Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou VS Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou – 06

Well – now we can get started with the only set that ever really mattered.

haikyuu-3-06-1Raise your hand if you were surprised by the outcome of that set.  No takers?  Well, that’s fine – as I said last week, Haikyuu set itself up with a real narrative challenge by building an entire season around a match whose first 80% was pre-determined.  But then, sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination – especially when you’re taking it in a sports car driven by a floppy-eared beagle.

haikyuu-3-06-2I’m not real crazy about the extended flashback detour in the middle of an important match in sports anime – Haikyuu has done it before, but at least this was shorter than the last one.  I don’t feel as if we needed that push to get where the third-years are emotionally – like, duh, haven’t we been watching for three seasons?  And fait acompli or not, the match with Shiratorizawa is still pretty interesting.  There are a lot of factors at play here that make these two schools an interesting matchup of contrasts.

haikyuu-3-06-3One thing Haikyuu has done is make me understand just what a weapon a good server is in volleyball, a sport where basically every point you win on your own serve is like breaking the opponent’s serve in tennis.  That’s why it makes sense not to let the same player be subbed in multiple times in a set, and why it’s so critical for good teams to have multiple guys who can be designated servers.  I hate seeing Suga reduced to that role (a little birdie – named “preview” – tells me he might not be for long), but at least he gets his chance – as does Yamaguchi.  Shiratorizawa has a jump server too, and once you get into the 20s for each team, those individual points become really crucial.

haikyuu-3-06-4The inevitable fifth set may come down to a matter of fatigue.  It’s true that none of these Karasuno kids has played a five-set match, but Shiratori is presumably so dominant that they hardly ever have either.  That puts the pressure on the two guys who are most central to their team’s attack – Ushijima and Kageyama.  The Crows have no one player who they rely on for their kills as much as Shiratorizawa relies on Ushijima, and no matter how great an athlete he is, that’s a lot of all-out, quick-twitch muscle activity for one guy.  I really appreciated seeing Ushijima pull off a dink-spike, because it both proves he can win with his mind as well as his body, and it shows how exhausted he must be.

haikyuu-3-06-5What Karasuno does have, though, is a setter who’s critical to all their strategy – the one who spreads the ball around to their various attacking options and is an important blocker too.  Kageyama is a kaibutsu but he’s still a first-year, and in uncharted territory – perhaps his fatigue is going to play a role in the final game.  Of all the third-years Suga is the one who’s been forced to watch his final tournament fly by mostly from the sidelines, and while I hardly think he’s going to be the setter when the fifth set is decided, it’s be nice to see him at the center of events for at least a part of it.

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4 comments

  1. s

    has anyone ever told you that you should do commentary on sports? like perhaps those after shows or something; you’ve got the capabilities to

  2. Yeah, I’ve heard that. Comes from being a lifetime sports nut I guess…

  3. To me this is probably the best season of Haikyuu! so far, I’m grateful that they kept the flashbacks short.

  4. e

    The positive side of a bias: that flashback gave us a healthy bonus dose of junior Sugawara. Yess yess yessssss. I can almost forgive the narrative – including the woeful lack of Oikawa commentary. Was Namikawa-san busy elsewhere this week? :,D – just for that. And when they go back to the present match it was back to the usual high standard.
    While Shiratorizawa still lacks some of the pull of Aoba Josai as opponents ( [Mido-]Tendo is the only one that really stands out. Again for me the issue is the lack of an Oikawa-weight-class member in the team ) the development of the younger Crows – this has been The Tsukki Ascent match so far, but it’s good to see how far Tadashi has come too. He’s one fierce bird now :,> – and the quality of the action are more than enough to keep one interested.
    One final set left, 4 more episodes to go. Whew.

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