Fours: Giant Killing, B Gata H Kei

Giant Killing 4 brings us the first real game, with all the politics and mind games that go with it.

Much of the latter is done by Tsubaki—on himself. As Tatsumi says, he fails nine times out of ten, but his one success is always memorable. But all Tsubaki can think about is all those failures. We have a flashback scene stuck in the middle of the game where Tatsumi challenges him and Tsubaki keeps screwing up. Then the two talk it out. I can’t make sense of it. He claims that it was Murakoshi’s support that led him to help beating the regulars in that scrimmage (and later we see an opponent doing the same thing, with more sinister intent). Is that all it takes?

As for the game, Tatsumi’s strategy seems to be working for both the team and for Tsubaki. He streaks around the field, gets fouled, but recovers and charges the goal while team captain Gino pops passes here and there … and they score, thanks to a deft Tsubaki pass to Gino. Gino’s mind games on the opponent marking him also helped. Moments later Tsubaki is yellow-carded for a phantom foul and the other team scores on the free kick, so stuff is going both ways for Tsubaki. We don’t see his reaction to inadvertently causing goals on both sides, but it will be interesting to see. And apparently there are egos and politics at work on the opposing side as well, but the episode ends before the game does.

An unsatisfying episode 4 of B Gata H Kei, for me as well as for our would-be lovers Yamada and Kosuda. It’s coming up to Christmas Eve and of course Yamada is all out for getting her cherry popped, and it pretty much pans out the way you’d expect, except it feels like it takes much longer. I can’t remember the number of times I glanced at the time, wondering just how slowly an episode can take.

The reaction he doesn't see.

First, Kosuda has to actually ask her out, and he wants to, but you know it’s going to take forever to get the words out of his mouth. Meanwhile, Yamada is getting just as angry for the same reason. Spit it out already! The show seems to have a strategy where we sympathize with one character while the other one screws up, then switch when they do. Here, we’re on Yamada’s side.

After that there’s the actual date, and she leads him to a street full of love hotels. Now it’s our turn to sympathize with Kosuda as they pass each hotel, but Yamada just can’t choose one. But they do get their first kiss out of it, which is as major an event as we’ve seen yet in this series. Naturally, it freaks out Yamada but energizes Kosuda.

Note the adoring expressions on their faces.

Following that we get some misadventures in the lover’s park. And once again we see that when the opportunity for sex comes up neither character is actually ready for it. I actually like that. These two characters, especially Yamada, are simply kids who want to do what the grown-ups do, but they don’t have the rules down and they don’t realize they should just take their time about it. It’s a nice look at the pressures society can put on young, innocent people. Unfortunately, the techniques used in this show, especially Yamada’s mood-swings, are wearing thin. You can tell, more or less, how each scene is going to pan out. I’m pretty close to dropping it.

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