The Time of Your Life

Episode 51

This is also from memory. Takezono vs Kainan, Sakuragi is not there to watch cuz he's overslept in the gym. Jin is the only major player who's in the starting line-up for this game. Takezono starts off well enough, but then Oda's foot starts bothering him and his performance deteriorates. He collapses in the middle of the game and is about to be substituted, but Sakuragi (who has finally arrived) yells at him and rekindles his spirit. Oda gets up and finishes the game. Kainan wins. Later on Oda and Yoko has a heart-to-heart, and Oda tells Yoko that his real dream is not to be the champion in Japan, but to see her happy.

My 2 cents
The whole Sakuragi-Oda storyline wasn't in the manga. I think the studio people got the inspiration for this from Mitsui's story and the Sakuragi-Rukawa rivalry. Btw, when I first saw Oda, I thought he was Yasawa, you know, Anzai-sensei's deceased pupil.

Episodes 52-53

Kainan vs Shohoku. Sakuragi is unstoppable in the rebounds and Maki himself has to guard him briefly. Kainan coach substitutes Jin with Miyamisu, a short, weak-looking player to guard Sakuragi. Everyone is puzzled as to his motives, but then Sakuragi starts making lots of mistakes. Yohei realizes Coach Riki's strategy, cuz Sakuragi will only perform his best against a strong opponent, and if faced with a weak opponent, he himself will become weak. The gap between Kainan and Shohoku widens and Sakuragi asks Akagi for some secret technique (what is his obsession with secret techniques anyway?). Akagi thinks to himself that even Sakuragi is panicking at the terror that is Kainan. Akagi tells him to dunk, but even that comes to no effect due to Maki's quick thinking. Sakuragi is substituted. He's mad as anything, but there's nothing he can do. Back on the court, Kiyota is challenging Rukawa. He says, "I know you've been labeled the super newcomer. But that's just because you joined Shohoku. If you had joined Kainan, you won't even be in the starting line-up!"

Episode 54

Rukawa vs Kiyota, and the Rukawa fanclub (which has multiplied from three to a legion) shows their support. Kiyota tries to steal the ball away, but Rukawa evades him, then Kiyota fouls. Everybody watching thinks that it is now a battle to see who will be the super newcomer. The score is 39-26, Kainan leading, and Rukawa thinks, "Still 13 points left." Rukawa attempts a shot, Akagi gets the rebound, passes to Rukawa again who scores. However, Akagi has injured his ankle and is taken off for treatment. Everybody thinks that Shohoku is doomed. Aida's sister (can't remember her name) thinks that everyone in the stadium must be thinking the same thing, but Rukawa is thinking, "Only 11 points..." (Such a lot of thinking going around...)

On the other hand, in the Ryonan vs Takezado game, Ryonan is leading 100-54. Everyone watching the game is thinking (^_^;) that only Ryonan can defeat prince Kainan. Fujima, Hanagata and Hasekawa from Shoyo are also watching the game. Fujima says that it's not that Takezado's weak, but Ryonan's too strong. Sendoh last year was merely a newcomer, but now has become Ryonan's main pillar of strength.

Back to Kainan vs Shohoku,
Kogure: We will have to do our best without Akagi.
Mitsui: Let's face it, without Akagi, it's gonna be very difficult to beat Kainan.
Sakuragi: I will replace Gori!
Aida's sister: Shohoku is falling apart without Akagi.

Episode 55

Sakuragi makes an impressive block against Kiyota's shot and the crowd goes wild. He also performs very well in the rebounds, recalling what Akagi has taught him. Ryonan vs Takezado, 117-64. Uozumi played very well, but Sendoh didn't show his full strength. Back to Shohoku, Aida's sister wonders who will lead Shohoku in Akagi's absence. Shohoku will be restricted if the game goes on as it is doing. Kainan's return to defense is very quick and Shohoku has no chance to attack. Rukawa scores, but Aida's sis thinks that he shouldn't have done that, he should have co-operated with his teammates instead of going it alone, she thinks he is too strong-headed.
Rukawa: Only 9 points.
Aida's sis: If Rukawa goes on like this, the gap will definitely widen.
Miyagi passes to Rukawa, who gets a shot in against all odds. Sakuragi, Aida's sis, and Riki's jaws are all hanging open in shock. Rukawa steals a pass meant for Maki and scores again. He has single-handedly shortened the gap to 5 points, and both Sakuragi and Kiyota are beside themselves.

