Giant Killing 9, Working!! 9, Yumeiro 30

Giant Killing 9 continues the cycle we’re now familiar with. ETU loses, everyone gets pissed off. They seem to take turns going over the line. This week it’s the fans’ turn.

Or rather, the organized fans who try to drum up the excitement. They almost turn on some other fans, and then decide to block the team bus (after yet another loss) and take it out on Tatsumi. In this way we begin to see some unexplored dynamics not only amongst them, but with ETU’s management. Vice-Chairman Gotou, who hired Tatsumi, fully believes in him and goes out to confront the fans in his stead. Other staff members are blaming him for the hire. Nothing much comes of it, but it’s nice to see these overlooked characters interact for a change. We also get a little quality time with Fujisawa, the freelance reporter, who has posted an article saying it’s too soon to sack Tatsumi, and another reporter who secretly agrees with her. She hasn’t been used much this series, so again it’s good to spend a little time on her, only if it’s only a little.

We also get a little more of Tsubaki’s self-doubt, the pep talk coming this time from Murakoshi. That’s getting a little tiresome. But the episode devotes more time to their next opponent, run by the former ETU coach, and the three Brazilian players he brought in, probably for a hefty sum. The team’s doing well, but the Brazilians have a bizarre attitude to playing the game: they want to have fun. They’re almost late for a match because they’re doing moves to entertain the fans. Actually, it’s a bit annoying. They play the role of childlike foreigner from a poor nation and carry it too far, even buying fan jerseys with their names on them to send home. On the other hand, it’s maybe the second time in the entire series that they’ve shown people actually having fun with soccer. Even a disgruntled fan mutters early on “This game used to be fun.” This show needs more fun. Of course, it’s fun when you win. Here’s hoping for more fun next week.

When I learned the premise of Working!! 9 (I was wrong. The show does have two exclamation points) I thought it was setting itself up for disaster. Souta has to cross-dress to fool Inami’s father. I could imagine the scenes before they happened. He would have to be talked into it. They would have to actually make him look like a girl, and he’d have to take girly lessons, and then the nerve-wracking meeting with the father. I was right about the scenes, but the episode carried it off a lot better than I had feared.

The character dynamics have been established enough to give an edge to every cliché scene. Souta at first refuses, but feels sorry for her. Souma has an old photo of Souta dressed as a girl to blackmail him when he falters, so that, as he says, “I’m cross-dressing to hide that fact that I used to cross-dress.” And Taneshima thinks that the girl-Souta looks adorable. And leave it to Satou to explain to Yachiyo why they couldn’t have chosen a simpler way out, like having Yachiyo take Souta’s place. Not only that, but Inami doesn’t hit Souta once when he’s in drag.

The nerve-wracking meeting does even better. The father turns out to be a piece of work, deliberately scarring Inami against men for life so that no man could get close to her. He’s even brought a gun in case Souta does turn out to be a boy. But his combination of fatherly doting and violent intent is so over the top that any sense of threat melts away. And it was good to see Souta’s growing less fearful and more angry when he learns just what a tool this man is. So it’s an all-around good episode, and the second one in a row with a sustained narrative, but once again we’re focusing too much on Inami.

More filler in Yumeiro Patissiere 30. The next class assignment is to make a cheesecake, and Ichigo has just asked what the difference was between sweet and sour cream.

Kashino releases his inner Shizuo.

So they visit a dairy farm to learn about the origin of milk. For much of the episode it’s just the humans and fairies having fun on the farm, getting run over by sheep (Kashino), riding horses (Andou), getting chased by cows. There’s a subplot concerning a fairy report that Caramel has yet to write, due in two days, and Chocolat’s subsequent berating of her. A calf chases her into the woods, Chocolat is worried about her, etc etc. Typical fairy behavior.

Caramel makes friends with a cow.

The humans are there to learn, so they tag along with Ushijima, who tends to the cows, and they learn a great deal about how lovingly they’re cared for, down to taste-testing the grass. The kids are deeply impressed, so much so that they commandeer a kitchen and prepare the staff a bunch of cheesecakes. Ushijima is so moved that he hallucinates.

Another surreal moment brought to you by Yumeiro Patissiere.

The fairies’ part of the episode was the usual stuff about friendship. The humans’ was educational, to a small degree. If nothing else we learn how much goes into making good, healthy cow’s milk. And a couple of interesting lines: “You’re even popular with sheep!” “Where did she get that tongue of hers?” An agreeable episode before the tournament action resumes next week.

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