Kamisama no Memochou Ep09

After a marathon today of the last few episodes of this anime, I'm really hoping to finish it up. The Fall 2011 Season is already beginning; I don't want to drag too many Summer 2011 series into it just because of time constraints. Hurry, hurry~

This episode was a one-episode "filler" in the middle of arcs, although the end of it led quite obviously into the next one. It featured a "dog days of summer" setting, with Narumi, Tetsu and Shosha addicted to a new video game (PPB, Power Play Ball, an online baseball game) at the local arcade. The plot began when Nemo and his gang showed up, wanting to raise the rent on the building (apparently because they wanted to repossess the building for a pachinko parlour, though it might just have been hysterical accusations because, being yakuza, they really could just take the place back whenever they wanted). Shosha, adamant that the arcade not be destroyed, confronted Nemo; due to the young man's vigour, Nemo suggested that they bet everything on a match between the two sides. When Shosha said baseball, he meant PPB, but Nemo took it to be a real match, thus beginning the conundrum.

What an idol-like entrance.

Baseball is one of those few sports that I actually know the rules for, due to the Toronto Blue Jays being pretty big in my childhood (before they got so crappy, but that's another story). With each team requiring 9 members, the NEETs were suddenly pressed to get together a full team. The set-up ended up consisting of Tetsu, Shosha, Hiro, Master, Ayaka, Meo, Yondaime, and two men from the Hirasaka Group. (Ayaka, while claiming that she needed to be left out due to a lack of knowledge in the sport, was spotted later running to home plate, so...) Alice, while complaining at first due to being called down to the storefront, agreed to help them to victory on the condition that she be the team's coach, with Narumi as her assistant.

There's just something really warm with this.

The montage of training that followed was covered with Narumi's voice-over. It was in this scene that I made the connection between Hison owning a fabric store and Yondaime being good at sewing. I wonder if these two things have anything to do with each other? It was Renji that seemed to love Hison a lot more earnestly (and in the "I must have you" way), but there seems to be some kind of connection between Yondaime and Hison. I'm not saying they're romantically involved (there'd be a lot of BL connotations in that situation that I don't feel the need to bring up); just wondering what's going on.

Don't they hurt, with all that movement?

The training montage was ended with Alice chastising Narumi for not being able to get through to the  two members that Yondaime had brought in; they were only able to grasp two really simple signals after a lot of work from Narumi. That was only the prelude; Alice revealed that her research showed that Nemo's team was comprised of some pretty big players - including Nemo himself, who had been an ace pitcher 30 years ago whose team even made it to Koshien. (Thank you, Touch; even though I didn't watch you, I still know what Koshien is.)

So you turned to the criminal life? Ha...

When Nemo seemed pretty angry at Narumi bringing up his high school history, I had a terrible feeling that perhaps the story would end up with the NEETs losing, but they had taken the game so seriously that they managed to get through to the burly yakuza. I really wouldn't have liked such a storyline. Luckily, it didn't happen that way, so no characters were really desecrated. The encounter with Nemo only served to amp up his side while Narumi worried about their situation even more.

Those are really special teddy bears.

On the day of the match, Yondaime's pitching kept the other team at bay, except for the lone point scored each inning by Nemo (if any). The NEETs' points came from pretty random occurrences - a bunt from Tetsu allowed Master to make it through some bases mostly due to the other team's epic ogling of her epic breasts. Alice continued to be quite worried about the fact that they didn't have any data on Nemo, which would undoubtedly prove to be their downfall. Narumi suddenly had a flash of ingenuity and realized that PPB contained the stats of countless players, pro and non-pro, through its player input system.

That actually looks rather painful.

Meanwhile, Yondaime was quickly approaching his limit, considering he had only recently been severely injured and sent to the hospital. He was obviously the MVP, given that he pitched some solid balls. Alice revealed that Yondaime had really not been in the condition to play at all, but she knew she wouldn't be able to stop him. She seemed very visibly concerned about the entire situation and, surprisingly enough, ventured out of the car (where she had set up a mini-fort) as a pinch-hitter in order to secure a run for the NEETs.


The idea was that, being a much smaller player than Nemo would be used to, the zone was considerably reduced and so Nemo wouldn't be able to use all of his various throws on her. I was considerably confused as to what happened, though. She swung for the last throw, which meant that it was her third strike. However, she chastised Nemo and the umpire (Meo's father) for calling it wrong, all the while walking towards first base. She ran to second base with a desperate chase from Nemo, who failed to stop her. I think it has something to do with the fact that the ball wasn't actually caught by the catcher? I'm still pretty confused.

His career path is already decided.

Alice depended on Narumi to make do with the situation she had provided him, as the next batter. Nemo's 21st pitch was the game decider (thus, the title of the episode), and Narumi knew exactly what kind of ball it would be. His hit allowed two runners to get to home base, thus allowing the NEETs to win with one extra run. Nemo, startled that Narumi had known exactly what kind of patterns to expect, was even more shocked to hear that his stats were indeed in the PPB database. Someone at some time had been watching Nemo pitching during his Koshien days and had recalled that data for the knowledge base.

I didn't know you could link into an arcade game online.

The episode ended with the boys playing PPB at the arcade again (since Nemo had not increased the rent), where Shosha was losing consistently to an online player. Based on the extremely cute costumes, Narumi inferred that it was Alice, who obviously had become quite engrossed with something. I was pleased to see some character growth for her; she feels a lot more involved these days, leading to her leaving her "safe places". The last line of the episode led quite clearly into the final arc - Ayaka's brother had showed up at the arcade.

Girls are scary and intrusive.

I'm going into the final arc with a lot of expectations. Every episode since Meo's arc has been pretty good, and this current development with Alice working out her agoraphobic mentality is very nice to see. I think the subject matter of this final arc will matter less to me than how the characters are portrayed, so there's ample room for the anime to please me as it exits.