OP2: 「FLY HIGH!!」 by BURNOUT SYNDROMES
Nothing Beats a Good ol’ Montage:
It feels like forever ago since the last episode of Haikyuu!! aired, even if it’s only been two weeks in reality. While all the new premieres are trying to nab the spotlight, Haikyuu!! sticks to exactly what it’s good at: being Haikyuu!! That includes ridiculous comedy, gradual character development, and a whole lot of fist-pumping goodness. While the action was put on-hold this week once again, it was all to set-up for the matches that are going to come. If you read into the OP and ED enough (which are both awesome – though I prefer the visuals to the songs), you can pretty much piece together the rest of this season, so I would suggest that anime-only fans try not read too heavily into them. But what you can take out of it is that it’s going to be all volleyball from here on out. The past two episodes gave us some simple matches, but this is when it gets real, when any of the powerhouse teams of the region could be kicked out at any point. This is likely to be the last breather from the court action in a long time (and that’s including what material will carry over into the inevitable third season).
As we’ve come to expect, Haikyuu!! knows how to do a great montage. I loved seeing everyone finally pulling off their moves that they’ve been practicing since the Tokyo training camp. It’s not came easy to them, but that’s for the better. While this past cour may have felt slow to some, I stand by that it provided much-needed character development for many of the cast, introduced a bunch of new loveable faces, and makes it more believable that Karasuno now stands a chance against the bigger teams.
Tsukishima Development Continues:
Remember when I said Tsukki was pretty much going to be promoted to a main character? I wasn’t kidding – he really is. It’s a good time to be a Tsukki fan right now, so if you aren’t already, I suggest you jump aboard the train and enjoy the ride. He came into this season the least developed of the main cast, yet 14 episodes in and he is the character we know most about – more than Hinata and Kageyama, I would argue. It’s nice to see that he’s making amends with his brother after he lied about his high school volleyball days, and is helping him become the better player. He brings up his glasses – though that’s not mentioned again in this episode – before inviting his brother to join him at his university’s volleyball team. And Tsukishima accepts!
While Tsukki has grown a lot this season, this episode felt like that extra push he needed before stepping on the court. We got plenty of awesome closeups of him looking disdainful or smirking at his own success. Hinata questioned him about blocking Ushijima, which Tsukki dismissed at first, before going off and learning boy to improve his block by asking the coach, watching stronger players in action, and improving his own ability. It felt good to see that one guy get his spike sent back, while Tsukki couldn’t help but grin. It wasn’t quite his ‘moment’, but we’re certainly getting there.
Overview – What’s Next?:
This episode felt like the last stop before we head off on a 8-hour bus journey without any bathroom breaks. We’ve got plenty of breathers up until now, but with the qualifier tournament up ahead and all the big teams on the scene, it’s time for business. It was funny to see the bathroom joke was kept going, this time perhaps worse than ever before when pretty much everyone arrived on the scene within the space of two minutes. But as Ushijima points out (with absolute confidence), there can only be one team that advances and get to play in nationals in Tokyo. This is Karasuno’s last shot for the Battle at the Garbage Dump – but if they’re to reach that point, they’ve got plenty of powerhouses up ahead. First up is the playboys and party team, Johzenji.
ED2: 「Hatsunetsu」 by tacica