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"Blue Moon" is the ninetieth chapter in Ahiru no Sora.

Chapter Summary

Takahashi praising Chiaki's basketball skills

The people at the Inter-High Preliminaries venue praises Kuzuryu High and Shinjo Towa Academy for their exceptional performance in the match. Afterwards, Shinmaruko High and other high school teams who have been waiting for their first-round round match participate in the tournament. At Kuzuryu High boy’s locker room, a depressed and tired Momoharu and his teammates quietly recall the final moments of their recent loss. In comparison to others, Chiaki, to pass his time, keeps himself busy while playing video games. Chiaki then encourages his brother and colleagues to cheer up; they lost, and thinking about it won’t change anything. Chiaki then urges Nabe to play a video game with him. Nabe refuses and replies that he is not in the interested. A low-spirited Yasuhara provides his opinion that after all the hard work and practicing playing basketball for a month, their team lost is extremely disheartening. Chiaki replies no matter what kind of practice they did, a month's practice is a month's practice, nothing more and nothing less.  

Upon hearing, Momoharu replies that naivety is the root cause of their defeat and further states to his brother that you want us to sit around and play video games and forget about it. Chiaki responds to Momoharu that he meant what is done is done, and they should move on. Momoharu gets furious and replies to his brother that his easy, go-lucky attitude makes him angry. Momoharu further tells his brother that not to forget the five fouls he committed and got disqualified. Upon hearing, Chiaki losses his temper. Masahiro intervenes and politely tells the Hanazono brothers to stop arguing and notifies Momoharu that what Chiaki just said earlier is correct. Chiaki being angry at his brother, punches one of the locker rooms cabinets. Masahiro further comments that even though it’s a month’s practice attaining no victory, the effort feels fruitless. Yasuharu then gives his opinion, setting aside Momoharu’s and Chiaki’s argument; this is the first time they went this far in their lives. Upon hearing, Chiaki politely excuses himself and, on departing, apologized to his teammates for saying too much. 

Sakamaki trying recruit Kenji

Chiaki then heads over to the Kawasaki bridge, stares down at the riverbank, and recalls the final moment of the match when Roku made the mid-range shot to win the match at overtime. After the conclusion of the match, Takahashi approaches Chiaki and thanks him for being his worthy adversary. Takahashi further stated that he thought about giving up on the match until he (Chiaki) got disqualified. Takahashi then questions Chiaki with all that amazing talent he has; what has he been doing for the past years. A confused Chiaki stares at Takahashi, and both teams line up and thank each other for the great match. A low-spirited Chiaki then questions himself that he indeed wasted a lot of precious time in his life. At Shigeyoshi’s residence, a quiet Kaname stares at the sky from his room’s window. His worried parents ask Sayuri about his wellbeing. Sayuri replies that Kaname has been feeling dishearted lately on his team’s recent loss and further comments that no matter what happens, Kaname is the one who has to overcome his shortcomings.

An exhausted Nao at her residence takes a quick shower. While listening to music from her portable stereo audio player, she also recalls the moment of the match. Nao talks to herself and states that the difference in skill is what got their team eliminated from the tournament. Her team fell into their opponent’s pace in the first half, and she failed as a coach. At the Kuzuryu High boys’ team locker room Momoharu and his teammates decided instead of going home and wallowing over their recent defeat, all of them choose to play Mahjong. Mahjong is a tile-based game developed in China around the 19th century and has spread worldwide since the early 20th century. One of the immensely popular tile-based games that teach skills such as tactics, observation, and memory. While playing Mahjong, Yasuhara praises Momoharu for his efficient rebounding skills. Momoharu thanks his colleague and comments that no matter how many rebounds he can get without scoring, it is worthless. Nabe disagrees and informs Momoharu that his performance inspired him. Masahiro then asks his colleagues anybody is hungry? Nabe replies that Chiaki keeps all his snacks in his locker room cabinet. Yasuhara heads over and grabs all the snacks. Upon seeing, Momoharu comments that a while back, there was an incident at his household about Chiaki’s pudding going missing, and the cops had to get involved. Both of them got into a physical alteration, and Chiaki broke six ribs of his.

