Ichinose! The Final Kickoff!! (
Inazuma Japan is fired up for their next match against America's Unicorn, especially Endou. Because they'll get to fight Ichinose and Domon, both of whom have leveled up greatly. The next day, Ichinose calls Aki out, and tells her, he will join a Pro League youth soccer team after the tournament, so he won't lose to them.
But what Aki doesn't know is that he lies to her, and in reality, the soccer he loves will be taken from him again!
The episode starts on a rainy day, with Kino Aki with an umbrella, waiting for Ichinose Kazuya in a park in America's area. The day before, Ichinose had invited her to talk alone, which makes Aki genuinely concerned for her friend. The evening before, Inazuma Japan had been watching the match between Knights of Queen and Unicorn and was cheering for Ichinose and Domon Asuka, both in Unicorn. However, after the match with Unicorn's victory, Endou Mamoru and Kidou Yuuto notice that something about Ichinose's plays have changed, but could not accurately determine what was different. Nevertheless, the team was excited about the match and headed out for practice. Aki and Otonashi remain in the room, however, and the television broadcasted some of Ichinose's plays. Aki observed, and she saw the difference: while Ichinose was playing, his expression had changed to one that was frustrated, even angered.
The episode flashes back to present time, when Ichinose approaches Aki in the rain. A moment passes wordlessly, and Aki glances at his fist; Ichinose is gripping his fist, which worries her even more. Ichinose forces a smile as he tells Aki that he is going to join a Pro League youth soccer team after the FFI. She is relieved, and happy for him. Ichinose then asks if Aki can come with him to America. She is confused, but he instantly rewords the question, instead asking if she can see his professional matches, which Aki cheerfully agrees to do. Ichinose still looks troubled, but smiles warmly and tells Aki to say hi to Inazuma Japan for him, and leaves. Aki, knowing that something is wrong, agrees. Meanwhile, Domon, with a concerned expression, is behind a nearby tree, eavesdropping on their conversation. Ichinose walks back to America's area as Aki looks at him with worry. That evening, Aki stands in a hallway of Inazuma Japan's campgrounds, holding her cell phone. She is puzzled; Ichinose had told her nothing but good news, but yet the meetup left her with a different impression. She tries calling him, but he does not pick up.
The next day, everyone is training hard and sweating, all looking forward to facing Ichinose and Domon in the next game. When Fuyuka wonders what kind of players they are, Endou, with certainty, replies that they are friends. No matter how much they develop and change, he says, they are still friends. Then, right before the next practice round, Fubuki approaches Kazemaru and tells him that he is thinking of a new hissatsu technique that requires speed, so both of them try it. While Tsunami Jousuke carries his surfboard out to the ocean to train, everyone else starts practice excitedly. Endou walks over to the bench and asks Aki, if Ichinose saw Inazuma Japan practicing like this, would it surprise him. Hearing no response, he looks over and sees that Aki is not there. Otonashi tells him that Aki went out to buy more bandage tapes, but Fuyuka opens the first aid box containing plenty of bandages.
Aki is in America's area again, and walks toward the players' dorms, wishing to talk to Ichinose. Just as she is about to enter, Domon, who is returning to the dorms, approaches her and asks why she is here. Domon immdiately knows that it has to do with Ichinose, and Aki replies that they met yesterday, and she was worried about him. He then tells her that Ichinose is not available to talk, since he went out with a few teammates, but he can transfer her message. Aki tells him that Ichinose had been acting weird recently, as if he was hiding something, and she was troubled by his behavior. She asks him if he knows anything about Ichinose. Domon turns around at once, nervously answering that he does not. Aki figures at once that he is lying, since he never looks people in the eye when he lies. He then quickly leaves the conversation and heads into the building, leaving Aki speechless.
Ichinose is training and shooting balls into a goal when captains Mark Kruger and Dylan Keith pass him. Mark compliments his active dedication in training, but also reminds him not to go overboard as to avoid getting injured. Meanwhile, Domon is standing in a nearby alley, silently observing.
Domon then has a flashback memory: Ichinose recently informed him that the wound from the accident a long time ago has not fully healed, and he would need surgery again. But, if the surgery fails, he will never be able to play soccer again. His doctor have told him that he should take the surgery as soon as possible, but he still puts it off. During training, when one of his shoots misses and hits the frame of the goal, Ichinose's realization of not being able to play soccer shocks him, and he internally collapses into misery. That night, Ichinose sits on his bed and feels depressed, asking why is it always him that suffers the loss of soccer. Domon passes his dorm's door, but refrains himself from knocking. Later, Ichinose exits his room but forgets to close the door.
The next morning, Domon walks past his room in the hallway and sees his door ajar. He looks inside, but sees nobody. He anxiously runs into the cafeteria, where Unicorn is having breakfast, and loudly informs the rest of the team of Ichinose's absense. Mark, however, dismisses it, accounting for the possibility that he is out for a jog. Meanwhile, Ichinose is in the woods behind Japan's area, near the beach. He wonders why he is there, even though he does not want Inazuma Japan to know of his condition. He then sees Endou and Tsunami on the beach, both out to train. Endou announces that he wants to be at his best when he faces Ichinose. Hearing this, Ichinose runs back immediately. At the same time, Domon is frantically running around, trying to find his best friend. He soon finds Ichinose practicing on one of the fields, and is relieved. During training, Ichinose reveals that his biggest fear is not losing soccer, but rather the chance to play soccer with his best rival and answer Endou's enthusiasm. He does not care if the next match is his last game; he will put all his effort until the whistle is blown. Domon instantly understands his will to keep going until the end.
Finally, the day of the match is here. The match between Unicorn and Inazuma Japan is in Kujaku stadium, and the seats are packed, even with America's President Cain watching. Aki peruses through the hallways of the stadium, hoping to find Ichinose. Around a corner, she overhears Ichinose and Domon conversing with one another. Domon tells him that he understands his decision, but Ichinose must promise to stop playing if he is no longer able to. When Domon mentions that Ichinose should take the surgery instead of playing, Aki runs out of her hiding spot and asks what is going on. Domon explains Ichinose's situation, and that his operation has a 50% chance of success, and may not be able to join the Pro League. Aki is devastated by the news, but before she can say anything else, there is an announcement that the match is about to start. Ichinose walks away, telling Aki to keep this a secret from Endou and the others in order to have a serious match. Both disappear onto the field.
Inazuma Japan is warming up, and Endou greets Aki as soon as she shows up. Aki, still engrossed in her thoughts, replies ambiguously, which in turn worries Endou. She thinks about the conversation that just occurred, and is suddenly interrupted by Endou leaning over her. He realizes that something is in her mind, but Aki denies. Soon, the match starts with Unicorn's kickoff. Mark immediately passes to Ichinose, who is able to use his masterful dribbling to break through Inazuma Japan's defense. He quickly scores a goal with Pegasus Shot that breaks through Endou's Ijigen The Hand. The goal only makes Endou more determined as he encourages his teammates to fight back.
[Endou Mamoru] In order to play the best game with the best of friends, I'll do anything I can!