This post is part of the 12 Days series.
I started watching Ookiku Furikabutte during the start of the year, in time for the second season. The show boasts of highly technical baseball, which I appreciated immensely.
More than good baseball, Oofuri is a story about growth. Ren Mihashi is a pitcher who played abysmally during his middle school tenure, due to his teammates resenting him. He moves during high school and finds himself in another team, a pitcher once again. With Takaya Abe, the catcher who discovers his potential, Mihashi slowly builds a backbone, receiving trust from his team.
However, their first match in the regionals is against last year’s Koushien participant, Tousei. Seven innings down and the score is 3-2 for Tousei’s favor. Moreso, the rain has made playing difficult, and the game might be called if Nishiura doesn’t catch up.
In the shower room, Abe checks up on Mihashi, and discovers that he barely has any grip yet. The game is very tough for Mihashi, physically and mentally. He still has the immense will to pitch, but his body is at its limit.
However, Mihashi’s cousin pops out of nowhere to report that Mihashi’s old team won, and that his rival Kanou pitched a called game in seven innings. Kanou was the only person in Mihashi’s old team who had believed that Mihashi had any ability, and defended him from his other teammates.
Knowing that Kanou won, Mihashi’s body gets pumped up. When Tajima checks his grip, it is as strong as ever. What happened here? Even if he has no self-confidence, Mihashi is a person who is motivated by fear. He fears that his team would leave him if he ever became incapable of pitching, so he drives himself hard to become a valuable pitcher. He fears losing and betraying the trust that Kanou gave him, so he absolutely mustn’t fall in this game. Not with Kanou working so hard on his end.
It’s the best form of rivalry in sports, where both of you bring out the best from each other.
This is a big turning point in the game, yet a very innocuous one. And it’s exactly why I love it.