Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Anya devises a plan to help Loid’s mission. Her Hope is to further his ambitions for her to become an imperial scholar by earning a Stella for the dodgeball game. That way, Loid can get close to Damien's father, as he's the target for the mission objective.
In terms of story, there isn’t a lot of movement in this episode. But the writers reveal a lot about the characters and their motivations.
We’ve known for a while now what Anya feels toward Loid and Yor. It’s no secret that Anya craves Loid’s approval. She'll do what she can to get it. But as clever, resourceful and talented as Anya is, she hasn’t been able to scrounge up a Stella so far. So when a rumor surfaces that one can be obtained through the dodgeball game, Anya is willing to go through hellacious training under Yor, so she can get the elusive award.
Anya’s parallel character in this episode is Damien. His emotions toward his father are much the same as Anya’s. Damien lives in his older brother's shadow. And the audience can assume from what we learn that Damien's father showers his eldest son with all of the attention and approval. Damien wants the Stella, so he can be acknowledged by his father. It’s ironic that Anya and Damien's motivations for the Stellas have set them up to be rivals—doubly so, given Damien’s newfound feelings toward Anya.
Only animation can truly capture a child’s imagination. And episode 10 doesn't disappoint. It comes mainly from Anya and Damien’s point of view, which makes the episode a lot of fun. It includes insane training montages with callbacks to DBZ, Naruto and a special treat for Boondocks fans, who remember the Red Ball episode.
And once again, the animation reveals a lot about character. It shows what Anya truly thinks of her mom. Yor is strong. The audience knows that much. But to Anya, Yor is a superhero, capable of throwing a ball with such speed that it parts a pond’s water like the Red Sea. Once Anya even imagines that Yor throws a ball with such speed that it breaks a full-grown tree in half and literally reaches speeds that cause it to ignite.
And Damien is so fixated on pleasing his father that he imagines that if need be, he would climb a mountain to train for this single dodgeball game if it meant that he could earn a Stella. It shows his level of desperation to earn his dad’s approval. But it’s rivaled by his feelings for Anya. They are so strong that he risks losing out on the Stella to make sure that she isn’t injured by a throw from the manchild, "Bazooka Bill" Watkins.
This episode incorporates some of the best elements of sports and martial arts anime. It's this viewer's favorite episode so far. And that says a lot because every episode that the writers, artists and animators put in front of the audience each week is brilliant.