"Blue Grow" is the one hundredth and eleven chapter in Ahiru no Sora.
The school’s mid-term exams are about to start. Madoka’s classroom instructor reviews the course material and requests all the students to take notes adequately. Otherwise, they will struggle in the forthcoming mid-term exam. The instructor reviews the course content from the beginning. In between the course review session, Madoka’s colleague asks if any of the guys from Tamagawa High contacted her. Madoka replies, none of them phone-called. Her friend questions that didn’t you also gave them your email address. Madoka responds that she did provide her email address. However, nothing happened, and she already knew none of them would contact her because she had met with them once. Afterwards, Madoka from her classroom looks at the sky and gives her opinion that she thought the misfortune their boys’ basketball team experienced would have eased down by now. However, that wasn’t the case. The school’s mid-term exams are about to commence, and due to that, she doesn’t have any time to think about other stuff.
After the conclusion of the class, Madoka meets her best friend Youko and asks if she is available to have lunch with her. Youko refuses and states that their girls’ team must submit the filled-out written forms for their upcoming training camp before summer vacation. Madoka asks their team has a training camp. Youko replies their team has a match in September, and it is essential for the team’s Captain and Vice-Captain to submit the training camp forms. Madoka and Youko submit the filled-out documents and then have lunch together. While eating lunch on the school’s staircase, Madoka states that it will be nice warm weather in the summer. Youko agrees and replies that last week she watched the prefecture prelims on television. The skill level of each high school team was extraordinary. Hence, this made her realize that their school Kuzuryu High is mediocre and ordinary. After finishing their lunch, both Madoka and Youko express their desire to eat ice cream.
Meanwhile, at the school’s rooftop, Sora and his teammates watch the recorded highlights of the match between Yokohama Taiei High and Shinmaruko High. Upon witnessing the exceptional skill level of both teams, Yasuhara, Nabe and Masahiro go in a state of shock. They apologize to their teammates that they’re ordinary high school students. Their team already lost to Shinmaruko High, Kitasumi High and Shinjo Towa Academy. Yokohama Taiei High is an exceptional team, and there is no way their club will attain victory against them. Sora disagrees with his teammate's opinions and encourages them not to give up before even trying. Kaname agrees and provides his assessment that Yokohama Taiei High, contrary to their skill level, isn’t united. Nao agrees with Kaname’s assertion, and something feels out of place for Yokohama Taiei High’s team. Through her video camera, Nao shows that Shiraishi’s team is a bit slow getting into a box-out formation, and they go after retrieving the loose ball at the very last moment. Nao then changes her opinion that she might be overthinking, and the mistakes she pointed out of Shiraishi’s team are not very significant. However, these cracks or flaws in Yokohama Taiei High’s teamwork can be advantageous for their team. Kenji disagrees that she is a bit little too arrogant. Nao replies the actions you make on the court and how we employ those moves will be crucial in this match. Nao further states that she would like to do a rearrangement of all the positions on their team. Nao agrees with Sora’s advice that even if Kaname’s playtime is limited, their team has the height advantage inside the paint area. Nao encourages her squad not to let this height advantage pass by. When Kaname joins the match, Chiaki will become the small forward, and when substituted, Yasuhara will attain the small forward position. Momoharu’s and Kenji’s positions will remain the same. Sora will be the team’s point guard and Kenji as the shooting guard. Nao then asks Kenji that does he agrees with her opinion. Kenji responds changing one’s playstyle isn’t easy, and if it were that simple, he would have adapted to it. Kenji then agrees with his manager’s opinion and says if that is what she requests, he will assume the position of the shooting guard.
Yasuhara states that he isn’t the right person on their team to judge, and according to him, Kenji is a suitable forward on their team. Kaname acknowledges his friend’s assessment. Nao continues her analysis of the upcoming practice match and articulates their team’s ace Kenji’s playstyle, and his role will be an essential factor in the game. Upon hearing, Nabe feels a bit dishearted because Kaname requested him to adapt to the role of a shooting guard, which will make him an essential member of their team. Nabe then expresses his disagreement that he assumed he was the key to their victory. Chiaki, Masahiro and Yasuhara are speechless and surprised by Nabe’s judgment. Afterwards, Nabe feels sad and depressed that he will not have the opportunity to compete. Yasuhara comforts his good friend and requests his colleagues to be nice because Nabe is an essential member of their team, and each person has feelings.
Nao continues her assessment of the forthcoming practice match and points out that Chiaki’s wide field of vision will help attain points inside the paint area. The match's outcome depends on how well Sora assumes the role of the point guard. Stamina will be a crucial factor, and their team’s substitute members are essential as well. Nao encourages her Captain Momoharu to give his best effort because his support is vital to the team out of all the members. Upon concluding, Nao states that chances of victory are never equal. However, it isn’t zero either, and she is confident that their team can pull off a miracle in this match. Due to the upcoming mid-term exams next week, the school’s faculty members and teachers decided that there would be no sports practice sessions. However, Sora head to his school’s gym and stares at the basketball hoop. Hence, due to the forthcoming practice match, Sora decides to do some practice at the court and afterwards will ask his manager Nao to tutor him for the mid-term exam. Sora attempts to shoot a mid-range jump shot, and it misses. On seeing his futile attempt, Sora says that he was confident by using his regular shooting style, he would have scored. Sora then recalls the moment of the match between Yokohama Taiei High and Shinmaruko High. On witnessing Shiraishi’s exceptional abilities, he provides his opinion that for esteemed stature players like him, having the skill set to shoot and score self-assuredly is a must-have ability in their arsenal. Sora then encourages himself, similar to Shiraishi; he wants to become an athlete who strengthens his teammates.
Sora then changes his shooting motion and tries to mimic Tarou’s stop and shoot jump shot. He fails miserably and exhaustingly falls to the ground. Sora critiques himself and feels confused as to why isn’t he able to score. The soccer team’s coach sees the lights are on at the gym. He furiously opens the door, sees a fatigued Sora and scolds him. While heading towards his residence, Sora is amazed at Tarou’s speed and scoring abilities. Due to Tarou’s uneven form, Sora wonders how he manages to score. Sora then decides to pay a friendly visit to Kitasumi High. Sora unannounced opens the gymnasium door and requests Tarou to teach him the stop and shoot jump shot. Tarou refuses. He kicks Sora in the face, demands him to leave and viciously slams the gym's door. Sora again requests Tarou to open the door and teach him. Tarou refuses again.
Sora teases Tarou by sobbing and saying his manager’s name. Tarou opens the gym's door and asks what happened to Nao? Tarou then changes his mind and tries to listen to what Sora has to say. Sora explains about his inconsistent shooting form to him and his recent visit to watching Taiei High’s finals game. Tarou replies Nao emails him almost every day, he knows about their forthcoming practice match against Taiei High, and he was with her cousin yesterday. All three assertions by Tarou are lies. A bruised-up Sora sits by the front staircase of the gym. Tarou questions Sora about why he is at his school and encourages him to go to his institute and improve his shooting form. Sora requests Tarou again to teach him his stop and shoot jump shot.
Tarou bluntly refuses. Sora requests again. Tarou responds that he is a foolish person, and he shares an interesting quote that a ramen chef never gives out the secret of his soup to anyone. Sora becomes confused and answers that he is no chef. Tarou replies he is talking figuratively. Sora requests to speak to him in terms of basketball. Tarou becomes annoyed and says that he hates dealing with hardhead and stubborn guys. Koga intervenes in their conversation and asks Sora why he is here? Koga notices Sora’s confused expression and tries to confirm that he came to their school to learn Tarou’s stop and shoot jump shot. Sora agrees and approves that he came to their institution for that specific purpose. Koga requests his pupils to be quiet and pause their practice session. Koga explains to Sora that the stop and shoot jump shot is Tarou’s ultimate scoring technique. His apprentice always had superior speed and sense. Tarou learned this specific style to help him attain points, especially inside the paint area, and he has been using this method since a young age.
Koga advises Sora that he can attempt to mimic Tarou’s scoring technique. However, mastering a style or method is not something one can learn or accomplish in a day or so. It requires constant practice and dedication. Sora agrees and replies that he can understand his perception and he is eager to learn this technique. This time especially, his team cannot afford to lose. Sora again requests Tarou to teach him his scoring method. Tarou ingenuously refuses and tries to explain to Sora that he created this scoring technique for himself alone. Your own attained skills are something one cannot just hand it over to someone. Tarou then shares his exciting quote. “My skills are mine and mine alone. Nobody can do them but me.” Upon hearing, an annoyed Sora stares at him. Tarou bluntly requests Sora to leave their gymnasium. Koga intervenes in their conversation and tries to explain to Sora that what his apprentice said wasn’t baseless. Koga then sympathizes with Sora that his team Kuzuryu High doesn’t have a coaching instructor. The reason Tarou was so candid is that he has accepted him as his potential rival. Showing no mercy to your opponent is giving respect to your rival. Koga urges Sora that it is late night and he should head home and the following day try attempting to practice Tarou’s shooting style.
Sora graciously thanks Koga for the kind pieces of advice and leaves Kitasumi High. Tarou notices Sora’s unhappy expression, feels sympathetic for him and informs his teammates that it is time for his self-practice session. Tarou then requests his best friend Katori to assist him in training. Katori refuses that he has to study for his upcoming exams. After his best friend's refusal, Tarou asks Konishi to help him in practice. Like Katori, he refuses and responds that he performed poorly on his mid-term exam and has to study seriously. Upon hearing, Katori then requests all the first-year members on his team to stay behind and assist his friend Tarou in the practice session. While exiting the gymnasium, Katori notices that Sora is still in their school’s vicinity and requests him to stay behind and watch Tarou and his teammates as they conduct their training routine. Tarou efficiently does his signature dash jump shot and effortlessly scores the point. Sora sneakingly observes their practice session, becomes amazed at his adversary's skillset and comments that he can fathom Tarou’s greatness by witnessing it again. Sora then compares Tarou’s unique form with Shiraishi’s shooting form. Sora shares his opinion that Shiraishi’s form is elegant or graceful, and Tarou’s form is sophisticatedly all over the place. No matter what type of form Tarou has, he gets in his shooting motion as early as possible. Sora then realizes Tarou’s words that “My skills are mine and mine alone. Nobody can do them but me.”
