Weekly Digest 9/14/14 – Diamond no Ace, Haikyuu!!

Diamond no Ace - 48 -4 Diamond no Ace - 48 -6 Haikyuu - 24 -15 Haikyuu - 24 -24

The big question on my mind is, why was Hinata running around outside barefoot?

Diamond no Ace – 48

Diamond no Ace - 48 -1 Diamond no Ace - 48 -2 Diamond no Ace - 48 -3
Diamond no Ace - 48 -5 Diamond no Ace - 48 -7 Diamond no Ace - 48 -8
Diamond no Ace - 48 -9 Diamond no Ace - 48 -10 Diamond no Ace - 48 -11
Diamond no Ace - 48 -12 Diamond no Ace - 48 -13 Diamond no Ace - 48 -14
Diamond no Ace - 48 -15 Diamond no Ace - 48 -16 Diamond no Ace - 48 -17
Diamond no Ace - 48 -18 Diamond no Ace - 48 -19 Diamond no Ace - 48 -20

To me, the last few episodes of Ace of Diamond have had the feel of playing for time.  While this is obviously the most important game of the series so far and as such it receives considerable buildup, there’s no question the anime is taking its time going about it more than the manga did (including last week’s original episode).  It makes me wonder for just how long Production I.G. and Madhouse have known that they were going to get a second season.

While we wait for the elephant in the room – how Kataoka is going to use his pitchers in the West Tokyo final – to be addressed, there’s a of coaches standing around while the reporters ask questions, and heartfelt thanking of the cute manager girls.  There’s one piece of what I would call real news in this episode, and that’s the fact that Kominato-niisan appears to have messed up his ankle sliding into the catcher in the Sensen game.   This, of course, would mean the human kigurumi Haruchin may finally get his chance to do more than pinch-hit – something you had to figure was going to happen sooner or later.

On the pitching front there are no firm clues, though if Furuya doesn’t pitch I’ll eat my hat (I expect he’ll start). There are no such questions on the Inahisro side, though we do meet the pitcher Mei has displaced for the Ace role – Iguchi-kun.  We also get out first extended sound bytes from their coach Kunitomo Hiroshige (Nakano Yutaka). He comes off as a pretty no-nonsense baseball lifer, as you’d expect from a guy who’s racked up 14 Spring and Summer Koushien appearances in his decade as coach of his alma mater.

It’s relatively difficult by sports manga standards to predict who’s going to win this next game, because strictly speaking either result works in the context of a long-running series like Daiya no A.  Independent of the needs of the plot Inashiro would certainly be favored – they have the better recent history and the pitcher who can carry the game himself (though Chekov’s reliever suggests Iguchi was shown for a reason).  But there are hints that it’s Mei’s mental fragility that’s going to show Seidou a crack in his seemingly unbreakable facade, and given the suggestions that it’s the top of the order that’s going to be the key to the Seidou attack, it’s a good bet that Kominato-otouto is going to be a critical part of breaking Mei down.

Haikyuu!! – 24

Haikyuu - 24 -1 Haikyuu - 24 -2 Haikyuu - 24 -3
Haikyuu - 24 -4 Haikyuu - 24 -5 Haikyuu - 24 -6
Haikyuu - 24 -7 Haikyuu - 24 -8 Haikyuu - 24 -9
Haikyuu - 24 -10 Haikyuu - 24 -11 Haikyuu - 24 -12
Haikyuu - 24 -13 Haikyuu - 24 -14 Haikyuu - 24 -16
Haikyuu - 24 -17 Haikyuu - 24 -18 Haikyuu - 24 -19
Haikyuu - 24 -20 Haikyuu - 24 -21 Haikyuu - 24 -22
Haikyuu - 24 -23 Haikyuu - 24 -25 Haikyuu - 24 -26
Haikyuu - 24 -27 Haikyuu - 24 -28 Haikyuu - 24 -29

Well, smack my ass and call me Judy – Seijoh won after all.

I’ll give full credit to mangaka Furudate Haruichi here, because I was pretty much convinced Karasuno was going to win this match.  I think Seijoh winning is the more believable and natural result, but it takes the series in some interesting directions.  Unless I misunderstand the situation this is the final inter-high for Sugawara, Sawamura and Asahi, and thus their careers are basically over, and they were pretty major pieces of the narrative puzzle.  There’s plenty of time for Hinata and Kageyama to rebuild from here, but this loss is especially telling for the third-years.

About the match itself, I can only say it was great – one of most well-staged game sequences of any sports anime in recent years.  Apart from the flashback in Episode 22 it was pretty much a non-stop freight train of a battle, exciting and insistent and strategically interesting.  The ebb and flow of momentum – and the emotions carried with it – was exhilarating.

