Haikyuu!! S2 – 14

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This is why you shouldn’t take steroids, kids

I doubt many of you were expecting this post to be here amongst the first impressions. Neither was I, actually! I originally asked to blog Divine Gate (post coming soon!). I ended up hating it. So instead of driving myself crazy blogging a show I don’t like, I asked to switch to Haikyuu!!, a show I know I love. I hope you love it too (or at least like it) or else…er…I’m not sure why you’re here other than to wonder why the well Metanorn is suddenly covering this show halfway through the season.

Some things you should know about me before we begin. 1) I love training arcs almost more than actual matches so this season has been heaven for me. 2) My favourite character is Yamaguchi, but I refuse to call him anything but Freckles. This is the only time you’ll see me use his real name unless you guys somehow trick me into doing so in the comments. 3) Tsukishima is my second favourite character and because he got a lot of screentime I’m going to ignore literally everything else that happened and talk about him.

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His reaction to winning and losing is almost the same

Tsukishima was a very talented player when he started playing for Karasuno. With height on his side, he didn’t have to exert much effort to become a force to be reckoned with. But that was then and this is now. Karasuno has been evolving at such a rapid rate that Tsukishima’s lukewarm efforts are not enough to keep him at the same level as his teammates. His natural talents are being squandered because he isn’t working as hard as those with disadvantages are. Case and point, Hinata worked his butt off so much that even though he’s short and sucks at a lot of the basics in volleyball, he’s now a star player on the team. Tsukishima has all the potential in the world, but he’s just not using it.

At first, it was tempting to get mad at Tsukishima for being so darn lazy. There’s nothing I hate more when someone in a team sport doesn’t put forth their full effort in practices. It just brings the morale of the whole team down. Tsukishima’s huge attitude problem didn’t make him very easy to forgive either. However, we quickly learned that his lack of effort had a reason behind it.

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Don’t bully the bully!


Tsukishima is absolutely terrified of failure. This turning point happened after seeing his brother shamefully benched after he bragged about being the ace. Tsukishima felt that no amount of effort he put forth would ever be good enough. His brother was proof that even with hard work, some people are too gifted to ever surpass. He believes that  some players are so innately gifted that they might as well be in another league. Tsukishima internalizes this concept so deeply that he’s constantly bracing himself for defeat. He always assumes he will lose, that was he will never be disappointed. He always assumes he’s the inferior player, that way he will never be surpassed. If he gets benched too, then he’ll have seen it coming a long time ago since he has no real confidence in himself.

I really appreciated seeing his past with his brother, as it made me understand why he became like this. I’m also glad this his deep-seated, multiple issues weren’t immediately remedied by Freckles shouting at him in the middle of the night a few episodes back. This is something that will take a long time for Tsukishima to get over. He has to build up the courage to actually believe he can win. That may mean he will get hurt sometimes when he loses, but he needs that bravery to allow himself to go all out. It’s like he uses 70% of his effort so he has a scapegoat in case he loses. He can say “oh, I didn’t really try, so, it’s not too embarrassing that I lost.” His fear of total failure holds him back.

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Thankfully, Tsukishima is starting to get better. He actually swallowed his pride and asked his coach for advice! The extra practice matches with his brother’s team also seems to be helping him a lot. As his brother says, Tsukishima simply hasn’t had that special moment that makes him love volleyball. Until he does, he may not be able to understand why it’s worth risking his pride to try so hard against devilishly skilled opponents when there’s a large chance of losing. He needs just a little bit of something more to be able to make the change and work as hard as his teammates. He’s so close! I can’t wait for that moment.

Of course, even when that happens, nothing will change his smug attitude. When he made progress by being able to block an adult, his reaction wasn’t shimmery-eyed glee like Hinata, but the douchiest smirk one could imagine. It was fantastic. Like Kageyama, he’s learning to be nicer to others, but certain habits just won’t be kicked so easily.

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The biggest difference I see between Tsukishima and Kageyama is where their pride stems from. Kageyama is genuinely narcissistic, as he thinks his skills are above-par (and they kind of are). His character arc is partially about learning to come out of his inward-focused, “I’m so awesome” shell and learn about empathy. Part of this requires him to ask for setter help from Oikawa and his coach, something that damages his pride. Tsukishima, on the other hand, has a very fragile pride. If anything, he’s like a bully who teases others but gets incredibly upset whenever someone else points out his weaknesses. He has a very low self-esteem. Unexpectedly so. His pride is more of a defense mechanism that protects him what his brother did – trying so hard only to get benched in the end. So he maintains his composure and never gets too emotionally involved in matches or practices. But now he’s learning to build real confidence that will let him actually believe he can beat these other players. Part of that involves him asking others for help, which is just as much of a jaw-dropper as Kageyama asking for advice or scouting the competition.

I can’t wait to see how Tsukishima continues to grow, because the rest of the team is eagerly waiting for him to catch up. We may see a transformation even as soon as the next match!

I selfishly ranted about Tsukishima a lot, but rest assured, I will talk about everyone else as the series progresses. I know I missed a lot since I’m suddenly blogging this halfway through season 2, but I also know that I still have a lot of posts in the future. I have to pace myself. Sports anime tend to drag things out during matches, so I want to make sure I don’t overexert myself in one post and then have nothing to say next week.

See you next time!

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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2 Responses to “Haikyuu!! S2 – 14”

  1. Kyokai says:

    I LOVE THIS SHOW! So, I am glad you are covering it.

    Tsukki has come a long way from being just a misunderstood bully. It’s good to see how he’s getting inspired from Shoyo, even when he doesn’t want to be.

    I’m all about recognising one’s potential so it’s great to see all the Karasuno players shaping up, who are still in the process of making themselves better. The journey counts and I am tuned in till the end!

    • Overcooled says:

      Haha thanks, I’m glad to be covering it too ;D

      Tsukishima and Hinata are such opposites that it’s always interesting to see them interact. It’s like watching a hyper puppy play with a sloth.

      Gotta love a good underdog story!

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