The school sports festival is upon us, and unlike the rinky-dink ones depicted in other anime, the one in Gaworare is serious business that is more akin to the Olympics. Thus, this is the best sports anime this season. Sorry, Ping Pong, Haikyuu, and Baby Steps
The stakes of the festival are clear. To avoid expulsion, Souta and his team must claim the MVP award (which really should be called the Most Valuable Team award), which is given to the team with the most points in the end. Points are awarded for winning events, as well as for “excellent teamwork.”
Speaking of those events, let’s take a look at the schedule.
Team Souta is able to take an early lead with victories in key events, including Nanami’s triumph in the Princess Walking Race. My suspicion is that it was a walkover, since no other people were seen taking part in the race. When one of the requirements to take part is being an actual princess, I don’t think you’ll find that many qualified individuals. Aside from being a silly gag, it might be a reference to the early days of organized sports in the 1800s, when most amateur athletes had well-to-do backgrounds that allowed them to make the time and financial commitment to sports, though I might be giving Gaworare more credit than it deserves.
Ruri wins the open-weight cat gathering contest by using her robot abilities, which somehow isn’t considered cheating. Souta also does well in his event, the penalty kick event, despite using questionable methods like Ruri. His ability to see flags allows him to predict the kicks and block them. I’d complain about his lack of sportsmanship, but you do what you must to avoid getting kicked out of school.
With the end of the first day of competition, Souta and friends head back to their dorm in first place. With more events to come, they can’t rest on their laurels though. Training camps must be held!
Like a good amount of the show’s audience, Souta had forgotten about the death flag on his head. He remembers it at the worst possible time, and his anxiety over it causes him to lose in the final of the penalty kick contest. With only one day of competition left, his team has dropped to eighth place.
Out of all the characters, the robot is the only one to notice Souta’s change in attitude and confronts him about it. In another weird tone shift, Souta tells Ruri that he will die soon and that he can’t do anything to prevent it. In his mind, the best thing to do is to leave the school to prevent his friends from feeling sad when he dies.
Souta then remembers the mysterious letter he got and somehow makes the connection between the roles listed on it and his friends. This realization causes Ruri to access some hidden information, and she reveals that there exists a mysterious individual that can topple Souta’s death flag.
Souta wants to learn more about this, so Ruri sends him to a parallel world where the residents of Quest (oh, I get it) Hall are generic RPG characters that find a secret door underneath the dorm that hides the “truth” that Souta is seeking. Being able to share this information with Souta was such an important bonding moment for Ruri that she sprouts a friendship flag on her head.
Pixels = video game = software = technology = robot.
As interesting as this is, we have a sports festival to get back to. The last event is the obstacle course relay, and a victory here would allow Souta’s team to secure the MVP award. His pre-race words of encouragement raised victory flags on his teammates’ heads and they have a commanding lead going into the anchor leg being run by Souta and Nanami. Though they easily complete the ice-carrying segment, Nanami is injured with just a short sprint to go.
In a last ditch measure, Souta picks up Nanami and makes a furious charge for the finish. He appears to cross the line at the same time as another team, but a photo review reveals that Souta finished second. Fortunately, the judges were so moved by his team’s camaraderie that they award them enough teamwork points to push them to first place over the baseball players, who clearly don’t know anything about playing as a team.
As they celebrate their victory, a mysterious girl wearing a rejected Code Geass outfit observes Souta, cryptically remarking “So, it’s him.” Though it’s meant to be ominous, I am more interested if she’ll last an entire episode before joining the harem.
Aside from the weird middle segment with Ruri and Souta, this episode was okay. I wished that they could have used more of the weird sport events for humor. Teasing a cat-gathering contest and then only showing a few seconds of it was disappointing. The appearance of the mysterious girl was a good hook for the next episode, so I’ll see what happens with that next week.