Haikyuu!! S2 23 – 24

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The more I watch Haikyuu!!, the more I want to play volleyball again. But then again, it will never be as dramatic as this.

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Not much has changed

I love the way this match has been alternating between Aoba Johsai-centric episodes and Karasuno-centric episodes. Following that pattern, episode 23 is about how the Mad Dog left and then came back to the team. Basically, he was such a loose cannon that everyone would constantly complain about him in hushed (yet audible) tones behind his back. It’s not surprising a guy like him would be hard to trust when he’s got a short temper both on and off the court. However, he’s still human. Hearing his teammates talk about him as more of a liability than part of the team was painful. It’s hard to believe he’d be the sensitive type, but the felt so ostracized that he left the team and started skulking off to another gym to practice.

I kind of wish we heard more of the Mad Dog’s internal monologue for this episode, because despite knowing his story, it’s hard to know exactly how he feels about all this. Sure, all his emotions come through on his face, but we miss learning about more nuanced thoughts from him since he rarely ever speaks. For example, to explain why he loves volleyball, they just show him gawking at a cool play in a volleyball match as a kid. That gets the main point across, but does little to convey the intricacies of why that struck him so deeply. Why would seeing a cool match as a kid make him so motivated that he would practice doggedly (no pun intended, I swear) day in and out, even without a team? Is volleyball all this guy has? Does he have no friends otherwise? How does he feel now that he’s returned to Aoba Johsai? I still feel such a distance from him that I’m still more comfortable calling him Mad Dog than Kiyotani.

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Having a team that loves you even when you’re a punk is great

The Mad Dog’s backstory didn’t go as in-depth as I would like, especially since it followed up the complex story of Yamaguchi’s rise to fame last episode. However, it was still a great lens to look at the match from. Watching him get roughed up by this lanky-looking benchwarmer was one of the episode highlights for me. I think very few people were willing to tell Mad Dog his faults to his face, so this is kind of refreshing for him to not have people whisper behind his back. Well, as refreshing as being pinned against a wall can be. The real clincher for him was having Oikawa put his full trust in him despite his shortcomings. That was exactly what Mad Dog needed to feel like part of the team. Who knows…maybe now he’ll start talking more, or at least not snap at his teammates so often.

Episode 24 took a completely different approach to the match, giving both sides an even amount of attention for what felt like a spectacular 10/10 finale. I don’t know why I always watch this show before bed, because episode 24 got me so excited I wanted to run around the block until I collapsed. It was another phenomenal episode of Haikyuu!! that took an element that was built up way back in season 1 and finally brought it full circle. Karasuno’s got their revenge for their devastating loss to Aoba Johsai in season 1…using the exact same move that caused them to lose last time.

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Eyes wiiiide open now

Karasuno has improved so much that the “exact same move” now has an entirely different meaning. In RPG terms, they cast the same fireball spell, but now they’re at level 99 instead of 50, so it did way more damage. Their training paid off and allowed them to defeat their rivals…something we’ve all been waiting for. It just feels so damn good to have Karasuno win after being the underdogs for so long. The story was patient enough to let Karasuno blossom at their own pace, showing the viewers just how hard it is to improve. They didn’t just suddenly become pros after 1 training montage. They clawed their way to the top bit by bit, suffering a battery of agonizing losses along the way.

Everything about episode 24 was perfect. If I absolutely had to complain, it would be about them reusing animation for all the serves. But even then, I don’t mind it so much because the animation is so good that it’s akin to seeing a transformation sequence repeated each week. Honestly, I’m at a loss for words because there was nothing but emotions running wild.

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This week, on The Walking Dead…




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 23 – 24”

  1. Kyokai says:

    This was the best HQ episode to-date! High in adrenaline and emotionally satisfying! If I could jump and dance, I would. As you said, this was not after one training arc rather their continuous growth that we have seen since S1. Everyone did there absolute best and then only they could win against Aoba-Johsai, a powerhouse team.

    With season 3 already green-lit, I can’t wait to see how high Karashno flies.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yes, this was definitely a new favourite for me! Haikyuu!! is setting new standards for sports anime for me now. Long-running sports anime tend to get repetitive, but Haikyuu!! really used that time effectively to train Karasuno to become a wonderful team. So good!

      That’s great news! I can see episode 25 is basically just gonna be teasers to get us to watch more lol

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