Episodes 56-57

Rukawa single-handedly equalizes the score. Aida's sis has to retract her earlier words as she realizes that he is hardly headstrong, instead he has the game fully under control. Ryonan, who has finished their own match, comes in and Sendoh is surprised that Rukawa alone has managed to pull Shohoku abreast of Kainan. At the end of half time, the score is 49-49.

My 2 cents
Favorite scene:
After an incredible feat by Rukawa.
Miyagi: (incredulous) I can't believe a first-year can play like that.
Mitsui: (incredulous) Normally he's cold, unemotional, arrogant, hateful (etc etc etc) but now his performance is such that even Kainan can do nothing against him!
Those probably aren't his exact words but I can't remember his exact words so those will have to do. :P The way he says it is so funny!

Episodes 58-59

Under construction.

Episode 60

Both teams regroup briefly for instructions. Akagi impresses on Sakuragi the importance of rebounds once again. He tells Sakuragi to dunk after he gets the ball, or if he is too far away, to pass to him. The ball is in the hands of Miyagi who cannot get past Miyamisu. He passes to Mitsui who attempts a shot, knowing it will miss and depending on Akagi and Sakuragi to get the rebound. Kainan #5 gets it instead, but Miyagi steals it, Sakuragi gets it, goes past #5 in a fake maneuver and jumps to dunk. Maki leaps up to block and Rukawa shouts, "Don't miss!" Sakuragi in fact does not miss, and gets a free throw to boot. The score is 88-90. Akagi places his hand on Sakuragi's head and says, "You did very well." Ayako thinks, "He's only got in one shot, yet he's changed the morale of the team. Not just the team, but the atmosphere of the entire stadium!"

Uozumi: Maki shouldn't have done what he did.
Sendoh: No, if I were Maki, I'd have done the same thing. Sakuragi has this ability to bring out the competitiveness in his opponent.
Aida: Will he purposely miss the free throw so that Shohoku will get the rebound?

Down on the court, Sakuragi is recalling Akagi's speech in the locker room. He thinks, "Gori will get the rebound." On the other hand, Kiyota notices Mitsui's eyes. Erm, that didn't come out right. What I meant was, Kiyota notices Mitsui's gaze on the hoop. Sakuragi throws, the ball rebounds off the rim, Akagi gets it, thinks, "To win, there's only one chance." He shouts, "Mitsui!" and passes to him. Mitsui attempts a three-pointer, Kiyota jumps to block. Mitsui clenches his fist and thinks, "Must go in!" It doesn't go in, and he's shocked. Sakuragi gets the ball, but both Jin and Maki are blocking him. He shouts, "Gori!" and passes to him, but it turns out it is not Akagi, but Kainan #5. Sakuragi stands shocked as the whistle is blown. Time up, Shohoku has lost by two points. The Kainan team celebrates while the Shohoku side is silent. Ayako's eyes fill with tears and she says, "Sempai!", looking at Akagi. Kiyota says to Mitsui, "It was very dangerous just now." Mitsui looks at him and asks, "You touched the ball?" Kiyota answers, "Just my fingernail." Akagi takes a deep breath and calms down. He looks over to Sakuragi. He goes over to him and puts his hand on Sakuragi's head. "This is not the end," he says, "There are still two matches to be played! Don't cry." Sakuragi is crying uncontrollably. Akagi and Maki shake hands.

