Saori was planning to retire after London? I didn't know that.
But yes, there definitely is a lot of leadership coming from Araki that Kimura lacks. Even when she was off the court, Araki was an effective captain and helped motivate her team. I really hope she comes back.
By the way, is there a reason that Iwasaka is not called back to the NT? Is it Mannabe's choice or her own? Also Ageo has a tall MB "Jackie" Matsumoto at 188cm, I have never seen her play myself but does she look promising for the NT? I really hope the team does not lose all of its taller players because lack of block really hurts them recently and the defense cannot keep up.