Upon hearing, Masahiro urges Yasuhara to keep all the snacks back in the locker room. Yasuhara then tells his teammates that he found a pack of cigarettes. Masahiro and Nabe praise Yasuhara for finding it. Momoharu requests Yasuhara to put it away, and they are not allowed to smoke inside the locker room. Nabe urges Momoharu to forget about the school rules today. Yasuhara informs them that they don’t have a lighter and then asks where Kenji is. At a nearby local restaurant, a depressed Kenji eats his ordered burger, and he looks at the Sakamaki’s profile card. Kenji also recalls the dreadful moment of his team’s recent loss, and being frustrated at that moment; he exited the court without informing his colleagues. Upon departing from the tournament venue, Sakamaki meets Kenji and requests to have a conversation with him. Due to being angry and frustrated, Kenji bluntly asks as to who he is? Sakamaki notices Kenji’s dialect and tries to confirm if he is from the city of Hiroshima. Kenji doesn’t answer and remains quiet. Sakamaki further states that it's unfortunate that Kuzuryu High lost because everyone on the court, including him, thought that Kuzuryu High had a 99.9% chance of winning.

To tease Kenji, Sakamaki states that a particular team member missed the layup shot that led to Kuzuryu High’s defeat. A confused Kenji stares at him, and Sakamaki further comments that with that kind of lead, the wise choice for Kuzuryu High would have been to pass the ball around until the match time runs out. If his team Yokohama Taiei High would have lost, he would have indeed punished his squad. Kenji then notices that Sakamaki might be a coach at Yokohama Taiei High and urges him to save the advice for his team and not him. Kenji then excuses himself and tries to exit the tournament venue. Sakamaki notices Kenji’s blunt and cold demeanor with him. Sakamaki stops Kenji, informs him that he is a rude individual, and states that he was just praising his basketball skills. Kenji stares at him awkwardly. Sakamaki then questions Kenji’s decision as to why he attempted to score when his team had a two-point lead in the final few seconds of the match. Kenji replied that he believes in his basketball skills and had no doubts that he would score. Sakamaki smiles at Kenji’s response and tells him that he is a naïve individual who only thinks about scoring. Kenji becomes furious and questions Sakamaki as to what he just said. Sakamaki then bluntly tells Kenji to quit Kuzuryu High and join his team Yokohama Taiei High. A confused Kenji stares at him. Sakamaki gives Kenji his profile card and comments that Yokohama Taiei High is a public school; however, his team has qualified and participated in the Inter-High Tournament for the past three years.

Sakamaki then praises Kenji for his basketball skills and informs him that talent like his at being a freshman at High School is hard to find. Sakamaki further tells Kenji that his current team Kuzuryu High might be reliable; however, they are holding him back. He is on a different level. The other dependable member on the team beside him is Kaname, and the rest are novices. Kenji smiles at Sakamaki’s opinion and replies that he is contradicting himself, and didn’t he say that like him, he would punish single-minded scoring individuals. Sakamaki replies that he is critical of his performance because he missed the layup shot, and if he had made it, his opinion about him would have been different. Sakamaki then bluntly tells Kenji overall, as a basketball player, he still needs to improve. Kenji becomes furious. Sakamaki then tells him that he doesn’t want his answer right away and will allow him to think about it because transferring to another institution is no easy task. In concluding, Sakamaki bluntly tells Kenji to join his team and rise or stay at Kuzuryu High and waste his high school basketball career for the next three years. Kenji receives nine missed calls from sister Juri, who is trying to contact him and ask how his team performed. Kenji doesn’t answer and confusingly stares at the cellphone and recalls Sakamaki’s last words joining Yokohama Taiei High. A furious Kenji then tells himself there is nothing to be confused about it.

Satsuki conveying the sad news of Yuka's sudden passing

Meanwhile, at the Kuzuryu High boy’s locker room, Momoharu and his friends spend their leisure playing Mahjong. A delighted Nabe brings some snacks that he purchased from the nearby convenience store. Yasuhara prepares the instant noodles, and Nabe also tells them that he bought a lighter as well. All of them light up their cigarettes. Satsuki makes a sudden appearance in the locker room. On seeing their advisor, Momoharu and his friends go into panic mode, hide their cigarette and toss the lighter on the side. Being a bit serious, Satsuki disregards their awkward behavior and informs Momoharu and the rest of his teammates about Yuka’s sudden passing. All of them are stunned and shocked by the news. A depressed Madoka, accompanied by her sister Sumi heads to their residence. Sumi tells her sister that the hospital staff already informed Yuka about the short span of her life. Upon hearing, Madoka replies to her sister; she is not showing any remorse or emotion compared to her. Sumi responds as a nurse; it is part of her job to act strong. Patients at their hospital pass away, and she cannot be affected by it. Sumi then apologizes to Madoka for being blunt and further states that there are moments when she wants to cry, but there are people in the world who are even sadder or less fortunate than them.

Characters

Reference

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