Okay, I’m slowly beginning to learn these characters’ names, and King is the guy who desperately wants to land a job. As a result, it sounds like he’s been attending job fairs non-stop. When the other guys are busy running, he’s either applying to jobs or waiting nervously for good news to come his way. Unfortunately, the guy isn’t having much luck. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and if you don’t come already equipped with top qualifications, then you better go back to the drawing board. But y’know what? Maybe luck doesn’t have anything to do with it. Maybe, as they say, you gotta make your own luck. After all, it would be insane to do nothing and expect different results. Unfortunately, when you’re busy looking for a job, it’s easy to fall into that trap. It’s easy to think that you’re trying your hardest when, in actuality, you’re just allowing time to pass by without beefing up your resume at all. I don’t really agree with Haiji’s tactics, but now more than ever, King should embrace the opportunity to compete in the Hakone Ekiden rather than being dismissive. After all, what has he got to lose? More importantly, what’s more impressive than an amateur runner working their way to the very top of the sport? Effort is attractive, kids. A recent paper even supports this conclusion.
As for everything else that happened this week…
— The boys are impressed with Prince’s speech at the end of last week’s episode. Too bad you have to get him really riled up in order for the kid to stand his ground. Otherwise, he’s a non-presence.
— So this guy is Shindo, and he’s really embracing the opportunity to run. And to everyone’s shock, the guy has a girlfriend. Why would that be surprising, though? He seems like a nice guy. His good attitude is also contagious.
— Lawyer Dude is still being obstinate, but he spends most of this week’s episode haranguing the Programmer. We learn that the latter isn’t actually taking Haiji seriously despite his willingness to run. So why is he participating then? For his health, apparently. He even confesses near the end of the episode that running makes him feel clean. Yeah, clean. I guess I can see it. You get a ton of fresh air, you feel rejuvenated once you get your stamina up, the wind can make your sweat feel cool and refreshing, etc.
— As for Kakeru, he won’t come out and say it, but he seems to be onboard with the whole running thing. After all, when everyone turns to him, he merely mentions that he would like to become a better speaker one day. Hey, just the fact that he’s not complaining about them running is progress enough.
— But of course, Kakeru still has his concerns. For instance, he thinks it’s too soon for the group to compete in a track meet. He thinks it should take a few more months before they’re ready. I don’t think he wants his newfound friends to get discouraged. They’ll be up against athletes who have been training for years, not just a few weeks. And if you lose badly in front of a crowd, well, you might feel defeated. I get where he is coming from. After all, look at the boys’ times. They’ve got a lot of work cut out for them.
— Naturally, Haiji doesn’t agree. He argues that running isn’t just for the chosen ones, i.e. the elites. For him, the marathon isn’t a lofty dream where you can go, “Oh look, we didn’t make it, but at least we tried! And that’s all that matters!” No, for Haiji, the Hakone Ekiden is the be-all and end-all of this journey, so the amateurs may as well face reality now. Know what you’re up against, and thus what you need to do in order to bridge the gap. Well, that makes sense, but how much of this mentality is fueled by the fact that this is Haiji’s last chance at competing in the marathon? After all, you can’t stay in school forever.
— Anyways, the training program is going to ramp up even harder. Haiji isn’t content to just steal these guys’ mornings; they’re going to start practicing in the evenings as well. RIP social life.
— To nobody’s surprise, they don’t get a very good field to work with. But it’s just running, y’know? You don’t exactly need state-of-the-art training facilities in order to become a decent runner. Get some decent shoes, though.
— Haiji tells his boys that they can hurt themselves if they suddenly start running, but then he goes and orders them to start off with a one-hour run. Makes sense.
— And like previous episodes, Prince looks like a zombie once he has to physically exert himself.
— Unfortunately, stealing the guys’ evenings isn’t all that Haiji has in store for his team. At the end of the episode, he drops another bombshell on them: no one is allowed to work. That’s right, he will literally forbid them to work. He obviously had this in mind from the start. He just knew that it would’ve been a bad idea to be upfront about it. Imagine if Haiji had been honest right from the get-go: we’re going to jog 10km ever morning, jog more at night, and oh yeah, you can’t work. You’ll just have to depend on the allowance that we give you! Honesty might be the best policy, but not if you want to manipulate people.
— Needless to say, this pisses King off, so he storms off while people stare at him with their mouths agape. I dunno, I expected him to get really angry and yell at Haiji, but his reaction was actually pretty mild. Oh well, maybe something dramatic will happen in next week’s episode.