Baby Steps Episode 5 Recap – “A First Match Full of Surprises”
It’s the first day of the Kanagawa Junior Tournament and Eichiro, full of nervous excitement, arrives early. His opponent Ryo Oobayashi, the 5th seed in the tournament, is also there early, so their match is moved up to whatever the next open court is, due to a chance of rain. Oobayashi introduces himself politely and carefully; even though his opponent is ranked so low, he is a member of Southern Tennis Club, a famous club with players that have gone to the nationals (including Takuma). In fact, most of the other players are stealing looks at Eichiro and his teammates.
Eichiro’s match is announced and he begins to panic. In a surprise moment, Takuma helps him out by telling him to stop thinking about what to do and just go and play. There’s nothing he can do about what he can’t do. Of course he does it in his own grumpy way, kicking Eichiro in the back during the process. XD
It’s match time, and Eichiro is still freaking out. Oobayashi is about to take his first serve and Eichiro can’t decide on what strategy he’s going to start with. It’s all the more important since in this tournament each match is 1 set only, instead of 3 sets. Oobayashi smacks his first serve towards him – – and without even knowing what the hell is going on, Eichiro smacks a return ace back to go up 15-Love. He is immensely confused though as he has no idea how he pulled it off. Natsu can tell that Eichiro’s body is reacting on it’s own, due to the extensive and repetitive practice Eichiro has done. The coach (none of the coaches have been given names yet :/) points out that it’s not just that, Eichiro has a strong sense of dynamic vision (tracking moving objects), depth perception and momentary vision (info processing at high speeds). He wins the first game without losing a point, going up 1-0 with a break point.
Now it’s Eichiro’s turn to serve and — it’s not very good. The return uses the power of your opponent’s serve, but your own serve is determined by your own ability, and Eichiro has no experience in serving yet. As a result, Oobayashi takes the break point right back. In addition, he starts to use only a slow serve, so that Eichiro can only hit back slow returns, since he only knows how to react to fast serves like Takuma’s.
The match continues to go downhill until it’s 5-1 Oobayashi, who only needs four more points to win. Wanting to play more tennis, Eichiro reminds himself of the advice Takuma gave him. He dumps trying to get his basic stroke out, and instead just focuses on Oobayashi’s movements. That way he can predict where the ball is going to go next. Oobayashi sends his first serve of the game, and this time Eichiro blasts it back to him, getting his first point since the opening game. And then the episode ends ~_~
That’s just dirty pool ending the episode there, but it makes for good tension :P. I don’t think Eichiro is going to win persay, but I do think he’ll make it a close match, earning some respect from Oobayashi. Hopefully we get to see some of the other character’s matches, as I would love to see Natsu do something other than compliment Eichiro. However, solid show so far!