Well, you’re still getting it. It appears that I’m on hiatus? Even though I have many works in progress, I always get greedy and start writing another thing. It really is a bad habit and I want to change that so I’m trying to hit the brakes, especially in the fanfiction area. I have a couple of multi-chapter stories and requests piling up along with the stress in real life. This is something I wrote in between, the least I can do is to post it here.
My next post here will be on fictional crushes and our engagement with fiction (I’ve read other bloggers’ posts on the matter and want to offer my opinion) and I’m doing academic reading on the subject, though it’s not a frequently covered topic. I’m not sure when, but I will definitely write about it in a lengthy post, I can promise that.
Now, I never officially played volleyball but I’ve been practicing a Japanese martial art (kendo) for five years and I believe the experience gave me a beautiful insight on sports anime, helping me to evaluate the concept in a different point of view.
I’ve come across a lot of posts in the interwebz dissing Nohebi, and as a disclaimer, of course everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, I will try to elaborate my idea on Nohebi, actually doing nothing unethical.
Before anything else, it needs to be acknowledged that Nohebi’s power, talent and style are on par with Nekoma; they are neither inferior, nor superior. It is stated both by Nekoma and Nohebi in the manga. That’s why, to get a step ahead of their rivals, Nohebi behaves in a way that will get both referees’ and audience’s attention focused on them. Also, the way they put pressure on Nekoma, as Taketora’s sister puts:
1. Nohebi targeting the weak :
I’m not even sure why I’m explaining it but this is basically what every team does. Just like Sugawara, targeting Kyoutani when he’s serving in Aoba Jousai match, like Iwaizumi targeting Yamaguchi or numerous other examples that can be found, that is what a player, or the team generally does; pinpointing the other’s weaknesses and carving their own path through. That’s exactly why a team sits and thoroughly watches their next opponent’s match before facing them; to get a sense of their style and weak points. What’s Nohebi playing at here, is Taketora’s and Lev’s easily excitable characters and if they cave in, they will be the one who put themselves in a pinch.
Which is extremely relatable because also in kendo, that frustrated and hasty state of mind is one of the things you take advantage of in a match. Purposefully cornering the other to commit a foul themselves or their need to taking back a point after losing one but rushing in the process is always in favor of the opponent. And, if you ask me, that is the essence of a match because what you do is not only physical, but also mental. Even though these mental aspects and the emphasis on fairness are not as primary as it is in kendo, it still plays a role in volleyball in the form of ‘fair play’.
The difference in between also lies here. In kendo, the main emphasis is always on the development and reiho, the respect you show to your opponent, and the road you take rather than the result. The ethical codes and philosophy behind the concepts are always the most important elements. Overly competitive behavior and actions during matches are frowned upon. This is not the case for volleyball. Yes, there are still ethical codes and regulations, the concept of ‘fair play’ exists. Yet, the main focus is always winning. The result. That’s the biggest driving force behind every team, the victory. Nekoma is no exception, during their match with Fukurodani Kuroo articulated that they needed to take advantage of Bokuto’s dejected mode, otherwise if he were to get his engines working, it will be bad for Nekoma. Kuroo knows his opponent and takes advantage of his weakness.
Thus, “All is fare in love and war.” applies to every team, not only Nohebi.
Now here’s a little story to set an example. Two years ago, a very high ranked woman practitioner came to our country for a women’s seminar and tournament matches were also a part of the sessions. Evaluation of a point in kendo is very complex so I won’t go into full detail however, one needs not only the correct technique but also to show one’s ‘fighting spirit’ by shouting.
The advice she gave me on my matches were that it was a good trait that my voice was strong but it was always high and at the same level, that would cause referees to have hard time discerning a valid point. So I should keep my voice at a normal level, then go full during the moment of impact to increase the effect and to impress the referees. She used to the term ‘to wake the referees up’.
Yes, their senses are sharp and they are able to discern a valid point and a strong resolve, YET the fact that they are human and can make mistakes or get carried away is internalized by everyone so even if they sometimes raise their flags and assign a point that may not be a point happens in tournaments.
Of course in the ideal setting, the referee has to function perfectly, without getting impressed by the actions of neither side. However, as Daishou puts above, the perfection is impossible and there will definitely be times when the situation is like a flipped coin that can fall on the either side. In those times, if you are occupying the referee’s mind, the tides will turn to your favor. All those bowing and declaring faults helps Nohebi during those extreme situations.
For the specific referee in this game; it is not clear if he hears Nohebi riling up the Nekoma players or not. In my opinion, those sentences like “Number 4 can only hit cross spikes.” or such are no different than the exchange of smirks and tongue clicks when some player outplays the other and can be seen in any other match. Be it verbal or physical.
Some rules are pretty basic and regardless of referee they hold true, however there are also some situations that depends on the individuality, the level of tournament or the progress (whether it’s the early stages in the tournament or the final). It is common to look over the tiny faulty points to not to disturb the flow of the game and let the teams or players handle the situation themselves at the last stages in the tournament. I think it’s possible for referee to hear the callings of Nohebi but only shoots a warning gaze when it gets really loud (as in Taketora’s situation).
3. Taketora getting spiked in the face
Was it intentional or not? Mm, I’ll go with not intentional here.
In this situation, it is seen that Daishou is looking at Taketora the split second before the spike however, in that late stage of your motion, I think it’s impossible for you to stop yourself even though you can address the situation. It’s something I experience quite often during a match. Knowing the result is not enough to stop yourself in mid-motion.
For referees, it’s hard to discern an intentional behavior from the unintentional one, the players know best, feel best because they are the ones out on the court and facing the other. So, if Taketora himself says that it’s unintentional and his fault to step too far in, I think we should trust him on the judgement.
The only attitude of the referee I cannot make sense is the glare (?) he shot at Kuroo after hurting his finger in Chapter 204. I wonder if he glared at him because Kuroo would try to stay on court even though he was hurt?
Is it a glare? Is it not?
Yeah, long story short; I think Nohebi is playing their cards knowing full well of the circumstances of a game and takes advantage of it pretty well. If we examine the points they get, they are all points they earn themselves. Only two of the points that are addressed by people as “shady” (players clouding the view of the referees) are not in a game changer level. As I stated above, Nohebi’s actions are not unethical, just their way of getting themselves the upper hand when they face a team who are in their caliber.
There will definitely be teams or players that one doesn’t approve or like. I remember a discussion with another visiting sensei (btw, both of the people I talked about have various trophies and are players in their country’s national teams) about a player in his country he played the final in the national tournament and lost against. His opponents had an attitude that could be frowned upon but still playing within the rules. I asked him whether it was unethical and bad manners for him to play like that, he retorted with a flat “No.”, explained that everyone had a different approach towards victory, he only needed to find a way to defeat an opponent like that and mind his own business. I think this also applies to this match.
We all know which team will be the victorious one. Just wanted to voice out an opinion and say we shouldn’t hate the snakes.
Peace out yo!~~~
(⁎ ✪͡ ◡͐✪͡ ⁎)ﾉ”