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Knight In The Area Episode #09 Anime Review

5 min read

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all and so the combined team heads out to Shizuoka for their training camp. Coach Iwaki has some plans in store to put the team through its paces. But Nana will have to miss some of that fun, since she is needed elsewhere.

What They Say:
“Panic at the Training Camp?!”

The 64 members of the Enoshima Soccer club are on a training camp in Shizuoka. During the camp, Seven leaves to play in an exhibition match against the Miami Hurricanes and pulls off some amazing plays. At the end of their training, a test of courage is performed with the winner receiving a special gift.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, it’s training camp time for the Enoshima team, but that’s not the highlight of this episode. For while the boys are at their training camp, Nana goes off to play with Nadeshiko Japan in an international friendly against an American team, the Miami Hurricanes.

Of course, Nana turns out to be an amazing player, and the girls need her help, as they find themselves down by two goals at the half. Nana comes in and immediately scores to shift the momentum. Then, she helps the team’s leading player, Taeko Ishiki, score the equalizer. After that play, the Americans’ lead player recognizes Nana as a player who made a sudden splash in the States for one game, before disappearing. In the end, Nana scores the winning goal, so Japan wins against America (yes, the usual pipe dream).

So, with the excitement over, it’s time to get back to the Enoshima training camp. It’s the usual assortment of set piece plays there. A practice match against another team where Enoshima surprises them. The usual stale comedic staples of training camp follow: Araki trying to pig out while Nana does everything possible to prevent him from overeating; the boys try to spy on the girls, specifically Nana, in the women’s bath, but it’s Oda, who was trying to break it up, who gets caught by Nana and declared a pervert; and then, of course, the test of courage.

So, the team is broken up into small squads and sent into a creepy shrine on a hillside, in order to look for a mystery lantern. The person who finds the lantern may become a great soccer player. Kakeru, however, is not much in the courage department, so he is very frightened by the whole thing. While Oda initially finds the lantern, it winds up being Kakeru (running away from fake ghosts) who gets the thing in the end. And perhaps he gets something else in the end too.

Things pass by pretty quickly in this episode, though there is a slight imbalance here. The first half, with the Nadeshiko Japan game, is far more exciting than the cliche-ridden, utterly predictable second half at the training camp. To be honest, one wonders if the “Nana Mishima Plays For Japan” show might have been far more interesting by itself than Knight in the Area is. But considering the rampant chauvinism on display (one only needs to look at the behavior of the TV color commentator at the women’s game; while the play-by-play man maintains his professionalism, the color commentator leaves off providing any informed commentary and merely burbles on about how cute Nana is. And then there is the “let’s peek at the pretty girl in the bath” scene, complete with fanservice), it comes as little surprise that Nana would not get her own show (yes, I am fully aware this is an adaptation from a manga, but that does not mean a show focused on Nana would have not been possible). Instead, Nana must be strait-jacketed into her slot as a nadeshiko, a proper young Japanese lady who does everything elegantly, effortlessly and most of all without complaining. Even though she is a star on a national team, she still finds the time to attend the Enoshima training camp and play out the part of team manager, serving food to the men and cleaning up after their messes.

There is also the usual stereotyping of the Americans, as the Miami Hurricanes are presented as menacing and overly physical brutes, without skill or finesse. I think most American female players would want to lodge an objection or two.

These drawbacks aside, the writers do continue to keep things going at a decent pace. And even though we are stuck with the usual training camp cliches, at least they are not drawn out too long to the point where they become tiresome. So, the show continues to move along well, and hopefully, we will see something more imaginative the next time around.

In Summary:
Nana Mishima, “Seven,” goes off to play in her own match, as the Nadeshiko Japan team plays a friendly match against an American team. The ladies of Japan were down in the first half, but Nana’s appearance sparks an unlikely comeback. After the match, she rushes back to the Enoshima training camp which is being held in Shizuoka. How does one follow up scoring two goals and making a crucial assist? I guess by following around a glutton and preventing him from eating too much. The first half is really rather exciting, as we see Nana shine. The second half is not quite so entertaining, as it draws too much upon the regular canon of events that we find at team training camps. Hopefully the writers will do something to make the training camp a little more interesting next episode.

Grade: B

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Streamed by: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard