“Declaration of War”
Karasuno’s Victory – Onto the Finals:
It’s funny comparing this finale to what we got last season. While before Karasuno had experienced devistating loss, here most of the episode is one giant celebration. As a Haikyuu!! fan, I couldn’t have asked for a better finish to this season. I loved seeing everyone’s adorable faces sleeping on the bus (I too would be exhausted after the two games they played back-to-back), and the back and forth it allowed between Hinata and Kageyama (“My drool isn’t gross!”). But the most rewarding scene had to be when they returned to the school to see their teachers and classmates cheering them on. Finally, after years of defeat, Karasuno are making themselves a reputable name again.
Interestingly enough, most of the second half of this episode was anime original, which I was expecting. There was a particular sequence that was cut out (which may be saved for the premiere of the third season – I hope they don’t cut it out altogether!) in favour of a more fitting ending. They expanded the scenes with Hinata, Kageyama, and Yachi, which was the best three to get that extra focus. I would include Tsukki in the mix, but these three are definitely the “main characters” of the series. Hinata has developed tremendously over this past season, Kageyama has surpassed the king who feared and overpowered him, and Yachi has just been a darling. Can you remember a time where Yachi didn’t exist? Her arc in the opening episodes of the season was among my favourite of the whole series – her relationship with her mother gave us something genuine and rare – and she has been the best new addition to the cast. I look forward to the time where she can take over Kiyoko for good. I think she’ll do a fantastic job.
Seijou’s Defeat – Oikawa’s Pride:
The parts of this episode that were in the manga was the aftermath to the match. In classic Haikyuu!! fashion, Seijou’s tears came like waterfalls, except for Oikawa. It’s a shame that this is his last professional high school match, because he’s such a brilliant character. He’s entertaining enough with his charming ways, but there’s a real fire in him that comes out from time to time. His history with Ushijima makes their encounter the most powerful scene of the episode, where he promises that his volleyball career is far from over and that Ushijima should never forget his worthless pride. It’s one of my favourite moments from the manga – and while it was well adapted here, it’s a scenes that works better in print, with strong panels and aggressive artwork. Unsurprisingly, however, Ushijima sees his team as the strongest – and he’s probably right, as they’ve remained at the top of their game for three years now – which makes the prospect of them facing off against Karasuno even more exciting.
Overview – Final Impressions:
And just like that, it’s over. It only feels like a few weeks ago when I was hyped to watch the first episode of Haikyuu!!’s second season. Some people complained that the training arc went on for too long, but I wholeheartedly disagree. If it didn’t exist, or if it was even half the length it ended up, Karasuno’s improvements and victories wouldn’t have felt earned. Haikyuu!! manages to stay away from the typical overpowered Weekly Shonen Jump tropes that permeate their sports series, and that became even more evident after seeing them grow and improve as players, facing off against some of the strongest teams across the country.
My favourite arcs of this season would have to be Tsukki’s backstory, Yachi’s introduction, Ennoshita’s flashback and stepping in as the captain, and of course, Karasuno’s match against Seijou. I’ve already touched on why I loved Yachi’s arc, but Tsukishima’s flashback was the moment I (and many other) manga fans were anticipating, and it totally delivered. It was devistating but believable, and set Tsukki on a proper journey – to find out what it means to love volleyball, and to one day have that “moment”. Ennoshita’s story turned out way better than I remember it in the manga (though I remember liking it a lot back then), while the final match was just adrenaline pumping goodness to the max. There were so many times where I pushed away my chair and just screamed at the screen with coiled fists. Honestly, I can’t think of any other anime that gets my blood pumping to that degree.
But for as amazing as this past match has been, let me tell you that what awaits us is even better. We don’t know how long the third season is going to be (though I’d hazard a guess and go with 1-cour), but its working title is basically “Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa” which should give you an idea of what to expect. The Haikyuu!! anime has always delivered with its volleyball matches, so I cannot wait to see what Production I.G do with this one. It’s easily the most grand, epic, heart thumping, and gripping match of the entire series. I wouldn’t want anyone to be spoiled for the details, but ask any manga fan just how good (and exhausting) it was to read week-by-week, and you will realise the best has yet to come.
Full-length images: 22.