“The Absolute Limit Switch”
The Best Match Yet?:
It’s a great time to be a Haikyuu!! fan. Not only was this one of the most thrilling (and rewarding) episodes to date, but we’ve already got a third season confirmed for the end of the year. Get hyped! Now, where do I begin with this episode? It was pretty much a dream come true – classic Haikyuu!!, yet even more adrenaline-pumped than usual. I think it would be fair to say this is the best match of the series, with Karasuno and Seijou’s first tournament match being a contender as well (I love that surprise ending still to this day – no one saw that coming). Perhaps the outcome for this rematch was more obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. While last week’s main content was off the court, every bit of volleyball action this week was sheer brilliance – so impressive I didn’t want to blink in case I missed anything.
I loved that literally every player got the oppertunity to shine. There’s too many to list them all, but some that stood out to me were: Daichi’s repeatedly impressive defence and leadership, Suga going all out and coming in at just the right time, Asahi delivering a few powerful spikes, Tanaka and Tsukki continuing last week’s strategy, Yamaguchi’s chance to score a point, Noya cheering with absolute passion, Hinata eyeing up his opponents in awe, and his combo with Kageyama coming together wonderfully at the very end. This season has been more focused on developing the characters, showing snippets of their past, and allowing them to improve as players and teammates – so this was the natural conclusion, and it felt so sweet to see that ball slap past Oikawa’s save, as Karasuno won the game and progressed to the finals. And for the record, I was pacing my room and screaming with excitement for most of this episode – especially the last five minutes. That was play after play after play, teasing us right up until Hinata got his oppertunity to prove his worth.
Seijou’s Defeat – Oikawa’s Premonitions:
While Karasuno were impressive throughout this match, it’s hard not to recognise how powerful Seijou are – Oikawa especially. He is truly a force to be reckoned with, but seeing him at his weakest – when Kageyama had him on his knees, looking up in defeat – it was almost like Oikawa’s life flashed before his eyes. We saw scenes from middle school to now: him losing to Shiratorizawa, him not being a naturally gifted player but instead one that has trained himself to be as good as he can be, his earlier encounters with Kageyama, and not their showdown here. And with that, it all makes sense why Oikawa resents Kageyama so much. After losing before, he saw Kageyama as a true adversary, even from the early days. It all builds up perfectly to that moment where Oikawa has to accept there is a limit to how far he can improve – yet whether he has reached that limit yet is left unanswered.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Karasuno won! They did it! While this episode was brimming with incredible action that no other sports anime could compete with, the word I would used to describe this episode would be ‘rewarding’. We’ve been building up to this moment, saw characters struggle and push through their difficulties and differences in order to reach this point. And, as I’ve said before, it feels perfectly natural. While I do feel this second cour hasn’t been the best the series has to offer (though certain episodes were brilliant), without the training of the first cour, it wouldn’t have felt like Karasuno earned their improvements. They trained hard and we got to know them all even more because of it.
In a way, this is the perfect end to the first ‘part’ of Haikyuu!!, as Karasuno’s rivalry with Seijou is now over, and they came out on top in the end. Shiratorizawa lies ahead now – a team that has seems more legend than reality. Even Seijou was never able to beat them, so this will be the chance for Karasuno to use everything they’ve learned and make their way to nationals. With only one episode left, we’re likely to get a slower epilogue, before we return in Fall with the third season. I personally think the announcement came too early, as it would mean at least a 2+ year wait for the fourth season. But at least we won’t have to wait too long to see Karasuno’s potential put to the test.