After all the positive vibes of their pre-season game and Tatsumi's "interesting" speech at the media event, East Tokyo United's first league game seemed to have started well enough despite a freak goal from the opposition putting them behind. Surely a single lucky goal would never put the skates under a top division side, right?
Wrong. By the time one of ETU's hapless fans makes it to the ground late during the second half, he arrives to find that his side have collapsed totally, ending the game 4-0 down and in a complete shambles. This is no one-off either, as league game number two sees another (admittedly less heavy) defeat, with the strain already beginning to show in terms of inter-player relations both on and off the pitch.
At the centre of much of this strain is Kuroda, whose loud-mouthed nature and tendency to boss everybody around certainly isn't helping, with his frustration manifesting itself more and more in his vocal criticisms of everybody... apart from himself of course. While Tatsumi seems to have little interest in either current results or his players (he's very much a man of few words in this episode), a training game of football tennis with a "grand prize" on offer sorts out the winners from... well, Kuroda and his best buddy Sugi, who refuse to take part. Next thing we know, Kuroda is dropped, and with another defeat for ETU he hands in a transfer request... is this the reaction Tatsumi was looking for though?
Well, if anyone was expecting pure Roy of the Rovers stuff from start to finish, I think it's safe to say that this episode of Giant Killing puts paid to that, and I suppose it shows how I've come to enjoy the shenanigans of East Tokyo United already when I actually find myself feeling, much like the fans, a little pissed off from seeing them lose three games on the trot. Similarly, even my patience is wearing thin with Tatsumi's seeming lack of interest in what's going on in front of his eyes - Is he simply taking his mind games too far? It certainly feels that way, but that engendering of passion on my part is exactly what makes this show so enjoyable - If you're not a football fan but you're watching this series, perhaps this is giving you a glimpse of the joys and pain of this particular vice, as it puts you in situations where a man or group of individuals you respect are at odds with your impatience in the face of things not going to plan. Tatsumi's hijinks might be unlike anything you'll see on a real football field, but the viewer's relationship with the team and its results is absolutely bang on the money here.