For the first time, I tried taking short notes while watching the episode. It was almost as annoying as I thought it would be, I frequently had to stop because I had my phone with me to write on. Next time, I’ll keep my notepad close and activate my note taking skills I honed in classes. But! Although my notes mostly consist of incoherent screeching that goes like “KIYOKO???????”, doing it came pretty handy and sped up the process.

In episode 3 of Haikyuu!! To the Top, Broken Heart, our city-boy anti and forever bodyguard of the team’s amazing manager, fiery wing spiker of Karasuno, Tanaka’s time to shine. We got to see his backstory a little bit; his friendship with Amanai Kanoka from Niiyama Girls’ and how he perceived himself over the years. We also learn how other team members, especially the current second years in Karasuno see Tanaka. His straightforward character seems to have touched everyone around him; be it his unreserved compliments to Kanoka that helped her overcome the self-consciousness she felt over her height or unwavering enthusiasm and dedication to the team when there was a lot going on with the other members and Coach Ukai’s hospitalization.

We watch as Tanaka spirals down mentally and physically during the first set of the Inarizaki match, feeling useless on the court. He tries to lift himself up by trying to succeed in scoring but as the points pile up and Karasuno is almost at the set point, Tanaka is still not back to himself. This spiraling also causes more mistakes he, otherwise, probably wouldn’t make. However, it takes only one simpleton to raise the spirits of another: Hinata praises the block Tanaka performed earlier, he himself learning quite recently that making use of yourself as a player on the court is not just about smashing the volleyball and scoring. A good block, a timely receive or forcing the opponent to hit through a certain course are all parts of a good play that leads the team to score eventually. Hinata even gains a half-compliment from Tsukishima and we all know how rare of an occasion that is!

We hear Tanaka’s short monologue, followed by his score and Karasuno’s win of the first set. The episode ends on a rather sweet and sour note, with lots of bickering between Tanaka, Tsukishima and Hinata but then there is Kanoka’s comment on being turned down by Tanaka. I also can’t wait to see more of Nekoma in the next episode!

This episode, much like the previous ones, was emotionally packed. I’m very satisfied with the attention Broken Heart got in terms of animation quality. The ball smashing scenes reminded me of 2nd season where we first watched Kyoutani’s (the Mad Dog from Seijou) in-match serve when they faced Karasuno. I gasped because I like bold lines a lot, they provide a lot of impact and accentuate the action properly, that’s probably why the scene stuck with me.

Lost myself in this loop for a good 2 minutes

When I am watching a character like Tanaka, Tanaka himself included, I often find myself admiring them, mainly because I’m an overthinker and always think of the most intricate details I can when I’m analyzing something. Looking at that straightforward and very honest approach in his relationships and the situations he found himself in, I keep noticing how hard it must be to pull off. Especially in an era where admitting you’re wrong is the deadliest sin, not being able to do something in first try is the most embarrassing or ‘uncool’ thing to happen.

Tsukishima’s blunt “But that’s actually hard to do??” speech doesn’t seem to reach him in that moment and Tanaka probably doesn’t realize that he tackled something really big in a very stressful environment. But that’s what’s good about Karasuno; it’s a balanced team in terms of personalities and full of people looking out for each other.

Next week we’ll get more Nekoma!! I screeched at the sight of Kuroo like I haven’t seen enough of him in the previous seasons, he’s one of my favorite characters in the whole Haikyuu universe. I’ll just add my favorite moments from this episode and leave you be, you’re always welcome to scream together with me!! Until then ~

My Favorite Moments

  1. Kiyoko!! This scene was just perfect, I remember feeling the same excitement when her track & field experience was animated as well. And the desparation on Tanaka’s face, my sweet summer child….

2. Finally some decent screentime of our cute narrators Suguru and Miyako!

3. I cannot say no to more frustrated Bokuto, look at him being cute : (

4. Kageyama’s save. Getting a glimpse of Sugawara in between reminded me of their double setter tactic, I loved it a lot.

5. He’s so done with the whole team in that second.

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