Baby Steps Episode 14 Recap – “Putting The Pieces Together”
What happened this episode:
The match against Iwasa continues, with both players picking up their levels. The score is at 5-4, so Eichiro only needs to win this one game to take the match. Iwasa still doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Eichiro; the only thing he is concerned about is his fanatical obsession to finish his picture before the match ends. In response, Iwasa raises his level so much that Eichiro is just barely able to hit returns. But then disaster strikes for Iwasa – his legs seize up. The prolonged nature of the one set match has finally gotten to his body, while Eichiro is fine due to his diligent and constant practicing. Eichiro powers two aces by Iwasa and wins 6-4.
However, there’s still half an episode to go. Iwasa makes the decision to focus more on drawing on a canvas and as a result, spend less time on tennis. In conversation with Eichiro post match, he tells Eichiro that Araya will be a difficult opponent for him. Araya, after all, wants to go pro, with his aggressive, intense and noisy style. He also notes that Eichiro should think about going pro, something Eichiro has never thought about yet. The final four of the Kanagawa Junior Tournament are decided – Araya vs Eichiro and Takuma vs Oobayashi.
Natsu promises Eichiro that she will tell him why she wants to go pro, but only if he beats Araya. So basically, he’s already screwed. Later, Coach Miura teaches Eichiro an interesting distinction during practice. He tells him to focus less on learning Araya’s strengths and instead discover his weakness, as he did with Miyagawa and Iwasa (not entirely on purpose though).
On the day of his match against Araya, Miyagawa shows up to cheer him on. According to him, exploiting an opponent’s weakness makes both players stronger, as it did with him and Eichiro. He also thanks Eichiro for helping him to see this. Unfortunately Eichiro can’t figure out Araya’s weakness on his own, so he looks for Takuma to ask him about it. Seeing Takuma nowhere in the vicinity, he eventually finds Takuma and Araya in the bathroom, locked in a heated conversation…
I would have liked the match with Iwasa to have taken up more of the episode to be honest. The ending of the match felt pretty anticlimactic (as was noted in the episode itself) and it felt like it could have all be sorted into last week’s episode instead of dragging it over to this one. Since they did drag it, I figured it would take up more than the first 9 mins of the episode. Natsu feels incredibly underused in this show as always. I want to see some of her matches, not just hear about them in passing. I know Eichiro is the main character, but seeing some of the other players would give this show some more personality – something it is sorely missing. Eichiro is a fine main lead, but he doesn’t have enough pizazz to carry the show by himself.
As for the upcoming match against Araya, which will be three sets instead of one, I don’t see Eichiro winning it. It will be close, but Araya will win out in the end. Why do I think so? Because Natsu’s offer to tell Eichiro why she wants to go pro. Shows like this don’t blossom the romance so early into the show’s run.