follows the ups and downs of the fictional soccer team ETU—East Tokyo United, which is very much down on its luck. As the series opens they've lost their last five matches, after a long period of shoddy performance, and are languishing at the bottom of their league. Their fans have nigh on abandoned them and even the kids in their own youth academy think they suck. They are without a sponsor and are currently scraping along on money from the local municipality—clear signs that they could fold if things don't change soon. In fact they haven't done really well since the days of their star player—Takeshi Tatsumi.
Things may be about to change though, for Takeshi Tatsumi has returned to manage ETU after a stint in the United Kingdom where he managed to direct an amateur village team all the way to The FA Cup
fourth round. However his return brings resistance from fans and team mates alike—many of whom have never forgiven him for leaving to go abroad in the first place, especially as he was the playmaker so they blame things going foul after his departure on him. On his return he decides to bump several key players off the team—including local hero team Captain Shigeyuki Murakoshi, the only man that has kept the team from completely falling into disaster—based on their performance during time trials alone. Suffice to say Tatsumi has his work cut out for him.
This series was available by Crunchyroll. With a HD version available to subscribers an hour after broadcast; and a SD version to non subscribers a week after.
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The opening scene of the Anime has a short conversation between a fan and the two members of the ETU staff sent to find Tatsumi detailing what he has accomplished with the Eastham side. In the manga the conversation actually moves from the street to the three having dinner together and the old fan turns out to be the Eastham Chairman.
- Broken Base: In-Universe, not fans of the show as it has only been running for a little while, but the in series fans of ETU. Some are delighted to see Tatsumi return. Others consider it a slap in the face.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Takeshi as the coach of ETU. His actions and demeanour on a regular basis confuse and irritate those around him. However, he does know what he's doing as a coach — it just takes a while for the team to understand his intentions.
- But Not Too Foreign: Luigi "Gino" Yoshida is half Japanese, half Italian.
- Conspicuous CGI: Close ups of the ball in flight and especially flags in wide crowd shots are very obviously not cel drawings.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Natsuki. A great player, but one hell of an idiot.
- The FA Cup: Shows up in the first episode.
- Fictional Counterpart: Each of the teams in the J. League has one here. ETU themselves seem to be an Expy of Tokyo Verdy, who once were among the top teams in Japan, but have since fallen out of that position and have been on hard times during the last decade (the difference being that ETU had consistently managed to scrape by without being relegated, while Verdy was first relegated to Division 2 in 2005 and have only been promoted again once, only to be relegated again the following year).
- Game-Breaking Injury: Hinted to be the cause of Tatsumi's retirement as a player.
- Giant Killing: Well the trope is the name of the title, in this case in its' more team size and backing than physical size.
- Guile Hero: Tatsumi.
- Hot-Blooded: Tatsumi at least a little. He is voiced by Tomokazu Seki after all. However a lot of the time he comes across as laid back.
- Kuroda and Natsuki are both made of this trope though in different ways, Kuroda has a Hair-Trigger Temper where as Natsu is more of a Keet.
- The Lancer: Murakoshi at least starts out that way having been in the squad at the same time as Tatsumi and is the current captain he is not pleased with Tatsumi's return. Then Tatsumi announces he's being stripped of the captaincy in the second episode. Though it's a 10-Minute Retirement as he regains the captain's armband at the end of Episode 5.
- The Nicknamer: Luigi Yoshida a.k.a. "Gino" a.k.a. "The Prince" does this to himself as well as everyone he meets.
- Save Our Team
- The Scapegoat: Tatsumi to a point. His personal manager/advisor convinced him to leave because he thought the team was relying on him too much and becoming weak as a result. It was still Tatsumi's decision and the team did temporarily fall apart as predicted.
- Sequel Hook: There are a few threads left hanging, the over arching one being that the first series ends no more than half way into the season. A more explicit one is the statement that they have to play away to Osaka Gunners which is made after the match at E.T.U's ground. However no second series has been announced so it may actually be And the Adventure Continues.
- Surprisingly Good English and French and Portuguese and Dutch: For instance the Japanese National coach is French and is seen speaking in French to his assistant but speaks English to Tatsumi as they both coached in England. The Nagoya team has 3 Brazilians who speak to each other in Portuguese, and Osaka's coach Dulfer, forward Hauer and Sonada their interpreter all speak Dutch.
- Talking Is a Free Action: The players seem to be able to have quite in depth conversations and long internal monologues during matches without it causing a problem most of the time.
- During the ETU vs. Nagoya Gran Palace match, it's at least addressed. While Zelberto and Carlos are discussing the problems ETU are causing their play style, their team mates yell at them to get their attention back on the action.
- Team Spirit: It is very low at the start of the anime, and this funk is probably the biggest hurdle that ETU needs to overcome.
- Title Drop: Happens for the first time of many within the first 2 minutes of Episode 1 before the titles have even been shown.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Subverted. The amateur team that Tastumi took to the FA Cup didn't win. They did do very well for a team of non professionals though, leading 3-2 at one point in the game even though they eventually lost to Portsmouth. Also in their pre-season friendly against the powerhouse team Tokyo Victory, ETU manages to scrape a draw—still fairly impressive. Even into the second half of the Anime, ETU loses almost every other game, the rest are mostly draws.