My two cents
So sad... poor Hanamichi... *sniff*

Episode 61

The next morning, everyone's sleeping in their classes, Rukawa with drool pooling on his desk, prompting the sensei to remark, "Normally he's sleepy enough, now he's practically dead to the world." Akagi and Sakuragi are not at their desks. Akagi has gone to get his foot treated, while Youhei wonders if Sakuragi is still upset over the incident during the match. In the gym, Ayako smacks two unfortunate guys with her paper fan for not being cheery enough. "You have no time to be in low morale!" she says. Two more guys come in with a not-upbeat-enough greeting and are welcomed with her paper fan before she realizes they are Kogure and Mitsui. "Sempai! Why are you so down?" she asks. Mitsui starts making an inspirational speech and Miyagi says, "Suddenly you're full of confidence." Mitsui freaks and yells, "Shut up! Don't you understand?" Miyagi replies, "Of course I understand. The taste of defeat, once is enough!" Everyone is silent as this sinks in. Akagi comes in, and everyone's worried as to why he's using a crutch, but he explains it's merely to speed up his healing. He wonders where Sakuragi is.

Sakuragi is at a fenced-in basketball court, watching some guys play basketball. He remembers the incident the day before. Haruko approaches from behind and says, "Don't you know it's wrong to skip school?" Sakuragi is startled, then he runs away. Haruko follows but (erm, predictably) falls down. Later, they are standing outside the basketball court again.
Haruko: I don't think I shall ever forget yesterday's game.
Sakuragi: (mumbling) Maybe.
Haruko: Because yesterday Sakuragi Hanamichi scores for the first time in a game! (Miming a microphone) "Basketball player Sakuragi, when is the first time you slam dunked?" Someday, someone will ask you that!
Sakuragi stands speechless as Haruko waves and walks away. "Even a tensai can make mistakes!" she says (it's at moments like this that you really have to love her).

Inside the court, Fukuda says, "So this is Sakuragi?" He tells his friends to get Sakuragi to come and meet him. They try twice, but both times are unsuccessful (and one very unlucky guy gets two bumps on his head). Sakuragi walks off. "Who is that guy?" ask the hapless messengers, Fukuda replies, "He's someone highly regarded by Sendoh." At Shohoku, Haruko is wondering why Sakuragi isn't here yet.

Night, and it's raining as Sakuragi makes his way to the school. He sits in the locker room in the dark and recalls Akagi's speech (third time of this particular flashback), and thinks, "It's my fault. It's my fault Shohoku lost." The light is switched on and Sakuragi looks up and sees Rukawa in the doorway.
Rukawa: What are you doing here? Idiot.
Sakuragi: Rukawa.
Rukawa comes in, takes something from his locker, and leaves. At the doorway, Sakuragi leaps to his feet and starts shouting.
Sakuragi: Why don't you say something?! With your attitude, now that I've made a mistake, it's impossible that you have nothing to say! If you feel sympathy for me, I tell you I don't need it!
Rukawa: Sympathy? It's a waste of my time. (sighs and walks away)
Sakuragi: What?! Rukawa, come back here! (starts chasing him)
(Okay, after this it gets a bit hazy as this is written after some time.)
They stand in the gym and Rukawa asks, "How much did you think the team depended on you?" "Of course they saw me as the savior," Sakuragi replies (seriously, I might add) and Rukawa says, "No. Your ability is only as little as this." He holds up about 1 cm between his thumb and forefinger. "What?!" Sakuragi yells. "Well, actually it's a bit more." Another cm. "Your performance yesterday has exceeded your normal capabilities so you've surpassed their expectations of you. Your mistake did nothing to influence the game." Sakuragi is furious and raises a fist to hit him, but then he pauses and thinks, "It's no use even if I beat him black and blue. Only if I surpass him on the court will it be meaningful." As he stands there and thinks this, Rukawa bops him one. "Sorry, a hit," he says. Blue fire starts emanating from Sakuragi's body ^^. A fight breaks out.

At the Akagi residence, Haruko is sneezing. Um, I actually do not know the significance of this. She hopes Sakuragi will come to practice tomorrow. Back in the gym, the two disheveled guys stand breathing shallowly. "It's actually my fault," Rukawa says, "If I'd had the stamina to play the game out, we would not have lost." Sakuragi is speechless for a minute, then he yells, "You arrogant bastard!" and the hitting, kicking, punching, etc start again. The next morning, Mitsui and Miyagi enter the gym and are confronted by Sakuragi in a new shaven-head mode. They fall down laughing. The Sakuragi gundan arrives and also collapse in uncontrollable laughter at the sight.