In the end I think Oikawa was every bit as interesting as anybody on Karasuno – a brilliant, enigmatic and difficult guy even his own teammates (apart from his osananajimi Imaizumi) had trouble figuring out, and probably more essential to the story than any of the Karasuno third-years.  I liked the fact that he choked on two straight serve chances (though lucking out when the first trickled over the net) and then came up with his most unreturnable serve when the match was at-stake – and then followed it up with a jump floater.  It was also interesting to see another of Kageyama’s old teammates, Kunimi – who’d been a favorite whipping boy of the lonely King – step up and burn him in the closing stages of the match when everyone else was exhausted.

When the protagonist(s) lose in sports anime, the aftermath is every bit as important as the loss itself.  Naturally, this was a tough moment for all of them, and for my tastes things might have been overplayed just a bit here with the DVD-buying target audience in-mind.  Intellectually it’s easy to see Karasuno had nothing top be ashamed of – they lost to a better team, and their brilliant third-year general outguessed Karasuno’s first-year general in the end.  But in the moment of course it’s emotions that take over, not intellect, and Sendai is a lonely place when you’ve just lost.  As bad as the third-years feel for seeing their high school careers end I imagine the freshman feel even worse for letting it happen, but of course these sorts of trials are great growth opportunities – not just in sports manga, but real life too.



  1. e

    Important things first:
    – Ok Judy, as you command. *insert censorship here*
    – Why barefoot? Hinata is a little beeeeeast. Wild&free young lad. He was the only one sans jersey top later at the table too.
    On the rivers of pechfuzz brigade tears I didn't find it to bother me… because they're tendentially a bunch of lovely dorks with rather… energetic reactions to begin with. It's worth noting the one exception among the youngsters was megane-kun of the tireless spike feint. he was also the one barely bowing (if not bowing at all) to the public at the end of the match.
    Focus on dem legs man, dem legs! Anatomically speaking the staff has already given the observers' ample satisfaction but today it was more apparent than usual :>.
    And last but not least a moment of silence for the too early end of Suga-baby's p official high-school performance as a player.

    I have this horrible gut feeling Seidou is gonna lose – and Mei's ego will blow to atomic proportionsmuch to our delight-not – . Or maybe it's just all that marvelous food in Haikyuu tickled my hungry bowels. Still, guts.

  2. e

    EDIT: my bad Noya was sans jersey top too. Well, he's another little beast :p.

  3. So basically fanservice – that's what I figured…

    That whole end sequence was more Oofuri than Oofuri, really… I like Oofuri and I don't have a problem with the sequence, it was a sad moment… It's just that feels a little fanervicey too.

  4. e

    What, the big shiny tears? Possibly (it wouldnt surprise me if that doubled as hurt/comfort dj or fanfic fuel either. It's one of the staples of BL fantasies after all). Dunno about the snot though. YMMV.
    In terms of legs – and chest – I find a lot of Nat-chan's camera shots are quite strong on the fanservice but when it's a girl it tends to pass under the radar.

    I'll trust your word on that as I haven't watched it :D.

  5. c

    @Enzo Afraid I'm not an expert on Volleyball team culture, but as someone who watched around 8 hours of real-life kokoyakyu a day for most of August, the amount of crying in Oofuri is true-to-life. Like, even the cameramen and announcers were almost sadistically delighted at capturing as much crying and bromance as humanly possible.

  6. I've watched a good deal of the last two Koushiens on live TV and while you see the occasional tear, I certainly didn't see anything on Oofuri levels.

  7. c

    True, not every team loss was Oofuri-level but just about every one had at least two players crying or sobbing (usually the pitchers), and a few of the really unexpected or brutal losses had nearly every one in the team crying. And that's just on camera.

  8. g

    Geh, barefoot Hinata isn't that interesting like baby Oikawa who liked aliens. I'm curious is Tooru Oikawa still a nerd, who likes aliens? Just like Tsukushima, who has liked dinosaurs and such since he was a child and still has figurines on the shelf over his desk.

  9. l

    The tears at the post-credits epilogue may be a bit overplayed for you. I found it to show and reflect how much they fought physically and wagered enormous amounts of emotional in trying to beat Aoba Seijoh. The weight of their emotional investment is crushing when they came extremely close in doing so. That meal was the team's private moment to let their emotions show. The izakaya lady owner commented that this early meal used to be done regularly, Ukai the younger is just doing what used to be done before by his grandfather – an act of kindness for them to show their emotions in private for which the team barely kept a stiff upper lip in public.

  10. x

    Last week's episode of DaiyA wasn't a filler tho? A majority was the side chapter about Miyuki that they decided to adapt with the TV anime, the rest was canon from the manga.

  11. Well yeah, but the Miyuki stuff was like 85% of the episode.

  12. H

    But that Miyuki part was published as a manga bangaihen.

  13. R

    Clearly Enzo has never played (and lost) in a group sports, so he don't get it. Personally, We lost a soccer semi-final and it was the same situation (…. on a burger king). Eating in silence, crying. So, It's not fanservice, it is what it is.

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