team and a real group of friends. Yay! (But seriously y’all, don’t break into your school at night to play water polo.)
So, the next day at school, Naoya shows up and declares “I’m the criminal!”
AND THEN HE PUNCHES MEAN VP IN THE FACE. WHAAAAAAT?
So Mean VP is like “You’re definitely EXPELLED” and Naoya’s response is “YEP. I’m quitting and saying goodbye to this school!” And he runs out the door. What an unexpected turn of events! Naoya, I don’t understand how your brain works. (But actually I think he’s trying to take all the blame himself so that the rest of the team can still play water polo? Still though. This is a bad plan.)
On a sidenote, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Nice Principal made this face in reaction to Mean VP getting punched:
Naoya tells Nagisa about all this afterwards, pretending to be really nonchalant about it, but Nagisa sees right through him. She demands the truth. And so he tells her. He wants to protect KasuKou more than anything, and he thinks this way is best. Nagisa yells at him but Naoya just leaves.
It’s all really sad, but then the camera pans around to reveal that the entire team plus Chiharu-sensei were watching the whole thing? I’m sorry but that totally ruined the moment for me. I laughed. I laughed a lot. More than I should have.
So at Suiran, the boys are all laughing about what happened to Naoya and this makes Nagisa very upset and she yells at them. (GO NAGISA!) Goda asks if she’s really friends with the KasuKou boys and she says yes, “so don’t make fun of Naoya.” And then Goda makes the same mistake that causes the downfall of every villain: he admits that he’s the one who set the whole thing up. Nagisa tries to beat him up but Torao holds her back.
The next scene is Naoya at what I guess is a sort of town meeting? I don’t quite know, but he’s explaining himself to the people of the community and apologizing and telling them not to hold his actions against KasuKou itself. And then the rest of the team makes their grand entrance.
“We’ve got something to say,” Chiharu tells the group of people. Ryuji reminds Naoya that he’s the team’s ace player. And they all say that they support Naoya. By the end of their nice speech, they get Naoya to admit that he wants to play water polo again.
And then suddenly, Nice Principal comes in with Suiran Girl and explains that it was another guy in a wig. So problem solved!
Also, Asshole Goda was watching from the window the entire time. CREEPER.
So in the end, everything worked out. Naoya was not expelled (although, seriously, he should probably be punished for punching the glasses off of Mean VP’s face but whatevs) and the team finally gets to practice! Or they would have if the townspeople hadn’t shown up to apologize for being mean to Naoya. But they brought food so it’s all good!
And so the episode ends with Naoya and Nagisa being cute and the whole family eating corn. All is right with the world again.
So the episode ends without a PLOT TWIST like the past couple episodes have. But that’s okay with me because this ending was lovely. From the preview, it looks like the next episode will be a training camp! (I guess Naoya’s invitations from last episode were for an actual place and not one he just made up? Can anyone clarify this for me?)
My overall thoughts on the episode were that it was really good. It’s about time that Naoya had some conflict to deal with. And it gave Nakajima Yuto the chance to show off more of his acting range. I’m not an actor so I really can’t say for sure, but I think Yuto does a nice job of switching between emotions quickly as he portrays Naoya. (It probably also helps that Yuto is basically the human equivalent of a really tall puppy)
As for Nagisa, I think Ohara Sakurako has been very consistent in her acting as well. At first, I was wary about a female character that spends a lot of time yelling at people and just existing to be a love interest, but the script has given her more to flesh out her character as the series progresses. It’s okay that she yells at boys a lot because it’s balanced with the quieter times where she is talking seriously with Naoya or Ryuji. Everything is about proper balance, right? The scene where she confronts Goda is probably her best so far. You could tell that she’s just been bottling everything up until she finally snaps. I’m really looking forward to seeing what will happen to her character in the last few episodes.
As I might have said before, this show has really exceeded my expectations. Sports shows and movies can sometimes slip into predictability, but this one has done a good job of keeping me on my toes. The episodes have been focusing on things I wouldn’t expect while also staying in the familiar territory of themes like friendship and hard work. I was a bit worried about this episode in particular because the whole main-character-is-accused-of-crime-he-didn’t-commit is a common storyline in these delinquent high school student dramas. It happened in Gokusen multiple times. (Fun fact: Takaki Yuya was a delinquent in season three of that show) It happened in Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou. (Another fun fact: Takaki was in that show too and this storyline actually happened to his character.) And it’s been a while since I watched Misaki Number One, but I’m positive it happened to those characters too. (Another very fun fact: Oomasa Aya was one of the delinquent students in that show). But the fun thing about Suikyuu Yankees is that even though this same plot happened to Naoya, I didn’t feel like I was watching the same thing that I’ve already seen a thousand times before. I don’t know why, but that’s just how much I really like this drama. If anyone has any thoughts on the subject, I’d love to hear them!
And just for fun y’all, I actually did make a love chart for the show. LOL. Playing with Microsoft Paint reminds me of elementary school. Here you go:
And lastly, here are some questions for fun!
1.) Will the KasuKou team ever get some decent practice before they play another match?
2.) Would you ever punch a teacher just to prove a point?
3.) Have you ever disliked someone so much that you bought a wig and hired someone to frame that person?
4.) Do you think the prop department will run of out corn for the cast to eat before the series is through?
5.) Have you ever broken into your school? If so, please tell me why you would want to do that??
6.) After this episode, how is everyone feeling about the romance now?
Feel free to leave a comment! I’m always happy to chat! We only have three more episodes to go, so see you again next week!