Moshidara concludes its first week with probably the two most interesting episodes to date. The subject of both episodes was more or less innovation, one of the key elements of Drucker's management theories.
For starters, Nikai - the glasses-boy who always shows up for practice but isn't very good - decides to finally pack in it as a player and join the management team. This is a bit of a shock to his teammates but ultimately, he proves quite useful. The first big change is the kind of symbiotic relationship he and the other managers form with the other clubs at school. They get to eat the Home Ec food in exchange for critiquing it. They do joint practices with the track club and get some instruction on running technique. For being the first ones to ever ask the mediocre brass band to play at their events, they get a cheering squad. It's an interesting idea, and I wonder if it happens in schools here and there.
Even more interesting is when Minami asks the coach to apply innovation to the game itself. He mentions something called "Free baseball" that was started by a coach in Ibaraki, where the players were allowed to have fun and be themselves during games, and won the Koshien. If such a thing happened I could find no mention of it via Google, and I checked as it's a particular curiosity of mine. When I attended a Spring Koshien game a few weeks ago I was certainly struck by the fundamental soundness of the play - but there was a joyless quality to it that I found depressing. It seems unnatural for 16 and 17 year-old boys to play baseball without any celebration, high-fives, etc. - but it just isn't part of the HS game in Japan. If that coach in Ibaraki really did what he said, good for him.
Hodo's coach has his own way to try and reinvent the game - the "no balls, no bunt" strategy". The idea is to throw nothing but strikes to pitch to contact and minimize the pitch count, and always swing away at bat. It's an interesting idea, though the early returns aren't so good as Hodo loses 35-2. Of course that's against a college team - I felt sorry for the little guys going against those hulking collegians - but the idea of playing a vastly superior opponent makes sense. How good will a HS pitcher look after facing that?
The character stuff going on here is still pretty much going through the motions. Yunosuke may or may not have a thing fr Yuki. Yuki finally has her surgery. And via an outing with Jil a little of Minami's past and why she now hates baseball is revealed. It's clearly not the priority for this series to tell character stories, and it really shows - but at this point I may as well accept it because that's just how it's going to be. At least the baseball stuff was interesting this time around.