HAIKYU!! TO THE TOP — WEEKLY REVIEW 4

This is not even a weekly review anymore but more like an I’m-writing-it-whenever-i-can-find-the-time’ly review. I only had time this week to properly sit down and catch up with the episodes and it would be a pretty awkward review if I would only rely on the bits I remember from manga. Very much like Kenma, to quote Yaku, even if I don’t have a constant stamina I’m a bit persistent about finishing this! Let’s get down to the review.

I’ll be stating the obvious but, as teams clash to get their hands on the sweet victory, we watch not only the individual players’ struggles, shortcomings or good plays and rivalry with other team’s members but also a clash between the overall team dynamics. Karasuno-Nekoma could be summed up with surprising vs. persistent, Karasuno-Date Kou would be the spear vs. shield. Nekoma-Sarukawa is a very interesting match as well, because they are identical in terms of their training style and strategy! Sarukawa’s coach being a student of the famous Nekomata himself, knows very well what Nekoma’s weaknesses and strengths are. And their ultimate strategy is to ‘block their circulation’ by crushing the brain of Nekoma.

What better time to learn more about Kenma’s past! From the very first time we meet Kenma, we know he’s one of us, the stereotypical gamer/anime fan who prefers the comfortable confinement of their room to socialising and sweating. Even from his slouch, it’s obvious he’s a little different from the other energetic and mischievous boys like Kuroo or Bokuto. He made me say “Ahhhh, yes that’s my spirit anime character right there.” But at the same time he makes us wonder what he’s doing in a volleyball club, a team that’s well known and aiming for Nationals no less.

But before that, please take a look at my awkward son and his warm socks.

We didn’t get a clear cut answer on why his eyes glimmered like the small predator he is back when he first came across Hinata, but now we know he treats volleyball like any other game he’s playing. And Hinata is a challenge he wants to take on, on an official setting where if you lose, you lose. For good. I love how Kenma gets competitive or raises his voice and bickers with others when he wants to or thinks it’s necessary. Otherwise, he’s usually on power-saving mode, watching people carefully on the side. Very practical, if you ask me! It must be very calming and nice to hang out with him, or at least for an introvert like me. At the beginning of the episode, we hear Kuroo’s worries, wondering if he might have pushed Kenma a bit too much and he’s only continuing because of Kuroo. Kenma’s answer is “I wouldn’t continue playing if I really hated it. I just keep playing, I don’t have a definite reason to keep playing, but I also don’t have a reason to quit. Not having them either is pretty normal.

What’s brilliant about Haikyuu, as if it wasn’t good enough in other aspects, is that every character has their own reason for keeping up with the harsh training, their own perspective about what it means to be a good player or a team, why they continue even if they fail every time. Their rationale are all different, sometimes these arguments are polar opposites of each other, but for some reason each and every one of them makes sense. They are all rightful reasons to dedicate a good deal of your spare time, mental and physical energy to something so strenuous but rewarding, engaging and empowering. Not even having a reason or wavering along the way like Tsukishima is accepted as well. Everyone is welcome.

Members of all of the teams all portray a somewhat close friendship, but to me Nekoma looks like the most ‘closely bonded’ of all. This is an opinion of course, but to me they give out a feeling like they are all genuinely friends no matter the year and are a more cohesive group than the rest. I love how they are portrayed in the official merchandise.

My Favorite Moments:

1. I said everyone in Nekoma are buddies, however out of them all, my favorite dynamic is what Kuroo and Yaku has. For an outsider, Kuroo may seem savage but even he cannot topple The King, a.k.a Mr. Who Knows Nothing About Feelings Yaku Morisuke.

2. This scene! Like Kenma, I enjoy losing myself in dreams when running on a threadmill, otherwise the time just don’t pass by.

3. Constructive fights are always important in relationships! And here’s my hot take on what happened after the fight~

I hope everyone is healthy and safe these days and see you soon!

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