I had no idea what to write about this episode apart from just typing the word ‘marvelous’ and that would be the whole review. If I was an accomplished contemporary artist, I could run away with that but I’m not. So, I’m typing more words about this marvelous episode of Haikyu!
Before I get into it though, the season is ending and Atsumu is still doing that ‘shutting the cheering squad’ fist when he’s serving, and I wonder…. he could be one of those very few people who would look cool doing something that embarrassing. I certainly couldn’t pull it off, not even once. And he does that every time, with confidence! Hats off to the king of not caring one bit!
Pace-wise, Monster’s Ball was much faster than the previous episodes and I held my breath more often. We would get flashbacks or team member banters between the bits of the actual game and those sweet moments would cool me down, only to throw me onto the court once again when the moment ends. We still got some comments from Karasuno’s previous opponents, the neighborhood association, or the players on the court but still, I felt like it wasn’t enough of a breather. I’m not stating this as a problem, however. On the contrary, I thought it mirrored perfectly what Karasuno and Inarizaki were going through.
Both the reviews I’ve been reading here and people talking about it on Twitter, all mention how pretty the close-up eye animations were throughout the whole season. I will say “YES!” and raise that with the eye movement of blockers during rallies when they are close to the net. It’s so delightful to watch and see what they take notice of. I would like to add hands/fingers to the list as well and hope I won’t come off as creepy. It’s just pleasant, watching athletic bodies in motion.
Another bit I appreciated this season is the lighting choice for Inarizaki. Considering their connection to the shrine and the gods, when the light source is under the players, it gives their expressions a very ominous feeling. Like those nights when you put a flashlight under your chin and tell ghost stories. Scary, indeed.
We witness really good and high level plays from both teams and get to hear them singing praises to the player showcasing it. In their heads, though. They’d rather drop the ball than to say it out loud. One good receive after another good block and Asahi’s polished spike with shifted timing leads Karasuno to their long-awaited break. It doesn’t last for long when Atsumu once again plays with Karasuno’s, and even Osamu’s, expectations and Suna scores. Kageyama, with his setter dump, doesn’t take long to answer Atsumu. Soon, both teams gain speed in their reactions along with the desire ‘to be the hero’, cheers from the spectators, and exhaustion sinking in.
I loved the next couple of minutes immeasurably. I felt their desperation with the screen closing in, their cries and hurried movements, Ukai’s frantic cries from the bench, and a warm “Alright!” from Hinata, usually the most desperate of them all. For 20 seconds everything is silent and calm. Just the sound of the ball makes during contact and then the music softly enters. It was such a cathartic scene! Twins pull off a perfect ‘weird quick’ of their own but in the end, no one understands the quick better than their creators.
As you can see, I’m not articulate enough to fully convey what the episode made me feel. I sound like Hinata trying to describe a spike with gwaaahh‘s or swhoooosshhh‘s but I’m glad Tsukishima ended the episode with a poetic monologue. Next week is the final episode, we’ll probably see Karasuno interacting with Nekoma since the Battle of the Trash Heap is finally happening in 2021. If you missed it, the 5th season was greenlit and will be on air next year. Character interactions that don’t necessarily serve the main plot are always fun to watch, especially if they are written well like Haikyu is. With these bittersweet emotions, I can’t wait for tonight!
As always, thank you for reading, and see you around!