HAIKYU! TO THE TOP — WEEKLY REVIEW 10

I typed a whole sappy paragraph about the season coming to an end. And then I deleted it. Because you know… positive vibes?

Just kidding. Actually, I have been preoccupied and my brain sometimes feels like it’s been deep-fried. Then, it gets soggy like some forgotten fries on a tray. And for some reason, my brain’s reaction to that is to think more sad thoughts (= Haikyuu is ending, take that!) because there’s no better timing. So I’m replacing that with positive things. I’m someone who likes calm, thus my social media presence is 80% RT’ed fanart and memes, the rest is either incoherent, happy screaming about the things I like or my hot takes on stuff. Well, it’s always fun seeing the characters I love through other artists’ imagination.

Okay, the title promised a review and I’m getting to it. The episode opens up with Kita sending a mental high five with “I understand what you’re going through.” kind of meaning to Daichi. He doesn’t react of course but he’s a captain of a handful team himself, so he knows. Look at the court; Suna and Tsukishima continue being up each other’s *coughs* noses over the net, and then it’s Kageyama with him or we know Tsukishima doesn’t need anyone else, he has himself to argue. With pent-up fatigue and anxiety, of course it’s handful. Thankfully they are a team, with Asahi’s powerful service ace, his team members continue to keep their energy up.

His second service, however, is gracefully saved by Kita and he’s not only preoccupied with the ball, but also with his excited underclassmen, understanding with a single glance that they are up to something. It’s a reverse version of Kageyama and Hinata’s weird quick. At this point, it’s a regular occurrence with Karasuno’s opponents, they see the quick and, with varying levels of success, they copy it. During an official match, no less. Even though the twins fail while being all cute and goofy, Kita is ready for them. The captains continue their mental exchange on their positions within the team dynamic through volleyball.

However, an accomplished team like Inarizaki is not doing things just because, they continue being smart when having fun. Atsumu uses Karasuno’s expectations about their plays against them and squeezes in a setter dump after tricking the blockers and clearing the way for Alan’s spike. It doesn’t feel like Karasuno have managed to take back the reigns of the momentum yet, but they are still holding on strong. Between careless mistakes due to fatigue and Tsukishima’s very relatable yearning for carbs, Tanaka’s comment about him swallowing his pride we heard in the previous episode finally gains context. He fears pushing his limits as if it’s uncharted territory. He requests that Kageyama cut back on the number of sets, not expecting a negative answer from the younger setter.

When there’s a blunt character in a series, you know their words carry weight because they don’t necessarily filter them out of kindness. If it’s someone like Kageyama, who is an amazing setter and an all-rounded player, says you are needed, you are bound to feel good. Up until Kageyama’s talk with Coach Ukai, I thought he and Atsumu were very much alike, especially in their hardheadedness and not caring what others think about their behavior. However, seeing him taking Atsumu’s ‘goody two shoes’ comment at heart and consulting Ukai about it, kind of warmed my heart that he was trying to get better at something he thinks he’s lacking. He is good at reading others’ physical conditions and assessing the match in split-second moments. When he lets the urge to control another player and lets them face their boundaries, we see Kageyama reborn into a serene king. 

As Tanaka himself says, the only thing left for him to do is to respond with all his might. A clean line shot grants an important one point for Karasuno, and signals that he’s not solely a cross shot type of guy. Atsumu, and to a certain extent Oikawa, is not exactly happy about this Kageyama v.2.0 because his tyrannical old self was what’s keeping his power in check. Who knows what will he become in near future now?

As we near the end of the episode, two members exchange remarks with Kita on how they’d love to be as talented as Kageyama. This may also apply to Atsumu. Kita offers his observations and personal thoughts as a response. ‘Talented’ is a word that is mainly used to describe artists or athletes. For example, we don’t use them for scientists although that’s, in a way, a creative process as well. 

Nevertheless, I witnessed the same discussion in artist communities where people who are just starting usually tend to comment by saying how talented the said artist is and how they wished they’d born with a similar disposition, and through their reply, I can somehow feel the artist’s eyes twitching. ‘If a certain something looks easy from the outside, it’s either easy to do or the person doing it has mastered it’ is a common point of view. And up until an artist or athlete can get a sense of what might work for them and what might not, it’s just lots of strain and frustration, hours of training poured into their work. That’s why, I’m guessing, classical musicians usually state that they have a love/hate relationship with their instrument. It was also remarkable of Kita adding that it’s not just about the number of repetitions, but changing the course or employing an unconventional way of looking. 

Another episode of Haikyuu comes to an end with wondrous ideas to ponder on. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Leaving with my favorite moments, take care and see you soon ~

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