How would you rate episode 7 of
All Out!! ?
All Out!!‘s training camp couldn’t have concluded without putting the last remaining piece into the team puzzle, by giving Gion the motivation to actually start playing rugby and become part of Jinko’s rugby club. Over the past weeks, our main character had stepped out of the spotlight to leave room for establishing his fellow team members. He also needed the time to get some basic physical training under his belt before it made sense to pick up his story.
From the beginning, rugby has always been a means to an end for Gion. He didn’t join the club because the sport as a whole appealed to him, he was just looking for a chance to get back at the big guys who harassed him throughout his life. Given that it’s only been a month since he started training, he’s got pretty good at bringing guys twice his size to their knees, giving him a sense of accomplishment and value. But tackling isn’t playing rugby when its only goal is to work off your own frustration at the unfairness of the world. For Gion, life is about getting back at the people who wronged or humiliated him, be it Ebumi calling him trash, the members of previous clubs ridiculing him for his height, or life in general for not granting him a few more inches.
When Coach lets him start off an intrasquad game to show him how much he is lacking, Gion celebrates his successful tackle instead of using his play to score for the team. When he sees the chance to take down an opponent, he goes for it, even if that means crashing into his own teammate on the way. Because Gion never bothered to learn how to catch and throw the ball, he becomes the reason for his team’s loss.
So why does it still hit home so painfully when Coach calls him selfish?
Gion wasn’t always this bitter. Originally, he was just a slightly bratty kid no one ever wanted to play with, from his own brother to the senior team members of all the clubs he tried to join. Given the 6-year age difference, I’d say refusing to play with a little kid is a rather average reaction on the part of Gion’s big brother. However, the curse of being the unwanted little one has followed Gion all his life. He might call his teammates “brothers”, but he still can’t realize that these are the kind of big brothers who actually do want to play with him, short and bratty though he may be. While Gion tackles his own inferiority complex and secretly wants them to cheer for him, he almost misses out on the chance of his life. He has become so used to being rejected for his height that he began to attribute every failure at making friends to something that didn’t get in the way for people like Iwashimizu’s buddy Miyuki over at Keijo. Being short has changed from a handicap to Gion’s excuse for being selfish and obnoxious.
Luckily, Japanese high schools come with rooftops to ponder over important life lessons, and luckily, Iwashimizu has already been released from his guilt trip after Gion accidentally made him feel part of team Jinko, which is somewhat funny given that Gion had yet to become a member himself. With Iwashimizu there to reinforce Coach’s lesson, Gion can turn his frustration into much more productive dedication, with Iwashimizu once again ready to have his back against Ebumi to make sure that delicate little bud of newfound team spirit doesn’t get snuffed out before it can blossom. Of course, rugby players are much too manly to hug outside of scrums, so all Iwashimizu gets for being a really good friend is a handful of dust in his eyes.
With Sekizan getting someone to look up to, Ebumi working to channel his aggression, and Gion getting a bit closer to trading self-consciousness for self-awareness, training camp ends with Jinko more or less ready to face the future as a team. Without having read the manga, my main fear at this point is entering the tournament phase too quickly, with not enough emotional meat underneath those tight rugby shirts to support drawn-out games that will need more than this not-so-exciting animation to stay engaging. The animation was already stretched to almost comical effect this week, with long panning shots that saw every third character give a little shrug the moment the camera panned past them while the rest of the team was caught in permanent freeze frame.
Needless to say, Coach still gets his own dramatic speedlines even when he’s not even moving. He’s just that cool.
All Out!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.