My two cents
Kainan vs Shohoku is one of my favorite games in the manga. Of course, Shohoku lost, but it wouldn't have worked as well if they'd won. The game in the anime was quite good, but I still prefer the manga version. In the anime, Shoyo vs Shohoku is probably the best so far, IMO. But Kainan vs Shohoku is absolutely wonderful in the manga.

Episodes 62-67

Yai, I actually do not know where these episodes went. ^_^; Let me see if I can recall the events correctly... Shohoku has a match with Takezado, but Sakuragi does not take part because he has overslept while practicing his jump shots. When he finally gets to the stadium, he gets knocked twice by Akagi and everyone has a good laugh at his new monk's head. Shohoku wins the match and settles down in the audience to watch the second game of the day, Kainan vs Ryonan. Before the match starts, Uozumi challenges Maki, "We will take the title of Kanagawa's strongest from you!" Maki says, "With your ability it's impossible." "Not mine, but our Sendoh!" Uozumi replies. Maki looks over to Sendoh, who looks pretty surprised at the sudden attention. He rolls his eyes and murmurs, "Such pressure." The game starts, Ryonan looks to be in control thanks to Sendoh's excellent control and passing ability. He is in point guard position against Maki. Coach Riki thinks it is wrong of Taoka to put Sendoh in the PG position just to have him guard Maki, but it turns out Sendoh makes a great PG. In the audience, Sakuragi does his usual yelling and general making-a-nuisance-of-himself for a bit, then leaves to continue his practice. After some time, Rukawa, Mitsui and Miyagi also leave, to the consternation of Akagi, who laments their absence of team spirit.

The match continues. Akagi gets a phone call from Haruko. Anzai-sensei has collapsed and has been sent to the hospital. They hurry there to find Sakuragi at the entrance. He looks at them silently with tears in his eyes and takes off when they question him. Fearing the worst, they look in on Anzai-sensei. He is lying very still and they think he is dead. Then, he sighs and rolls over. Mrs Anzai informs them that he is sleeping. Understandably, they get mad at Sakuragi for scaring them like that. Turns out Anzai-sensei was watching Sakuragi practice when he had an attack and collapsed. Sakuragi then brought him to the hospital and took care of everything.

Sakuragi is walking alone in the street and has a flashback of when his own father had collapsed but he was unable to get help because he was surrounded by a gang bent on getting revenge. Meanwhile, Mitsui, Miyagi and Rukawa meet up at the school. They go into the gym and see Sakuragi who tells them of Anzai-sensei's condition, and that he's stable now. Somebody (can't remember who, I think it was Miyagi) says that Anzai-sensei probably collapsed because he was too horrified at Sakuragi's shots. ^_^

Back to the ongoing match, during the last few seconds of the game, Kainan is leading by 2 points. Sendoh gets the pass and goes on the offense. The crowd goes wild. Maki catches up with him about halfway down the court. Sendoh jumps, and so does Maki, but then Maki thinks, "Wait. If I were Sendoh..." and at the last minute, does not attempt to block as Sendoh performs a dunk. Time's up, Ryonan has equalized, and the game will go into extra time. The Ryonan supporters erupt in cheers, but Maki and Sendoh both stand merely looking at each other. Fujima in the audience thinks that Sendoh allowed Maki to catch up to him on purpose, with the intention of making Maki foul and thus securing a win for Ryonan without going into extra time. "While I am out of the picture, you are competing for the title of best player!" Fujima thinks. On the bench, Maki ponders on Sendoh's strategy and for the first time, concedes that Sendoh is on his level. Kainan wins the match in extra time. As Maki and Sendoh shake hands, Maki says, "Be careful. Shohoku is very strong." "I know," Sendoh says.



Updates will probably occur once a week or fortnightly, depending. So am I gonna make synopses for all the episodes? I have no idea. Maybe. If I feel like it, and if I actually get to watch the whole thing. ^_^ Ja ne!


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