Thursday, August 11, 2005

The middle part of Touch features the introduction of a taciturn replacement coach, who shows up, beats up the protagonist, makes everybody do drills in massed close order, fires the part-time manager love-interest, and generally carries on like your typical tough-love it's-for-the-kids-own-good Japanese-sports-ideal bullshitter.

This crap drives me absolutely nuts, and since the show uses dogs to make you sympathize with characters, and they give tough-love temp-coach a cute little brown puppy which he seems to like, I was crawling the walls in outrage, fighting against the narrative, if you know what I mean by that. The real-world versions of this kind of shitheel are brutal assholes, who practice a species of child-abuse, and the romanticization of this sort of behaviour is an abominable Japanese habit.

Then Touch surprised me. At first I put the new coach's habit of sending minors off to buy his beer and cigarettes down as a sort of Bad News Bears reference. I was still expecting them to find out that the coach is a quietly noble man who's doing it all for love of baseball. (Gag!) But his teaching methods are shown to drive off new club members, and causes lots of injuries. He *doesn't* teach the protagonist how to hit better, and intentionally screws with the club so that they're incapable of playing a game without being humiliated. He's portrayed as brutal, sadistic, cowardly in a subtle fashion, and totally irresponsible. In a show in which villains are notably absent - the players and coaches of other, rival teams are invariably either comically harmless or admirably noble, and the characters' responsible adults are generally feckless and mildly irresponsible - they suddenly produce an actual villain some fifty episodes into the story, and in the persona of an expected tough-love role-model!

Tres cool.

The writer really got me!

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