So I was thinking after last week’s episode, that there’s a distinct lack of yankees in a show that has yankees in the title. Sure, Naoya looks like a stereotypical yankee with his ridiculous hair and his clothing style. But he doesn’t really act like one. He doesn’t really go around starting fights (except for that one time he punched Mean VP in the face) and he’s not carrying around lead pipes and stuff like that. With that thought in mind, let’s see how this episode turns out.
Okay y’all, I’ve been fighting off a cold all week and sadly have no leeks to cure me. But just like the Mizu Tama boys do, I keep on rolling. Today’s episode theme is “Never give up! The possibilities are endless!” And we’ve got some discussion on the subject of role models. So let’s talk about it!
We pick up right where we left off: Naoya is yelling across the road at someone who looks like Blond!Yoko only minus the blond hair. The guy just gives him a “who the heck are you” look and leaves but Naoya is excited because he got to see his idol again.
Afterwards, Naoya continues to be excited as they all gather at the restaurant to eat. (I missed the restaurant, y’all)
Ryuji comes in and apologizes to Nagisa about not meeting her at the temple. She pretends like it’s no big deal, but he still says he wants to properly talk to her. Riko hears all this since she’s sitting at the table too.
She remembers asking Nagisa who she really likes. “Ryuji? Or Naoya?” Nagisa can’t answer, and Riko tells her that she seriously likes Naoya and then runs away.
At water polo practice (OMG ACTUAL PRACTICE), Chiharu-sensei brings the boys a cool poster for their rematch with Suiran.
And in probably what might be the most hilarious bit to me, Chiaki imagines he’s inviting Chiharu only to realize that it’s actually Suiran Girl in his imagination. He passes out from the shock and, in the background of the scene, you can see Kouki dive into the water to save him. And then like five seconds later, Chiaki is standing out of the pool right beside Chiharu saying “I need some advice.” Sorry I can’t adequately explain why this is so funny to me. I just really enjoy humorous background events. Anyway, Chiharu just tells Chiaki that he’s in love (with someone who isn’t her.)
Meanwhile, Naoya’s trying to track Yoko down. (I think his character’s name is Kurosawa? But I’m gonna stick with Yoko because it’s easier to type)
He ends up at the place where Yoko works as a janitor. Naoya is still really excited, you know. “Hey, do you remember me from ten years ago?” He makes a big speech about how Yoko’s words inspired him that one time they met and how he’s trying to take care of KasuKou now because it’s important.
And Yoko’s response is simply: “Worthless. KasuKou is worthless.”
And just like that, Naoya’s whole world is shattered.
Of course, for me, the moment is ruined when the camera pans to reveal Chiharu has been creepin’ on the whole conversation. LOL. Why does everyone do that?? Did everyone miss the lesson when they were children about how rude it is to eavesdrop??
Cue Naoya’s existential crisis.
Everyone notices that he’s a bit out of it at practice, but Naoya doesn’t give an explanation. He just says “I quit.”
That night, Naoya is just being sad in his bedroom, thinking about life. I actually really like the contrast between the two brief flashbacks he has. First there’s Blond!Yoko saying “The possibilities are endless” and then Current!Yoko saying “It’s all worthless.” Wonder what’s changed in ten years?
In the morning, Nagisa discovers that Naoya’s not in his room. And he’s left his jacket behind and threw his
diary notebook in the trash.
Clearly this calls for an emergency meeting.
Nagisa tells them about Naoya as a kid and what happened after he got Yoko’s jacket. Baby!Naoya told her he’s not going to cry anymore because he wants to protect Nagisa. It’s all very adorable and at the end of her story, Nagisa cries. Poor girl. She just wants everyone to be happy.
Meanwhile, Chiharu has gone to talk some sense into Yoko. She reveals that she was there on the day Blond!Yoko saved Baby!Naoya from those bullies.
She thought it was inspirational so she eventually took a teaching job at KasuKou. “Naoya and I, we changed because we met you,” she says. Yoko gets a bit teary-eyed but then says “please just go home.”
Nagisa finds Naoya and now it’s her turn to give him an inspirational talk.
She starts to yell some sense at him, and frankly, I think I missed Nagisa’s yelling speeches. But then, she calms down a bit and confesses that she likes him!! WOAH. Sorry to all you Ryuji/Nagisa shippers out there.
But hey guys, remember that this is a comedy show, so this happens and it sorta steals Nagisa’s thunder:
The boys are trying to cheer Naoya up too in their own weird way! I don’t know if it cheered Naoya up, but it certainly cheered me right up.
But I’m also legit baffled by this though, y’all. Do you think this is temporary hair dye? Do you think Goda bought all the good blond wigs from the costume shop back in episode seven?
So Naoya feels inspired again and tracks Yoko down to present him with one of his patented challenge letters.
For some reason, Yoko accepts and goes with Naoya. And then Naoya punches him in the face! (Apparently Naoya has a mean right hook! Hey man, have you considered joining the boxing team instead?) Naoya yells “how could you say it’s all worthless?!”
While it looks like Yoko’s given up at first, he finally gets so angry that he punches Naoya back. (He’s also got a pretty good punch. Maybe they should join a boxing gym together and become bros?) I think Yoko’s a bit upset about how his life has turned out since his time in school.
Finally Naoya starts quoting Yoko’s original speech back to him. “Don’t give up. The possibilities are endless.” And then he gives the jacket back to Yoko. “I was a crybaby before, but now I’ve gotten stronger. Thank you very much.”
So Naoya goes back home and Nagisa has been waiting for him.
