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Manga / Giant Killing

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Giant Killing 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 performances, 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 England where he managed to direct an amateur village team all the way to The FA Cup's fourth round. However his return brings resistance from fans and teammates 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 starting eleven - 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.

Originating as a manga by Masaya Tsunamoto, Giant Killing was later animated by Studio DEEN. The anime was available on Crunchyroll, with an HD version available to subscribers an hour after broadcast, and an SD version to non-subscribers a week after.

This series provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Close ups of the ball in flight and especially flags in wide crowd shots are very obviously not cel drawings.
  • 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.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Kouta doesn't want to be seen at matches with his old man Tanuma and considers him a loser.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Goes without saying with the job of a coach, but Montebia Yamagata's manager Sakura made this his bread-and-butter - since he was never talented with the ball on his feet, analyzing countless match videos since junior high school was his way of satisfying his passion for football.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Yamagata's coach usually lets himself be made fun of by his players because he knows they still respect him. Komori's increasingly vitriolic comments at half-time during their second match with ETU hit a nerve, causing him to angrily smack the whiteboard and yell at him to knock it off.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Tanuma isn't much of a father or as stalwart an ETU supporter as he could have been but Kouta still gives him no respect in and out of the home.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Gino plays to the beat of his own drum, in and out of matches. He has the ability to get more involved in matches but usually prefers to let his "dogs" Tsubaki and Akasaki (and others if those two aren't available) do the hard running. His goals usually come after other players set the ball up or from set pieces. His character development involves breaking out of this thanks to the respect he has for Tatsumi as a manager and the trust that other players hold for him.
  • Broken Base: In-Universe, not fans of the show, but the in series fans of ETU. Some are delighted to see Tatsumi return. Others consider it a slap in the face.
    • The very act of rooting for ETU was this for a long time. The United Skulls, the resident ultras, stuck with the team through thick and thin, while many of the town's residents stopped following the team during the ten-year drought for various reasons, and when Tanuma and his friends decide to go back to the stadium to cheer on their team once Tatsumi starts to bring in results, the Skulls don't take it kindly (putting it mildly), because they think their support is half-hearted. They don't even go easy on their children. It takes a long while for these fences to be mended.
  • 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. It really shows on the summer camp, where he has the entire team engage in silly games to build up teamwork and interpersonal relationship.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Luigi "Gino" Yoshida is half Japanese, half Italian.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Blanc's male assistant isn't given much, if any positive screen time. He is often being corrected by Blanc about practically everything and upstaged by his female counterpart.
    • There isn't a clear example among the ETU players but Matsubara the assistant coach often falls victim to Tatsumi's whims.
    • Yamagata's coach is this for his own team but they still all respect his ability.
  • Character Development: A subtle version that has more to do with Tatsumi's backstory. During the first game against Nagoya Grand Palace, Matsubara is amazed at the amount of homework Tatsumi did to concoct his tactics for the match. He compares it to Tatsumi's playing days in which, as he said it, "he played according to his instincts".
    • Also happens to some of the ETU players, most notably Tsubaki, who slowly but surely starts to develop confidence in his skills which ultimately leads to him being selected to the U-22 National Team alongside Akasaki and then the National Team led by Blanc.
  • Cool Old Guy: The chairman of Eastham FC, who is a Reasonable Authority Figure, sympathising with ETU's situation but not wanting to let Tatsumi go for free because he doesn't want his club to fall back to what it was. He eventually decides to say that the income the club made from the FA Cup games counts towards the buyout money ETU needs to get Tatsumi's contract from them, in part because what he hears of ETU reminds him of Eastham, and he wants Tatsumi to have a chance to help his hometown club.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Natsuki. A great player, but one hell of an idiot (seriously, if he could only keep it simple he would have a better scoring rate).
    • To a lesser extent, Montebia Yamagata's coach. His players joke around with him and he is a bit airheaded but there is a reason they promoted from Division 2.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Osaka is the subject of this trope and for good reason, with its incredible attacking power and multiple national players. Prior to ETU's match, Osaka are shown putting 8 away against another team. ETU grab a last-minute goal to steal the win in their home game, although Osaka are leading the league overall by the halfway mark.
  • Declarative Finger: This is Kawasaki's manager's default pose.
  • The FA Cup: The series opens with Tatsumi coaching a fifth division English club to the best of 32 and about to face Portsmouth, a club which at the time was a regular at the top competition in the country.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Each of the teams in the J. League has one here. ETU themselves seem to be an Expy of Tokyo Verdy (even though they themselves have their own counterpart in the form of Tokyo Victory), 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 decadenote .
  • Friendly Enemy: All over the place, as there are no major grudges between any of the teams or their players. A significant example is the relationship between Nagoya's Brazilian trio and ETU's Tsubaki. They were impressed by him during their first match and, while never antagonistic, became super friendly from thereon. By comparison, the enmity between ETU and Fuwa, their former manager, is mutual and very bitter.
  • Funny Foreigner: Almost all non-Japanese characters are this to different extents, like Nagoya's Brazilian FW Pepe, who is a bug-eyed, mute guy so quirky he's kind of creepy, and Chiba's Australian MF McGregor, who is such a war film buff that he's always behaving like a Shell-Shocked Veteran (he even looks like Dutch, for bonus points). Even ETU isn't immune, after Gabriel joins the team. Heck, even the national team manager Blanc is like this, as a Frenchman who can switch between talking about delicacies and player scouting at the drop of a hat.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: An affliction to his leg caused Tatsumi's retirement as a player. He "officially" retired after an interclub match in chapter 296 when he confirmed the extent of the injury.
