• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

"Ippon" Again!
Episode 12

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 12 of
"Ippon" Again! ?
Community score: 4.1

©Yuu Muraoka (AKITASHOTEN)/Ippon again! Production Committee

I know a lot of people who, while they have never enjoyed spectating actual sports, absolutely love movies and shows about sports. A big part of that is how a planned-out, fully constructed narrative can have the sort of satisfaction that isn't guaranteed in real events. In real life, it doesn't matter who has the more sympathetic backstory or the strongest bond of friendships with their teammates. If your opponent is better than you and doesn't mess up, it's really, really hard to win. It's a harsh reality and rarely lends itself to poetic moments, but sometimes that's just how it is.

Such are the cold, hard facts of West Aoba's match with Tachikawa Academy. Michi might be full of spirit, but she's also been performing well above her usual skill level for this tournament, and eventually, she was going to hit a wall. It's disappointing, for sure, especially because she's not taken out by a hold or throw, but by essentially being forced into submission, just for that extra bit of bitter aftertaste. Though the loss that really stings is Sanae's. Seeing her so determined to prove herself, and to show Michi it was okay to trust her, only to get stomped before she really has a chance to fight. It's just the right amount of cruel narrative indifference and paired with Odagiri's overconfidence, it creates an intoxicating desire to see somebody, anybody taking her down.

Unfortunately that somebody isn't Himeno, who hits her own wall. She might have kept up with some light exercise during her time out of the game, but half a year away from continuous training can build up a lot of rust on your gear. Even with a size and experience advantage, even with a highly motivating flashback right before her match, conditioning is its own realm of training for a good reason. She did an admirable amount of work to catch up and does a great job pressing Odagiri, but sometimes you can empty the tank and still come up short. It's another heartbreaking loss in an episode full of them and had me absolutely fuming.

Which made it that much cooler when Hiura finally got her moment to shine. As the team's anchor, she's been pretty quiet during this tournament, but now it's up to her to sweep one of the strongest teams in the nation. I have my doubts about that happening, but seeing her confidently strides into the ring and put Odagiri down was too satisfying for me to entertain any doubts. It's not just that she won, thereby getting some payback for her teammates, but that she takes down an opponent who spent the entire match looking past them. Odagiri's not a total jerk, but she was just cocky and disrespectful enough that watching her lose makes you grip your hand into a fist and say “yeahhhhhh.” It's also the perfect moment for Hiura's Resting Villain Face to return, making her opponent swear vengeance entirely by accident. Aoba West's timid ace is well on her way to becoming one of the great Sports Anime Dream Crushers, entirely by accident.

In all, it makes for a roller coaster of an episode, seeing our beloved heroines experience the triumphs and defeats—the epic highs and lows—of high school judo. We've got our finale next week, and the show is playing extremely coy about the outcome considering it didn't show a shred of new footage in the next episode preview. As I said, I have a lot of doubts about Hiura being able to take down an entire team by herself, no matter how good she is, but it's to the show's credit that I desperately want to see it happen.


"Ippon" Again! is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

discuss this in the forum (20 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to "Ippon" Again!
Episode Review homepage / archives