Haikyuu!! S2 – 20

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Whoa, this guy is taking one intense selfie there

This was one exciting episode. I mean, I was pretty hopped up on caffeine (an entire pot of oolong tea) and sugar (cake still hot from the oven)….but I’m sure even without those things increasing my blood pressure, this would have been a great episode on its own!

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Tough love or teammate abuse?

Aoba Johsai has been established as a team that’s impossible for Karasuno to surpass, even when they use every ounce of strength they have in their bodies. They’re just that good. As such, this grudge match is very different from the one-off matches because of the bitter history these two teams have together. We are constantly reminded how the wounds inflicted upon Karasuno from their first loss are still quite raw. It doesn’t take much to effectively rattle their cages.

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Before the match even starts, Oikawa begins his assault by basically pouring salt on Kageyama’s wounds (to continue with that analogy). He taunts him for not being a good setter, which reminds Kageyama of the agonizing defeat he felt. Pretty much everyone is bummed out, but Kageyama and Hinata are especially nervous since they were the ones to get truly shut down. In Hinata’s case, he got completely blocked, and that experience scared him for quite a while afterwards. Hell, he’s still scared of being shut down in this current match, hence his nerves being higher than usual. But in a way, it’s because he had such a bad experience against Aoba Johsai that he decided to take things to the next level and improve his spike. He would have never opened his eyes if he wasn’t forced to.

Hinata’s open-eyed spike is proof that Karasuno has basically opened their eyes to their flaws, learned from their loss to Aoba Johsai, and become a much better team. They have a chance now, which is a big part of what makes the game so darn exciting. Unfortunately, Oikawa’s team weren’t just twiddling their thumbs since last time either. They’ve also been training to improve their skills. Furthermore, they have a new wildcard with the addition of their mad dog player whose malicious gaze makes even Tanaka look approachable.

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His chipmunk cheeks when he does his killer serve kind of ruin the intimidation factor

Both teams have improved so much that Karasuno – despite their exponential growth – is still at a disadvantage. They’ve only recently got a rhythm going, so they’re still very rough around the edges. Plus, their fears are choking them up. Losing to the same team twice would be so heart-breaking that winning is almost a life-or-death matter for these guys. They have no choice but to win. The kind of pressure they’re feeling because of those consequences is nothing to sneeze at.

On a side note, I really liked some of the animation-related special touches used for this match. I love how Oikawa constantly switches from prettyboy mode to serious mode, and it looks great when his eyes alone tell us everything we need to know about which mode he’s in. It was especially nice to see him break out an intense juggernaut serve that almost drilled a hole into the floor. It not only was cool as hell…but it looked cool as hell! I really like when they break out the sketchy animation to show immense power and speed. The same happened when the mad dog dude went in for a spike in a way that looked more like he was in the process of brutally murdering someone. The change in animation was such a nice touch to show just how outside-the-norm these players’ talents are.

As expected, this match is great so far.

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You Can (Not) Pick Up Girls



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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