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Team is the twelfth episode of the Ahiru no Sora anime. The opening theme is Happy Go Ducky! which is performed by the pillows. The ending theme is Tsubasa which is performed by saji.

Synopsis

When Nao abruptly resigns as manager, Sora learns that there is more to her basketball background than meets the eye. Later, the need for team funds rears its expensive head.

Summary

Kenji and Sora get benched

On seeing his frustrated colleagues, Chiaki advises his teammates not to worry. He has a great plan up his sleeve. Yasuhara informs Masahiro that the girls' team is strong, and their team needs to improve, work hard, and catch up. Nao overhears their conversation and comments that the boys' team is also strong. However, she is interested in seeing what Afro-senpai (Chiaki) has up his sleeve to counter her strategy. Momoharu asks his brother how they will counter Box and One defense. Chiaki replies they substitute Sora and Kenji. Upon hearing, Natsume becomes furious and questions him. Chiaki informs Kenji that he and Sora haven't done any anti-zone practice before. Yasuhara and Masahiro get a bit excited and happy that it's finally their time to participate in the match.

Upon seeing the substitution of Sora and Kenji, the girls' team members question Chaiki's decision-making. A frustrated Sora heads towards his bench, and Nao gives her opinion that Chiaki did the right thing substituting them. Sora replies that it is still impossible for his team to break through Box and One defense. Chiaki has the ball possession and instructs his teammates to re-group. Madoka and her teammates see a 2-3 split zone; this is the most commonly used defense consisting of two players in front (near half court) and three players behind (closer to the team's basket). Chiaki informs Momoharu that in this formation, they will use their heights as an advantage.

Nao's detailed notebook

Chiaki passes the ball to Yasuhara, and Madoka carefully guards him. Yasuhara then passes it to Masahiro, and Sayuri is guarding him. A confused Masahiro tells himself that he doesn't know how to dribble, and the 24 seconds shot clock expires. Shot Clock in basketball is the time limit of how long the team on offense can possess the ball. The girls' team has the possession, and Youko scores the three-pointer, and their lead widens. Yasuhara, while dribbling, tries to remember Kenji's instruction on how to drive pass his opponent. Sayuri miss judges his movements. She jumps and tries to block him. Yasuhara questions her decision-making and tries to go for a layup. While attempting to score, the ball suddenly slips from Yasuhara's hand.

However, Nabe manages to retrieve the loose ball, tries to score and is unsuccessful. Nao informs Kenji and Sora that the main weakness of Chiaki's strategy is the lack of screening, which is the main requirement to counter Zone defense. Screening in basketball is a blocking move in which an offensive player stands next to or behind a defender to allow a teammate to shoot a pass or drive in for a score. Nao further explains that the necessary thing for this team is to admit your weakness, and the only way to resolve it is by using teamwork. There is no 'I' in a team, the most fundamental basics of basketball. While explaining, Nao forgets that the Hanazono brothers have experience playing basketball in middle school. Momoharu efficiently sets up a screen, and Chiaki passes the ball to his brother.  

Sayuri scores the mid-range jump shot

Momoharu infamous for being an inefficient scorer, misses the layup, and the girls' team wins the match. The final score of the game is 14-5. A demotivated Nabe, Yasuhara, and Masahiro inform their colleagues we have lost all our motivation. Sora tries to encourage his teammates and tells them not to be discouraged, and they need to keep practicing to improve. To confirm his suggestion, Sora seeks Nao for guidance and notices she has left the basketball court. A frustrated Nao tells herself that she only wanted to test the skills of the boys' team and her intention was not to demotivate them. While walking, she accidentally steps on a rain gutter. Nao then heads towards a nearby park to clean her shoe. Later, Sora meets Nao, informs she forgot her notebook on the basketball court and asks what happened to her leg. Sora then courteously assists in cleaning her muddy shoe with the park's water tap.

Nao apologizes to Sora that she didn't mean to demotivate his team and only wanted to test their skills and informed similar incidents as this happened in middle school. She has a habit of going overboard sometimes. Nao decides she might not be a suitable candidate for being the manager for their team, and upon departing, she wishes Sora and his teammates good luck. Sora notices that Nao again forgot to take her notebook and decided will return it to her the next day. At the basketball court, Chiaki, upon hearing that Nao has resigned as the clubs' manager, becomes depressed. Sora asks Chiaki, are you also deciding to quit. On noticing his sibling's immature behaviour, Momoharu urges Chiaki that he needs to find a purpose or goal in life. Kenji tells his teammates not to worry, and they should move on; a manager shouldn't act like a coach. Sora gets a bit frustrated and replies that Nao did that to test their skills. Upon listening, Kenji responds Nao wasn't even an official member of her basketball team. Kenji further explains that a coach's most crucial competency (skillset) is that person should have been a player first. Hence, that knowledge then cultivates improving the team and informs that he doesn't want to receive instructions from an inexperienced person.

