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All Out!!
Episode 6

by Anne Lauenroth,

How would you rate episode 6 of
All Out!! ?
Community score: 3.9

All Out!!'s Golden Week training camp continues, and although Komori clearly enjoys "putting some kids through the wringer", he might not have envisioned this retirement activity becoming so much of an investment.

Winning or losing never mattered to Jinko's previous third-years, and apart from Sekizan, no one in the rugby club ever dreamed bigger than not losing to Keijo quite as spectacularly as the year before. When asked about their goals, Sekizan is almost apologetic about the idea of going to nationals. He dreams in earnest, while the rest of his team is stuck in compromise.

But Sekizan isn't the only one for whom rugby is more than a hobby. This is Ebumi's episode, and while it briefly tries to sow seeds of distrust in light of his suspicious behavior, Ebumi's previous actions hinted pretty clearly at the reason he refused to show up for training before there was actual training. His anger management problems and disrespectful attitude lead to constant head butting with some of his less dedicated second-years. Like Gion, Ebumi is a brawler, but where Gion's anger comes from feelings of inferiority combined with a short temper, Ebumi is a tad more on the delinquent end of the spectrum. Rugby offered him an outlet to run free without risking expulsion. Where Sekizan found a dream, Ebumi found purpose. And what purpose is there in a fight you don't intend to win?

Yasuharu Takanashi's fantastic score shines particularly during Ebumi's scenes. The crying electric guitar accompanying the rebel's secret nightly training session is replaced by a melancholic piano to let Ebumi reminisce about the time he joined the club. When a second string voice joins the previously lonely part to celebrate Ebumi's flashback try after a very effective key frame montage, the heightened-because-it's-shared joy of a rugby team's "lawful brawling" becomes emotionally tangible. Ebumi might resent the idea of being compared to the heartwarming image of a mud-covered Sekizan crying over a loss while everyone around him just smiled it off, but he's still in this to win, no matter how much effort he spends pretending not to care. With All Out!!'s facial animation allowing for around three emotional states per character (in Ebumi's case, these range from irritated to angry to totally pissed off), it's hard to deduct what he is feeling exactly, but the idea of brawling at a national level certainly has great appeal.

This brings us to Hanazono, the stadium where the national rugby tournament takes place in December, leaving Jinko around eight months to go all out and find the determination worthy of a shonen sports anime. Of course, Gion is already there. He might not be able to catch a ball from farther than 3 feet away, nor has he ever heard of Hanazono before, but his naïveté makes it easier for him to ask Coach what it will take. To Gion, going to nationals is just as real as running ten more laps around the school.

Several humorous moments let the episode fly by quickly, like the series' constant awareness of how distant a third most popular sport rugby is after soccer and baseball. From clueless Gion's ability to remember the importance of Koshien (Hanazono's baseball equivalent) over the name of his own sport's stadium to some classmates having to be part of the soccer club by rule of elimination (only the soccer club could afford going to Hawaii for Golden Week), there was a lot of fun to be had.

Gion running around so frenetically that he made the virtual camera shake was another standout moment, but the cake goes to Sekizan's night attire matching his hairstyle. All Out!! continues to be an engaging and entertaining example of its genre.

Rating: B

All Out!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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