Team building. I like how this series uses the quiet moments in between the matches in order to do this, rather than scheduling in a random episodic adventure somewhere. A lot of stuff happened in this episode, and it immediately started with the message that the opposing team that the lead characters faced in the previous arc isn’t done yet.
In this episode it also becomes more than clear that Abe and Tajima are taking turns in dealing with Mihashi. There’s actually a tiny bit of development here: Abe is getting more and more relentless with Mihashi, so much that even the teammates are really noticing how much on Mihashi’s lip he’s sitting. His reaction after Mihashi suddenly asked whether or not he’s going to stop catching was the most over the top we’ve seen of him so far. There’s a bit of a danger here with the creators going over the top with that, however. Like, the creators using a gimmick that worked well in the first season to extremes in the second.
Oh, and we learn a bit more about the coach: she’s a 23-year old college student. It’s still a bit of a mystery how she became the coach, but there are more characters like that who have yet to reveal their backgrounds despite very obvious hints (I’m looking at you, Hamada). This episode also introduces… fangirls. The fandom was always a bit downplayed in this series: even though it was mentioned a few times, you can really see that the creators were focusing on what happened on the field. At this point those girls are still a bit too one-sided at this point.
Rating: * (Good)