the boys team was banned from the competition because the organisers wouldn't allow an unruly team to participate.
during a previous competition, a fight broke out. the team was not playing properly, just strolling around the court. when an opposing player told them off, okubo went and beat up the player. as a result, they are now being punished. ozu misses okubo. he volunteers to inform the players, but says kato will have to bear the consequences (ie. beaten up)
kato asks ozu to wait, and see if he could first persuade the organizers to change their mind. if he failed, then he wouldn't mind taking the blow.
yokomori says kato has changed. he's more responsible. still, ashikaga doesn't find him attractive. ashikaga goes with kato to persuade the organizers.
yokomori is worried for the 2 of them. will they succeed?
the 2 wait for the organizer in the organizing school office. they see the new trophy. ashikaga is pessimistic about their chances to enter the competition. so kato takes the trophy and presents it to ashikaga, for fun. just then, the organizer enters. in his hurry to put the trophy back, kato breaks it. kato has to conceal the damage in very creative ways.
as it turns out, the main obstacle is not the organizers, but the coach of the organizing school, yakinomoto.
so they leave to find the coach. the damage was only discovered after they left the room!
haruka tells imoto the news of the ban.
ozu gets a note from sano - eri wants to see him at the cafe. as he leaves, he meets the boys. they asks about the news. he tells them kato is working on it. that worries the boys, who know kato is not known for success. ozu asks them to wait for kato's news.
kato and ashikaga go to the school gym to look for the coach. they are impressed by the training. everyone is in uniform and going through set pieces. ashikaga points out the coach to kato. the one with a bamboo sword (just like her, in the past)
ozu meets eri and his bank pal! the pal had asked a favour from eri, cos he needed help in the bank. ozu thinks it's another problem, but the pal says no. ozu says he's not interested in banking anymore. eri asks her dad to hear the pal out. there's some major reshuffling at the top of the bank. the pal's being promoted.
ozu congratulates him. pal then says, ozu's been called up there too. the old boss has returned, and is making amends for the past.
even eri thinks ozu's best suited for finance.
ozu does not forget the past, the bad things he once did, and the pain of being made the scapegoat. he does not speak to his pal, but to eri, to tell his pal NO. he has found his place in the world.
he leaves as the waiter comes round. ozu orders a beer to congratulate his pal's promotion.
at the organising school, the coach admits he's the one who vetoed the team. kato asks for another chance, but the damage had been done. also, their skills are too poor, losing by 100 plus.
coach: when they have learnt how to play basketball, then we'll see
ashikaga then asks why he needs to carry a bamboo stick to punish the players. the coach feels that students are ignorant and need adults to guide them. ashikaga does not like his attitude and leaves without persuading him further.
they return with bad news, but ashikaga asks them to assemble at 9 tomorrow.
the next day, they go to the organizing school gym to demonstrate their basketball skills. but the coach asks them to leave. kato asks for just 10 minutes' game to prove themselves. the deal is, if they do anything unsportsmanlike, they will resign from the competition.
ozu ups the ante: if they lose by more than 10 points, they will also quit
the boys are stunned! yokomori says the team here is the reigning champion at level 3 (and they are just a level 2 team)
given such irresistible terms, the coach agrees to the trial.
the boys team are reminded to be on their best behaviour. imoto says if they can control themselves with gangsters, this is no problem. akimoto seconds that.
the problem is the 10-point gap.
the coach calls his captain aside and tells him to resort to dirty tricks, in order to force the boys team out.
shocked that the other team is playing dirty, ashikaga says the coach is not qualified to carry the bamboo sword
the opposing players even taunt the boys team to fight, but matsuzawa says he's not that stupid.
kato asks the boys to keep their cool, as time is running out and pressure mounts.
the opposing coach advises his team to run the clock out.
last 20 seconds, and losing by 12 points, without possession. ozu teaches the boys a trick he learned in finance: make your enemy think they have succeeded so as to catch them off-guard.
akimoto pretends to be angry and reaches out, but he does not fight. he just taps the ball to his pal. they lay up for imoto to make a 3-pointer just as time runs out. 13-22. they are in the competition! ozu takes them out of the gym. feels the opposing team doesn't deserve their title.
ozu is the last one out, and he turns back, looks at the coach, then mimics the slitting of his throat.
teachers at the sports bar. kato and ashikaga feel they haven't done anything to win the game. ozu did it. they just broke the trophy.
the boys are practising on their own. miaku feels very left out. they think they have a good chance to win, with the training they are now doing.
class the next morning, all the boys are sleeping, instead of doing the test. miaku speaks to ozu about it. ozu offers to keep her company. but she declines. ozu asks to see her in the gym later, to join the team.
the organisers are in the principal's office. what now?
the problem lies with ozu. the coach does not like ozu. as the organising team, if he pulls out, he can influence the other schools to pull out too. for the sake of the competition, they ask for the boys team to pull out.
ozu knows it's because he had hurt the other coach's pride, by giving him the 'slaughter' sign. so it turned out the most unsportsmanlike behaviour came from ozu himself!
sano tells ozu that he knows yakino, as he was formerly a coach too. yakino's motivation for coaching is to bring glory to himself.
the damage to the trophy was found out by the principal.
ozu watches haruka practice with imoto. he learns from haruka that imoto's dad left when he was very young. ozu asks imoto if he looks very much like imoto's dad.
imoto: yes. he was a ghost too
imoto flashback to his early years. the father packing his bags and leaving the family. with that dead look on his face.
training. miaku turns up in a tracksuit. she's the new team manager. she asks if she had dressed correctly. ozu said, if she wasn't mikami's he'd hug her.
shikamatsu reports to ozu that yakino had played politics and most teams are against ozu's team participation.
ashikaga, ozu and kato are having dinner at kato's. kato is learning more about basketball now. ashikaga cooked, and the meal is appropriate for wining. so ozu brings out a top class champagne. it was meant for the day he gets promoted to CEO.
kato figures that since ozu's career path has changed, they might as well drink it now. ashikaga wants to keep it for winning the competition. ozu thinks back on his life, even as the 2 bicker. ashikaga wins by telling kato to sit. he obeys in a flash, acting like a dog.
ozu and kato late at night. ozu asks if kato has understood the tactics and rules of basketball.
the basketball committee is meeting. ozu drops in. he's not welcomed, cos he has a criminal past. ozu admits he once bribed people. but the team should not be held responsible. he shares with them how the team has changed from bad to good. kids can see right through our facade. they won't be kids forever. they will grow up. and they see him as an enemy to their future. ozu takes the rap.
yakino turns that around and asks if any good can come out of ozu's hands?
ozu offers to resign, for the good of the boys team. he asks them to consider it from the point of view of the players. after all they were children once.
ozu submits his resignation to the principal. the principal gets a call from the basketball committee, confirming their requirement for ozu to resign.
ozu (to principal): do i look like a ghost?