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Notes from someone smarter than us:
This is another episode that hinges on Minoru being from Osaka (located in the Kansai region). In particular, it hinges on Osaka’s local baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers. Although the Hanshin Tigers are officially a sister team to the Detroit Tigers, they’re frequently compared to the Boston Red Sox in terms of their cultural importance. In particular, the Hanshin Tigers’s long-standing rivalry with Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants parallels the classic rivalry between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees (or, say, Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona, for football fans).
At many points in the Tigers’s history, they’ve had the air of a hard-luck team that just can’t catch a break. Perhaps as a result, Tigers fans have a reputation for being absurdly devoted. The kinds of stuff Minoru does in this episode is not much of an exaggeration of how a true Tigers superfan might’ve actually acted at the time. It’s also worth noting that the 90s were generally rough for the Tigers, so Minoru probably wasn’t the only guy praying for the team to do better.
Osaka is also a region associated with food and a love of big meals, which probably explains why we see Minoru feeding the week’s monster a steady stream of local delicacies. For instance, takoyaki is a grilled octopus dumpling popular throughout Japan. It was invented in Osaka, though, where it’s so beloved that you can visit the Osaka Takoyaki Museum. The takoyaki you usually see in TV shows is the Tokyo style, which has a light, flaky texture before it’s covered in mayonnaise and sauce. The Osaka-style takoyaki you see in this episode differs mainly in that it has a softer, doughier texture even before sauces are added. The kitsune udon Minoru prepares for the monster is also associated with Osaka. It is distinguished from other types of udon mainly be containing aburaage, a flat piece of slightly sweetened, deep-fried tofu. The aburaage soaks up the udon broth, taking on a soft, slightly spongy texture.
The song Minoru sings at the end of the episode is the official Hanshin Tigers fight song, Rokko Oroshi, which all real Tigers fans are expected to know by heart. The name translates roughly as “The Wind of Mount Rokko,” referring to the cold, harsh winds that blow down the mountain’s sides. The song expresses the idea that the Hanshin Tigers have already learned to endure the mountain’s blistering winds, so their opponents don’t really stand a chance. The translation we’re using here is the “official” translation, which is written in a grandiose style. Since the Tigers have such long runs of bad luck, the Rokko Oroshi has come to generally symbolize the idea of perserverence against all odds. The official translation seemed especially suitable for the way the song is used in this episode.