The girls' team wins the match

Sora disagrees with Natsume's judgment, and an argument takes place between the two. Satsuki tries to stop them, and Nao's notebook falls to the ground from Sora's shorts pocket. Seeing all the detailed notes, all the boys' team members are amazed that Nao is a comprehensive individual when it comes to analyzing basketball. Yasuhara noticed that Nao has even written down his weaknesses and strengths. Madoka then corrects Kenji that Nao is an experienced basketball player and started playing the sport at a young age. She switched to the role of a manager in the second year of middle school. Momoharu then questions Madoka as to why she decided to become the manager. Madoka replies she gave up on playing the sport due to her small physique and accident-prone deficiencies. Upon hearing, Sora comments that Nao is a skilled coach with many years of basketball experience if we go by Kenji's advice. During their conversation, Nao arrives at the court. Madoka asks why she is crying; Nao informs that she accidentally fell on the riverbank while catching crayfish with some kids under the Kawasaki bridge. Momoharu informs Nao that he is very impressed with how detailed oriented she is. Sora tells Nao that their team can become better if they follow her advice, and the rest of his teammates joined and requested Nanao to reconsider joining their team as manager. She then gladly accepts their offer and becomes the official manager of the Kuzuryu High boys' team.

On seeing her enrollment, Kenji notifies Nao if Chiaki hadn't substituted him, the boys' team would have won the match. A confident Nao replies, it wouldn't have made a difference because she would have outthought him in every possible manner. Both stare at each other angrily, and their conversation ends on an awkward note. The next day the boys' basketball team is now diligently following Nao's training regimen. Sora, Kenji, and Momoharu can keep up with her intense training. Due to being physically out of shape halfway through exercise, Chiaki, Masahiro, Yasuhara, and Nabe, get exhausted and fall to the ground. Nao informs them not to lie down on the court in the middle of their training session and advises them to keep their breathing pattern steady while jogging.

Nao's training session

After concluding their training regimen, Nao notifies her squad Golden Week will start this upcoming weekend. Golden Week is also known as Ōgon Shūkan, in Japan is a series of four national holidays that occur within one week at the end of April to the beginning of May each year. Nao suggests that let's do a training camp because there is only one month left until the start of the Inter-High Preliminaries. She then explains to them the rules of the tournament and how they can qualify for the Inter-High Tournament. First is the Kawasaki district tournament, and then is the Kanagawa representative tourney. In total, they have to win ten matches to qualify for the Inter-High Tournament. Upon hearing about the training camp, Chiaki gets into his unusual antics and believes that their training camp will take place on a beach referring to Okinawa. Nao informs them they don't have that kind of budget to go there. Momoharu agrees and suggests that the training camp will surely help in improving their team. Kenji agrees but also states that individual skill improvement is an absolute requirement.

Nao then requests Satsuki to help out in arranging the funds for their training camp. Satsuki replies there is no way he can do that because the boys' basketball team was infamously known as a club where troublemakers join. Due to that reason, the school will not financially support their team. Chiaki then advises his teammates instead of depending on schools' resources, they should start working part-time to gather funds for their training Camp. Chiaki, Momoharu, and Kenji start working at the construction site. Sora, on the other hand, does dairy deliveries. Momoharu accumulates about 6500 yen, Chiaki 4500 yen, Kenji 6000 yen and Sora 650 yen. In total 17, 650 yen. Chiaki informs his teammates it is still not enough for them to travel to Okinawa. Yasuhara, Nabe, and Masahiro give their opinion that they have an incredible plan to increase their funds. An hour later, the three of them lose all the gathered funds in gambling. Chiaki and Momoharu angrily beat them up. Nao urges them not to worry and she just received 1000 yen from Satsuki, and their training camp will take place at their schools' gym. Nao hands out the sheet of their training regimen. On seeing this, Momoharu jokingly informs Kenji that this looks like a survival camp rather than a training camp. Nao then encourages them to put all their best efforts into this training camp. All of them confidently agree, and their preparation for upcoming Inter-High Preliminaries begins.

Characters by Appearances

Episode Staff

  • Storyboard: Rei Nakahara
  • Director: Osamu Kogure
  • Animation Director: Mayuko Matsumoto, Naomi Ide, Masakazu Ishikawa, Kim Myoungsim, Park Changhwan     

Reference

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