- TYPE: TV
- SEASON: SPRING 2022
- RELEASE DATE: 9th APRIL, 2022
- WHERE TO WATCH: Crunchyroll
Synopsis: Ashito Aoi is a promising soccer player from a small Japanese city. His ambitions of moving to a better soccer club in high school were destroyed when he provokes an issue during one crucial match for his club, resulting in their defeat and expulsion from the competition. Despite this, he attracts the attention of someone significant who is traveling from Tokyo. Tatsuya Fukuda is the coach of a prominent J-League team, “Tokyo City Esperion FC,” which has a high-school-aged youth squad. How would Ashito’s situation pan out?
Recap Of Episode 1:
!!SPOILERS AHEAD: READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!
The episode starts with Aoi playing soccer for his middle-school club. Their team is playing very well and is competing head-on with their opponents despite being not that great in soccer. With another goal in, Aoi and his schoolmates feel that they have a chance of winning the match and qualifying for the quarters. However, when the opposing team’s goalie senses their probability of loss, he goes ahead and tries to mess with Aoi.
It turns out that he was classmates with Aoi and was also a member of their soccer team. When they realized that Aoi possessed tremendous talent, he and his fellow teammates ostracised Aoi and eventually removed him from the team. He continues to taunt Aoi that his teammates are just a bunch of morons who are trying to trail on his tailcoats. Aoi suddenly headbutts him, leading to him being benched and his team losing the match. He meets his mother later, who lashes out at him for losing his temper. He is also informed by his coach that he has now lost his scholarship opportunity. However, he is not aware that there was someone else who was watching his match and has found potential in him.
He meets that man near the seashore. While the man is talking to him, Aoi passes out due to exhaustion. We are then shown that he cares so much about his current team as they were the only people to accept him for who he is. When he wakes up, he sees that strange man trying out a unique soccer move. He is left awestruck and asks him to teach him that move. Even after several attempts, Aoi is unable to do the move. The man thinks that it was just a delusion on his end and Aoi is not really a player good enough. He then starts talking about tactics to Aoi. He initially ignores that man, but later explains to him how with the help of his teammates he was able to score. That man is shocked as Aoi was able to remember the positions of all 22 players who were on the ground.
The man was left dumbfounded and goes on a nearby bench to cool down a little. However, he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he finds that Aoi was still going on with practicing the trick. Aoi succeeds in doing the trick, however, loses strength in his legs due to exhaustion. The man turns out to be Tatsuya Fukuda, the coach of the high-school-aged Youth team of a leading J-League team, “Tokyo City Esperion FC.” He asks Aoi to try the qualifiers of his team. At the same time, the goalie of the opponent team goes to Aoi’s house and confesses that Aoi headbutted him when he insulted his mom.
Aoi talks about the selections with his mother, but his mother refuses to allow him to go. He is crestfallen, however, he continues to live his daily life as usual. When his friends tell him that they will all go to the local high school, Aoi finds himself unable to smile earnestly. During this conversation, Aoi’s older brother comes to pick him up. His brother then tells him who Tatsuya Fukuda really is. He was an internationally acclaimed player who had to retire due to an injury. Aoi’s older brother gives him money and tells him to go for the tryouts and tells him not to care about the cost and to live his dream.
What an episode! I had an adrenaline rush throughout the 24 minutes of the anime. The last time I felt this euphoric was when I was watching my first sports anime (which was Haikyuu). It makes me feel good that the protagonist is not exactly someone who knows only the basics of soccer. He is passionate about the sport and knows well about it. I especially liked his brother. I had tears in my eyes when he handed Aoi the envelope of money. As of now, I have mixed feelings about his mother. I hope my opinion changes. I can’t wait for the next episode! Next Saturday, come already!