All Out!!
Episode 9

by Anne Lauenroth,

How would you rate episode 9 of
All Out!! ?
Community score: 4.1

After a humiliating start, Jinko makes a brief but satisfying comeback against Sagami, thanks to the force of nature that is Ebumi. Their success is short-lived though, and by the end of the first half, our underdogs have fallen behind without much chance left at victory. But Sagami's lead isn't enough to get Coach anywhere close to fretting. He knows this game isn't about Jinko beating a superior opponent – it's way too early for that in terms of both training and plot. The mended rugby team of Kanagawa High School still has a lot to learn, and that's exactly what they should use this game for. They might lose, but now they can do so with their heads held high, and with victory in a future rematch no longer out of sight.

They aren't the only ones to have a lot to learn today. Sagami's players, some of whom didn't even find it necessary to tighten the straps of their helmets at the start of the game, have their arrogance tackled out of them through Jinko's Rocky-esque refusal to bow down. With no time and energy left for more psychological sneering in the game's second half, Sagami's attitude gradually shifts from conceit to irritation, before Sekizan teaches them true respect by scaring the bejesus out of everyone not named Komori.

Having spent most of the game suspiciously off-screen, Jinko's captain gets to make his awesome bloody return to the spotlight by letting himself get kicked in the face to take the ball from Sagami. His willingness to risk major injury (which would almost certainly have occurred in real life) and his equally major underreaction ("I'll be right back") boosts his team's courage and motivation to unknown levels, clearly showing why Sekizan is the boss, captain, and heart of Jinko. It probably doesn't hurt that he can channel epic battle music. Plowing through the field from the back, Sekizan might be close to fainting from exhaustion, but he's happier than he's ever been. All he wanted was a chance, and he won't let a little concussion get in the way of seizing the moment when it was finally given to him.

Against such unrelenting dedication, Yoshida's gleeful resentment is rather sickening to watch. He isn't so much disinterested as he is outright spiteful, prompting Komori to suspect bigger issues, which we then see unfold and resolve themselves. The reveal of Komori once having been invested in the rugby team only to be ignored and rejected was handled as well as these things can go without getting overly dramatic. On the one hand, Komori's frustration and ill will are understandable. He tried his best to care when no one else did. On the other hand, he's still an educator with a professional responsibility who almost took away his students' chance at fighting for their youthful dreams. After giving up on the previous rugby team out of disillusion and personal disappointment, he forgot how fleeting the impressionable years of high school are and how quickly it becomes too late. Seeing Sekizan and friends prove him wrong for closing his heart to them, he looks rightfully ashamed. The fact that his initial dedication lingered on in the form of his rugby books long after he had left was both ironic and sweet. In a way, he had never truly left for good, and even though it may have been small, his contribution to Sekizan holding the fort as long as he did wasn't insignificant. At least I can see and acknowledge this as All Out!!'s attempt to justify his failure as a teacher, while I'm still unwilling to cut him slack for his immature behavior.

In the end, Jinko might not yet have scored their first victory, but they won their opponents and adviser's respect, Gion was actually likable, every rugby team needs a female team manager, and I'm still invested enough to anticipate seeing them surpass their opponents on the field for the first time.

Before that, we'll probably have to deal with the Ōharano situation.

Rating: B-

All Out!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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