Everyone in the gymnasium becomes amazed by their ace skillset. On noticing their odd or confused expression, Tarou questions them and says, what is with that look? A dishearted Sora heads towards his residence. On realizing his shortcomings, Sora gives his viewpoint that it takes about a second to shoot for an average person. But for him, that is not even possible. His adversary Tarou realizes his shortcomings and uses his short stature to his advantage. Sora is confident that on a 1-on-1 confrontation with Tokiwa, his rival Tarou can indeed win. Sora then looks closely at his deficiencies or skillset and says something unique that only he can do. Nabe notices a depressed Sora jokingly pushes his friend down the staircase and asks what he is doing? Sora stumbles and falls to the ground. A bicyclist passing by sees a bruised-up Sora. Nabe apologizes for his unconventional frankness, says that he didn’t mean to hurt him and tells Sora he reacted in a Shakespearean way. Nabe advises his friend that it is almost 7 pm and they should head home. Nabe then realizes that their team is having a practice session at Nakahara Middle School. Both then swiftly head towards that school. Before heading to that institution, by following their manager’s Nao's advice, both Sora and Nabe conduct their warmup routine.
Meanwhile, at Jonan University, Kenji, with his mentor, Karasawa, mentally tries to train and prepare himself for the upcoming daunting practice match against Yokohama Taiei High. Kenji, this time courageously attempts to score. However, he is unsuccessful. The ball rotates around the rim and mises. The apprentices of the Jonan basketball team give their opinion that no matter how many times Kenji attempts to score, it is not possible for him, and he is indeed a stubborn individual who doesn’t know when to give up. On seeing his dishearted pupil, Karasawa advises Kenji that he certainly has the basketball intellect. However, he is too much dependent on his skill set, which is a disadvantage, and athletes like that never grow. Karasawa further critiques his apprentice that he is a thin individual and less bodyweight is not equivalent to speed. Upon hearing his mentor’s criticism, a determined Kenji requests Karasawa to continue the practice session. On seeing his pupil’s fierce determination, Karasawa becomes amazed and comments that his incomplete apprentice might have reached his skill's zenith or peak point.
At Nakahara Middle School, Sora and Nabe joined the rest of their teammates for practice. Momoharu shares his discomfort that their club is conducting their training sessions at different institutions every day, and they have become travelling performers. Nao replies that they all should be grateful to their teammate Kaname for finding or allocating a school to conduct their training session. Momoharu complains that their ace, Kenji, is not practicing alongside them, and during school hours, maybe he should try to talk to him. Nao tries to reassure his captain that she is confident Kenji is not goofing around and somewhere possibly he might be training. Yasuhara disagrees that conducting their training session is the point if their star player is not with them. Momoharu agrees with his teammate's suggestion that he stated a valid point. Due to Yasuhara’s strong rapport with Kenji, Momoharu requests his friend to ask Kenji to join them for practice kindly. Yasuhara agrees with his captain’s suggestion. Nao then orders her squad to stop goofing around and start their practice session. At the start of their training regimen, Nao requests her crew to keep their voices up and raise them even higher when fatigued.
Momoharu works on his footwork routine. Sora trains on improving his passing skills. Yasuhara attempts to do a layup. Similar to their newcomer, Nabe and Masahiro together work on refining their passing skills. A delighted Nao looks at her squad and feels happy that after all that complaining and fussing, they’re passing the ball around pretty well. Kaname, due to his less stamina, takes another break. Nao notices him and requests Kaname to resume his training because they’re short on time and are about to wrap up their practice routine. Nao then sees a resolved Sora and says their newcomer is surely adapting to become a full-fledged point guard. Nao then critiques that their team has to improve on countless obstacles and is confident that something good will happen out of these training sessions. Upon conclusion of their practice session, Nao and her squad head to a nearby restaurant. Sora, being excited at the given moment, requested the café staff to serve them ten steaks. Momoharu tries to control their simpleton first-year member. A worried Nao stares at her unreceptive squad and says that their club does not have that kind of funds to afford a meal like that. Before their practice session, their club together went to Famiresu Family Restaurant to study for the exams.
- Nao Nanao
- Madoka Yabuchi
- Yasuhara Shinichi
- Masahiro Saki
- Ryuuhei Nabeshima
- Kaname Shigeyoshi
- Sora Kurumatani
- Nao Nanao
- Momoharu Hanazono
- Chiaki Hanazono
- Shingo Katori
- Manabu Konishi
- Kenji Natsume