Haikyuu!! S2 – 18


Encouraging, as always.

Happy lunar new year everyone! This episode is full of crying boys which is pretty much the best way to celebrate that I can think of. Enjoy!


Chikara was only just starting to strut his stuff as a leader last week. This episode saw his complete transformation from benchwarmer to an integral part of the team. Everyone welcomed him with open arms, but Chikara himself felt like he didn’t fit in at the beginning. Afterall, he hardly had the chance to play with these guys. Plus, you can’t help but feel like extra baggage when literally the only reason you’re playing is because someone else got hurt and you had to replace them. Because of this, it took a while for Chikara to think of himself as anything more than just a substitute for Daichi.

He’s not a perfect replacement, but Chikara does a damn good job. Not only does he hit a fair number of balls, he also takes on all the leader-like responsibilities such as cheering his teammates on and forming his own strategies. It’s a lot more than one would expect from a guy stepping on the court in the middle of a game. Sure, he misses a few balls, but overall he does an amazing job. I like that after his own strategy worked that he started to really get into it, and was able to keep up with even the best players on the team. As Ukai says, before that he was just acting as a stand-in and nothing more. It’s very clear to me that Chikara will be the new leader when Daichi graduates, and I feel like Karasuno will be in good hands with him (also he looks almost exactly the same as Daichi so we’re not missing much once he leaves).


In contrast to Chikara, we have Freckles, who still has a long way to go. He’s been training hard, but he hasn’t had a breakthrough quite yet. Again, to reiterate what Ukai said, Chikara was able to build his confidence by carrying out a successful play but Freckles has only been faced with failure (and the resulting depression from this). Can you imagine how Chikara would have felt if he missed that ball he dived for after specifically telling his team to receive in a certain arrangement? That would have killed his resolve to be a leader, or at least seriously injured it. Freckles has only experienced these self-esteem crushing moments thus far!

His first serve (during the first game he played in) was a complete miss that traumatized him. His most recent attempt this game was not much better, as he copped out at the last second. Freckles hasn’t had that feel-good experience yet to boost his confidence, so now he’s been conditioned to feel nervous every single time he’s on the court. It’s tough. He needs more chances playing to get those good experiences, but then again, those past failures might make him choke up any future attempts. Then you fall into a vicious cycle of failing all the time because you’re so caught up trying to avoid making the same mistakes.


Midlife volleyball crises

It’s tough. Freckles just needs one successful game and I’m sure he’d feel a lot better…but at this point, I don’t think he’s capable of doing that. Compared to Chikara, who stepped up to the plate, he’s still not ready. Interestingly enough, Chikara felt like his performance wasn’t quite up to snub despite everything he achieved. It’s surprising to me that he cried in the bathroom after doing so well and being praised by Nishinoya and Daichi (which means a lot!). But then again, players are always hard on themselves even during the best of times. It’s true that Chikara has to improve his fundamentals more before he can properly replace Daichi, and that future-captain responsibility looming overhead must be stressful…I think it got to him.

Interestingly enough, next week isn’t about Karasuno. I like when sports anime highlight some of the other teams for a change, because the rivals can be just as important as the protagonist team. Let’s see who will end up facing Karasuno next!


There can only be one Little Giant copycat!


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.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

Leave a Reply