Baby Steps Episode 15 Recap – “Plan To Be Forceful”
So just what were Araya and Takuma talking about in the bathroom last episode? Well it’s a pretty big drama alert. Araya tells Takuma that if he doesn’t beat him during this tournament he is going to give up on becoming a professional tennis player. In light of this, Eichiro asks Takuma to help him out. Takuma agrees to give him some pointers, but only because “it will be easier for me if you beat him.”
The semifinal match begins, with Takuma and Oobayashi’s match occurring next to them at the same time. Takuma has filled Eichiro in that Araya is a slow starter. You have to attack him openly to get an early advantage. He is also impatient and has a short temper. To take advantage of this Eichiro does little annoying things like playing with his racket between points.
Eichiro uses the advantages to win the first game using this knowledge – but there’s danger on the horizon. As Takuma has told him, Araya will flip a switch at some point, so be prepared. After Eichiro wins a point by Araya playing the ball out, Araya’s temper breaks. He throws down his racket and proceeds to argue with the chair umpire. While he doesn’t win the argument, the aggression gets to Araya’s legs and the momentum is squarely flipped in his favour. Araya then steamrolls through the first set 6-1, with his speed and power counters.
The momentum continues into the second set, with Araya winning the first game against serve. There is a silver lining though – Eichiro has gotten a beat on Araya’s habits. He even gets a hand on one of Araya’s quick counter shots. But as you look across the net, you can see some of the rage begin to boil in Araya…
It’s good to see the multiple sides of Araya, as he is one of the few characters in the series with more than minimal personality. I hope to see more of him in future arcs. It was also good to see Takuma again, he hasn’t really been around the last few episodes. He’s supposed to be the main rival of Eichiro but he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. As I already know where this match is heading we will refrain from spoilers. See you next week!