  • Giant Killing: Well, the trope is the name of the manga; in this case it's more team size and backing than physical size.
  • Guile Hero: Tatsumi.
  • Hero Worship: Yuri has always been a fan of Tatsumi, even now while he's managing ETU and annoying her on a semi-regular basis. Watching his body break down during his retirement match at club practice leaves her in tears.
    • Montebia Yamagata's coach has great respect for Tatsumi and is thrilled to be able to coach against and alongside him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The first match with Osaka plays with this. The first half ends 2-0 in Osaka's favor due to Hauer and Kubota scoring goals and Hiraga is able to intercept whenever Gino tries passing to Tsubaki. However, Tatsumi accounted for some of these circumstances, although not all. Kubota uncharacteristically running around so much out of enjoyment of the match tires him out and gets him subbed, eliminating his loose ball threat and freeing up Sugie. Hiraga eventually realises he's been forced to exceed his own stamina output and Dulfer hesitates too long in subbing him out because of his faith in the team's all-offensive playstyle. Alot of these factors play a part in a 3-2 miracle comeback for ETU.
  • 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 (although he becomes more Hot-Blooded in the traditional sense with time).
  • Insufferable Genius: Gino, Hanamori and Mochida each have this in varying degrees. Mochida in particular is that much of a prodigious player that he is a Jerkass to everyone around him.
  • The Lancer: Murakoshi at least starts out that way having been in the squad at the same time as Tatsumi and, as 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.
  • Never My Fault: Kuroda has a bad case of this in the beginning, with a dash of hypocrisy. He blamed everyone else for the team's losses and lashed out when others criticised him for the multiple goals scored against them. When Tatsumi implemented games during practice to decide starting lineups he refused to play (dragging Sugie into it) and blamed the manager again for leaving them both out and the team losing again. It was only after they discussed how they still maintained a defensive mindset that kept them losing in the previous seasons, and how that also made things harder for Midorikawa that he took responsibility for his actions, if not completely his attitude.
  • The Nicknamer: Luigi Yoshida a.k.a. "Gino" a.k.a. "The Prince" does this to himself as well as everyone he meets.
  • Puppy Love: Kouta, Tanuma's son, has a crush on a girl named Kyoko. He would like her to be a fan of football and ETU like him.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: Sera struggles a lot with this at first. After he starts becoming a regular, his gripe is transferred to not getting call-ups for the national team.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hata delivers a scathing one to Tanuma and his friends, in which he claims that they gave up on the team and only started coming back to matches because of Tatsumi or personal gratification, whereas Hata and the younger supporters stuck with the team despite its difficult seasons.
  • Save Our Team: ETU is on the brink of oblivion before Tatsumi's appointment, due to financial woes, the municipality giving up its sponsorship, and attendances plummeting following many heartbreaking seasons. Tatsumi's task is, therefore, not only to light a fire under the players' backsides and get them performing, but also to reconcile the club with its supporters and potential beneficiaries.
  • 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: Anime-exclusive. 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.
  • Smug Snake: Fuwa, ETU's former coach and Nagoya's current one. He treats Tatsumi and his former employers with condescension and believes his team to be superior in every way. Except he loses their first match and the one the anime shows. It also became ETU's first win of the season. Also, regarding his evaluation of Nagoya as being much superior to ETU, the manga reveals that at the halfway point, his team is 7th, and ETU is 10th but only two points behind. Subverted with other coaches encountered along the way, such as Chiba's manager Mirkovic, who only looks the part.
  • 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.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • ETU has Gino and Natsuki, and to a lesser extent Akasaki and Kiyokawa and Ishihama. In the first case, Natsuki is intimidated by Gino and relies on him to provide passes. Gino is disdainful towards him, especially because he considers Natsuki to be reckless and uncommitted (it doesn't help that Gino is so conceited). In the second case, Akasaki is always ready to criticise Kiyokawa and Ishihama's defensive work but admits that they only need to hold opposition back so that their team-mates can help.
    • Osaka Gunners have three of the four forwards: Hauer, Hatake and Katayama. The latter two are Glory Hounds, always competing against each other for goals. Hauer, thanks to the language barrier, doesn't understand a word they're saying and is often harassed by them, especially with regards to his hair.
    • In the All-Star Match, Hauer ends up developing this with Pepe (Nagoya Grampalace) and Kang Chang-Soo (Kawasaki Frontier), because all of them want to be chosen Man of the Match... and the existence of the language barrier (even though Pepe doesn't speak at all) means they get in each other's way during the game to do so, leading to the Japan Stars' easy win.
  • Title Drop: Happens for the first time of many within the first 2 minutes of Episode 1 before the titles have even been shown.
  • Took a Level in Badass: This is an element of the on-field goals for ETU and it takes ages for anything to emerge. The first matches against Nagoya and Osaka provide glimpses of what the team can accomplish, and the second half of the season (as shown in the manga) shows the team taking that ball and finally running with it.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Subverted. The amateur team that Tatsumi took to the FA Cup didn't win. They did do very well for a team of non-professionals though, keeping up with Portsmouth until a missed offside resulted in their 3-2 loss. Also in their pre-season friendly against the powerhouse team Tokyo Victory, ETU manages to scrape a draw — still fairly impressive, and the first half of the season doesn't really go as well as hoped, with the team only managing to scrape by at 7th place. It's not until mid-season summer camp that the team really gets in gear.
  • Wham Line: From chapter 457, an inner monologue by Kashima's coach: "After all, you (Tatsumi) are not planning to stay in Japan for a long time, right?"
  • Worthy Opponent: The most stand-out examples are Tsubaki and Kubota. Kubota even helps Tsubaki break out of his shell when they join the under-22 Japanese national team.