Monday, 27 September 2010

Giant Killing - Episode 26 (Completed)

After spending so many episodes giving us a blow-by-blow account of ETU's game against Osaka Gunners, Giant Killing's final instalment rattles through as many matches at it possibly can before it reaches the final whistle of the series.

Luckily, brevity usually means that East Tokyo United are on a winning streak, and so this proves here, with ETU running out 1-0 winners against Oita Triplex in a game which also shows just how well the side are playing as a team now, with Gino, Tsubaki and Akasaki linking up nicely to create the winning goal for Natsuki.

ETU's annual arm-wrestling contest contained a surprise finalist
This particular match seems to be the final performance which seals Akasaki a place in Japan's national side for an Olympic qualifier (where the vast majority of players have to be under the age of twenty-three incidentally) - great news for ETU and their burgeoning reputation, although with Akasaki missing for one game while Kuro is also suspended the doors are opened to some new blood on the pitch... not that they do much with it, scraping out a 0-0 draw.  Still, Akasaki impresses for the Japanese side, so that particular cloud certainly has something of a silver lining.

With a full strength squad once again, we then see ETU winning a cup game 1-0 to take them from the preliminary round into the tournament proper - another mark of progress for the side, although it seems that some of the regulars (or at least Gino) are starting to tire from the constant pressure of high-octane games.  Sensibly, this sees Tatsumi decide that it's time for the player to take a brief break, via an event which he also turns into a chance for everyone involved with the club to mingle by way of a "curry party".  This gives us some closing scenes to the series which really sum up just what Giant Killing has been all about - presenting to the viewer the notion that a football club is much more than just the men on the pitch, or even their manager; indeed, a club would be nothing if it wasn't for players, fans, management, canteen staff, and so on.  It's certainly a concept which some English Premier League clubs would do well to remember...

Which brings us to the end of Giant Killing, a series which has helped me through the barren football-free weeks in my everyday life, punctuated an entire World Cup and eased me into the start of a new football season.  I'm not sure what I can say about this show that I haven't alreadty, except that it's delivered a fantastic representation of the football fan's experience, be it the on-field tension and drama or the off-field characters and man management required to get the best out of them.  All of this has been expertly blended to make for a fantastic show that even non-football fans seem to have enjoyed, which is surely testament to its abilities.  It'll be a cruel, cruel world that doesn't see a second series of this restrained little gem commissioned - come on Japan, give the underdog a chance to take on the big boys again, so that we can witness some more feats of Giant Killing!

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