She’s worried about his bruised up face but Naoya’s got other things on his mind. “So yesterday… didn’t you say you liked me?” And she’s basically like “…yep… as friends.” So… sorry to all you Naoya/Nagisa shippers out there I guess? But then, Naoya gets kinda weird and says something equivalent to “I hope you didn’t read the last page of my diary then.” LOL I suppose it’s a love confession? Guess we’ll find out later.*
The next day at practice, Mean VP calls them to come with him and then the next shot is the whole team in POLKA DOTTED SPEEDOS. WHAT?
Apparently they were a present from Mean VP who has finally decided to not be so mean?
Also, Torao tells Coach Lady that Suiran will definitely win the match against KasuKou. (Riiiiight. Obviously he doesn’t know how jdramas work. Sorry bro.)
(yeah, that caption was a Rick Astley joke. I am #sorrynotsorry)
Also also, Suiran Girl tells Chiaki that she likes him. And his response is “Will you be my girlfriend if we win tomorrow?” (Smooth move, Chiaki) And she agrees. (ALSO, Kouki is creepin’ behind a tree to check on his bestie. LOL)
Also also also, Naoya and Ryuji hang out at the pool. And Ryuji tells him that he likes Nagisa and he’s going to tell her after the match tomorrow. Naoya says that he doesn’t really understand but he thinks he likes her too. And I really appreciate that they aren’t mad about it. They know they don’t have to hate each other over a girl. They have a water polo match tomorrow and they’re gonna focus on winning that first.
Finally, we get to Nagisa. And she happens to have the last page from Naoya’s diary (okay notebook, but it’s basically like his diary) And the last page says “Become a man strong enough to protect Nagisa.” At first, I almost wanted to say “ugh, no Nagisa can take care of herself!” but if you stop and think about it, it’s not like Nagisa and Naoya’s relationship is one-sided. We’ve seen Nagisa go out of her way to protect Naoya too. (Remember yelling at Goda in episode seven?) So it balances out and it’s actually a pretty sweet gesture that goes back to when they were kids together. But also on the other hand, watching Nagisa cuddle the paper is a bit creepy though:
So it looks like the episode is going to end on a nice note until suddenly a random guy comes outta nowhere and whacks Naoya’s shoulder with a pipe.
This reeks of Goda’s handiwork, yeah? (Although it’s not nearly as creative as his last plan) As I mentioned at the beginning of this recap, carrying around a lead pipe is usually a Yankee thing. Too bad Naoya didn’t have one with him. Who’s the real Yankee here? Just saying. >.>
The next episode will conclude the storyline with the big showdown between Suiran and KasuKou! Who will win??
As always, I really enjoyed this episode. There was some excellent lighting work done by the crew to set the mood for things. One good example was when everyone met at Nagisa’s house to figure out where Naoya ran off to. Usually the table is well lit so we can see everyone having fun. But this time, since the mood was low, the lighting was as well. Visually, I also really liked this bit when Nagisa saw Naoya’s jacket hanging in his room:
Anyway, I just thought this episode did a really excellent job with lighting and I wanted to ramble about it for a moment.
But really, the important theme of this episode, along with “never giving up,” is the idea of role models. Let’s put ourselves in Yoko’s shoes for a moment. Imagine that you do one good deed for someone, and then you see that person ten years later and discover you have changed that person’s life completely. And then you find out that someone who just saw your good deed also changed their life because of that one act. You impacted someone’s life and didn’t even realize it. How would you feel? It’s kind of a strange thing to think about, right? To use a sports example to further my point, in 1993 American pro basketball player Charles Barkley made the statement “I am not a role model.” Barkley essentially wanted everyone to look at him based on his basketball skills, and not what things he did in his personal life. But let me tell you what I think. Charles Barkley was wrong. Very, very wrong. Whether you want to or not, everyone can be a role model to someone else’s life. Good or bad. You never know how your actions will affect others. Going as far as modeling your whole appearance on someone like Naoya did is probably a bit over the top, but it still demonstrates the point. Someway, somehow, you may change somebody’s life. It’s an interesting thing to think about. Yoko’s advice, “the possibilities are endless” is a wonderful bit of advice because, sure, you may fail sometimes, but that doesn’t stop you from being able to try again or being able to get up and move in a different direction. I really liked the message they were sending in this episode. Blond!Yoko is a role model, willing or not. Chiharu is a role model. Naoya, Nagisa, Ryuji, Torao, and everyone else is a role model. Why? Because their actions affect others, sometimes in unpredictable ways. That’s just the way life goes.
Okay, I might have gotten a little carried away with my speech on role models. (But it took me a long time to type my thoughts out so I’m not deleting it even if it’s sort of a hot mess) If you have any thoughts on the subject, please feel free to leave a comment and we can chat about it.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with some questions like usual!
1.) WHERE WAS THE CORN? D:
2.) How did you feel about the montage flashbacks scattered throughout this episode? I liked the few that were in episode eight, but this episode felt like there was an excessive amount. How many flashbacks is too many flashbacks?
3.) If your friends dressed up like you to cheer you up, would it work?
4.) Do you like the polka dot speedos better?
5.) Can you say no to a handwritten yankee challenge letter?
6.) How do you feel about “yankees” and how they are portrayed in the show? Is the title of this show accurate?
7.) Why is everybody in this show always creepin’ in the background during important moments?
8.) Do you have any predictions for the final episode?
Sorry if my jokes make less sense than usual this week since I’m sick. Oops? As always, feel free to leave comment below! It’s nice to hear other people’s thoughts on the episode too! I’ll be back next week with my recap of the final episode and another fun surprise post to wrap up the series! See you then!