HAIKYU!! TO THE TOP — WEEKLY REVIEW 8

Another fun episode! Matches are nice to watch with all the cool movements and close up, well done animation sequences but there’s a different joy I get when I know more about what brought the characters today and what shaped their beliefs or mindset. And while I’m not really fond of children, anime children are more than okay since they are more cute than they are annoying. Plus, I just see them on screen. We saw all of the Karasuno 1st years when they were in junior high in previous seasons and now it’s time to add variety to the list!

Episode 7 starts with two things I really love, first honest Tsukishima and then sassy Tsukishima. I agree with Sugawara that he honed his skills and it’s now an art form. I respect that. He’s no inferior to Suna when it comes to irritating opposing team members (plus Hinata and Kageyama). I enjoyed how we first see his hands calmly resting on his lap, then slightly slouched shoulders, and lastly his determined face.

And a bit of his “Can you NOT???” face

He knows too well that he doesn’t need to be all cool by himself, shutting down each and every spike with 100% efficiency. He can’t do that, but he can be smart in his plays and rely on his teammates for the rest. Finally, we see Tsukishima’s constant blocking of Suna’s crosses came to fruition and Daichi crowns the moment with a good receive. This little scheme finally downs on Suna and naturally, he is only happy when he’s the one tricking others. He tries one last jab at Tsukishima by thanking him, our blond artisan doesn’t skip a beat in thanking him back. What a well mannered kid.

Now, it’s finally time for our pinch server Kinoshita to hop onto the court. He’s been doing his mental jump serves while waiting on the side but now it’s his chance to shine… or that’s what we expect. He has no problem with the serve but Inarizaki manages to receive and score almost in an instant. At that moment I thought about how Furudate really didn’t let him have it easy. All of the characters, one skill or another, have something that can be polished and showcased but that moment never comes immediately. Or easily. Kinoshita not only feels responsible towards the 3rd years, but he just wants his own spotlight, no matter how short.

Our attention is swiftly shifted towards Nishinoya’s monologue on being shy, fearing almost everything that moves and his grandfather’s behavior towards him when he was a kid. Asahi’s dumbfounded reaction only makes sense, because that seems like the exact opposite of Nishinoya we know now. But as Noya continues to reveal how his grandfather pushed him beyond his comfort zone, we also learn how he encouraged to seek help from others if he cannot manage to tackle the hardship in front of him. This is some high level tough love, although I’m glad it gave Noya the push he needed. Facing Atsumu’s serve once more and not being able to move in fear, Kinoshita supports Noya and finally has his ‘moment’.

Not enough Haikyu flashbacks you said? Wait no more, we’re diving right in the extreme suffering Alan had to endure very early in life, a.k.a Miya twins. They are on constant squabbling mode, without much brain-to-mouth filtering. We watch the twins interact with others, pick out their positions, continue to hone their skills, compete in every chance they get, fight when the opportunity arise and grow into fearsome players they are today. A twin, I’m guessing, is the best and the worst thing to have, simultaneously. Osamu is clearly the biggest comfort and drive in Atsumu’s life. He is the only person who is willing to go lengths on Atsumu’s wish, but also the only person who can openly call him an ‘abusive, tyranical pig’. Atsumu’s frustration with Osamu is understandable, but their talk about the youth camp is foreshadowing their respective futures. It was a very serene moment compared to any other Miya twin moment we’ve had. These flashbacks lead us to that perfect setting and spiking from the twins that leave Kageyama speechless. However, he’s one of those monsters who only get happy at the thought of challenge and be glad.

Writing this post made me realize once again that Haikyu has exceptional balance because no matter how you look at it it’s an emotional roller coaster. The story moves from Tsukishima’s build up to Kinoshita’s missed receive to Nishinoya’s childhood to Kinoshita again and we move on to Miya twins’ and Alan’s funny childhood moments and growth, yet I never feel tired or differences in emotional flow never feel awkward or misplaced. I can only watch in awe because it becomes more astonishing when I think about how this is a weekly published series that went on for 8 years.

I will leave you with the screenshots of my favorite moments and a smol angry Kageyama I made because he’s happy to be in the nationals. See you next review!

Hands up if you thought Noya’s grandfather was a Danny DeVito dupe.
Having it rough since 5th grade, my boy…..

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