Another series we’ve parted ways with. There was a bit at the end of the final episode about National Team selections that could or could not be a hint about a second season, but for some reason, I’m not too hopeful (squints at Yuri!! on Ice). Though I believe I mentioned that denial is my strong suit so I’m willing to ignore that bit in my brain which seems to enjoy being a killjoy. Also, I’m writing this review at 5:30 a.m. at the airport on Monday with zero sleep, hoping I don’t pass out and miss my flight. I don’t think I can be held responsible for the contents of this review. Proceed at your own risk.
We left at quite a painful part last week, and Miyazumi’s desperate “Mikoto…” has been ringing in my ears. We aren’t left hanging for long and quickly find out that he only hit his brow, though that could still mean a concussion, Shiratori insists on playing like the hard-headed person he is. Now, our pair is hanging on a very delicate balance. Miyazumi is injured, and there’s only so much he can do on his own. He wants to forfeit for the sake of Shiratori, even if it means he has to give up being a part of the team. Shiratori insists they see it through, together. And that, in turn, fuels the tiny, selfish part in Miyazumi that wants to continue with his lifelong (heh) partner.
I never thought they took it lightly, but the amount of time and effort Miyazumi and Shiratori put into researching and strategizing was evident more than ever. It wasn’t just the amount of CDs Shiratori forced Miyazumi to sit through but they had several plans that layered on top of each other, and the mid-meltdown young Kirishima went through, discarding Naoto, only helped them rack points despite their disadvantage.
Don’t know how you all felt about it, but seeing Naoto standing in front of the net only to fulfill a qualification had an impact on me, both visually and emotionally. I couldn’t imagine having to go on the court in a final match, doing absolutely nothing except enabling Kirishima to compete in doubles. What’s worse, it wasn’t a case where he attempted to return an attack but Kirishima cut him off. The moment when Kirishima said he didn’t need Naoto, he knew he was supposed to stand still and do nothing. I could only wonder how bad Kirishima’s behavior has been towards the poor guy. I’m glad at least the time he spent with Miyazumi and treated as an equal cleared his mind.
I do love to joke around calling my beloved fictional characters dumb and yeah Miyazumi is… Miyazumi. But he becomes the brotherly figure when the situation calls. Playful and encouraging when teaching the ropes, stern and unnerving when the other party needs to hear the cold, hard truth. When he scolded the younger Kirishima at the beginning of their match, I felt like it hit a nerve in him. Not exactly the content of Miyazumi’s words, but the stern, brotherly warning Kirishima probably had to hear from his own brother.
Both the rest of the team and the colleagues, families, and friends alike are sitting at the edge of their seats. Including me. The whole match was paced well. As far as the sports anime plot structure goes, the series doesn’t stray from the standard: you get emotional flashbacks to explain competitors’ current behavior, a lot of learning and growing up happens on the court or field, and bold confessions are made in the middle of matches. Still, Salaryman’s Club makes it all work and gets you on the feels train even though you’ve probably seen similar stuff happen in the previous 347682 series you’ve watched. These tropes are executed masterfully and with its fresh company setting and lovable characters, I wouldn’t mind watching another cour right after. I’ve run out of words so I’ll say it directly: please give this series a chance when you find the time!
A big thank you to everyone who gave my posts a read throughout the season and commented either on here or over at Twitter. I hope it was fun to read my thoughts, silly jokes, or fangirling because I really had fun writing them! I won’t have much time to be online next week but my schedule should be more relaxed after that, so that means no Friday BL this week… But that doesn’t mean you should pass on your weekly yes-homo ikemen intake! If you like to, you can leave me a BL suggestion to read/review in my Curious Cat in the meantime. Take care and see you next week.
Other gallery posts from Salaryman’s Club:
- Salaryman’s Episode 1 — Assignment
- Salaryman’s Episode 2 — Synergy
- Salaryman’s Episode 3 — Ride the Headwind
- Salaryman’s Episode 4 — Conflict
- Salaryman’s Episode 5 — Feedback
- Salaryman’s Episode 6 — Presentation
- Salaryman’s Episode 7 — Alternative
- Salaryman’s Episode 8 — Breakthrough
- Salaryman’s Episode 9 — Priority
- Salaryman’s Episode 10 — Tradeoff
- Salaryman’s Episode 11 — Competitor
- Salaryman’s Episode 12 — Skyrocket
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