Baby Steps Episode 6 Recap – “Diamond In The Rough”
As we open up this week’s episode, four points is all Ryo Oobayashi, the no.5 seed in the tournament needs to win the match. However, Eichiro has some hope now that he is paying intense attention to Oobayashi’s hand and feet movement. Doing this allows him to predict where the next shot is going to go. Even Takuma is now up on his feet and watching the match.
Eichiro has found an effective way to “push” the point, which means he keeps returning the ball without making any offensive plays. You are basically waiting for your opponent to make a mistake. The coach notes that Eichiro’s footwork is shoddy, but he makes up for it with his sharp eyes. Here’s the catch; you can only push so long before you run out of steam. And after a 67 minute long match, Oobayashi finally wins.
Even though he came away with the win, Oobayashi is still a bit apprehensive. He doesn’t want to think about if Eichiro’s technique and physical prowess improves. Eichiro’s coach is also very intrigued, and wonders how he can go about “polishing this diamond in the rough”?
That night, Eichiro doesn’t even stay home for 5 minutes before he goes right back to hitting against the wall. He’s already defined what he needs to improve. He’s also come to the realization that he could be a good player someday. Of note is the first worried reaction from his mother, who asks “aren’t you a little too into this?”
The rest of the episode is reserved for introducing Eichiro, and us, to the other top seeds in the tournament. I’m sure we’ll be seeing many of these top seeds down the road. We even get to see Natsu play a match – for about 20 seconds. It’s my only major complaint about this show; we never get to see the other characters play, progress or struggle. At least yet. Natsu wins her match 6-0 by the way.
While Eichiro is taking notes from the sidelines at Oobayashi’s next match, his Coach approaches him and asks him a vital question – “do you want to win?” Coach has a stunning prediction – judging by his notes and what he has seen of his play, in a year and six months (give or take) Eichiro could become better than all of the top seeds. Possibly. He leaves him with one more piece of info: “If you want to become a better player, come to STC Court 1 tomorrow at 7 am.”
This was completely a “these are the things to come” episode rather than any actual advancements. I’m not complaining too much, as it shows that the time is being taken to set up plot lines before we see where they will be heading. Still, I want to see one whole episode dedicated to either a Natsu match or a Takuma match. Or at the very least more than a few seconds of highlights. Right now, I feel very little connection to either of them or their fates within this story world. Hopefully that will change down the line.