A few days ago, the third season of Haikyuu!! ended
and with a real cliffhanger. It only had ten episodes, but those were ten precious episodes which did not waste any moment. It closely followed the manga. Closely. There were shots which I thought would have been better if the angles shown in manga were followed. Like the following:
I’m not sure why the director chose to have that angle on the first one with Tsukki and Yamaguchi, but I guess the one with Kageyama seen from afar is because it was after the shot of Takinoue and Shimada from the audience.
Anyway, I already talked about my thoughts about the first four episodes on this post. I thought I should say something about the other episodes, too, so here it goes:
The fifth episode shows, as I thought, the third set where Shiratorizawa recovered from being taken aback by the crows as well as a bit of Shirabu’s background. It includes the time when they had to change courts and Hinata and Ushijima had a bit of a talk. I don’t know with the other subbers, but the ones on Crunchyroll used the term “clumsy” as Ushijima’s description of Hinata’s skills. The translators of the manga used “infantile” and it sounds so much fitting for Ushijima’s image. Anyway, after that, Kageyama called Hinata and this scene happened:
I thought it would have been better had they put Hinata’s thought on a bubble, too. Or better yet, if there was a voice over saying those lines just so it was clearer that Hinata was referring to the way Kageyama and Ushijima talk. But then again, what’s done is done.
That take up almost half of the episode only, though, so it also covered part of the fourth set. It was when Coach Ukai came to watch the game, when Keishin told them of the total defense plan. (I was hoping to see the part when Hinata was all jolly because it was inspired by what Ennoshita planned during the match with Wakunan.) It covered the “Artificial Wings” chapter, too! Of course, it showed what the fans anticipated: megane!Oikawa and the dear Iwaizumi. Compared to the manga, they showed the two earlier. They weren’t shown until the teams had a deuce during the final set. They were surely a pleasure to look at. Their clothes suit them. Somehow, they looked like models to me.
The sixth episode shows the story of the lovely third years when they entered Karasuno volleyball team during their first year. I’ve always loved how it is emphasized that the third years — Daichi, Suga, and Asahi — are the strong foundation of the team as they were the ones who withstood the obstacles from the past to reach a better and higher goal, especially Daichi, who have a high dream for the team.
The scene where Tsukki and Kageyama performed the new move Tsukki learned with Akaashi during the training camp is shown, too. Kageyama’s reaction on Tsukki’s revelation (of him training with Akaashi) never fails to amuse me.
Oh, and this is where this lovely scene with this old longtime fan of Karasuno is in, too. Never fails to make me tear up. I actually cried a bit when I first read the scene on the manga. His outburst shows just how much dedicated of a follower of Karasuno he is. He just expects so much from them. His being in this match just shows that he did not lose hope for the team and still do continue supporting them (even if he is contradicting himself at times).
I was actually surprised when this episode ended at the end of the fourth set. I wondered if the last episode would show some things after the match, but the pace was not as fast as I thought it would be. Not that it was slow, too.
The seventh episode starts with the preparation of the teams for the last set. There is this cute scene with Kiyoko holding Suga’s hands. It was so funny to me because of Yamaguchi’s and Ennoshita’s reactions. Those two are not even shown on the manga panel when this happened so adding them with those faces is a nice touch.
This episode also shows Suga’s harmony with the team as well as his skills as a setter. This is where Tendo’s and Ushijima’s backstories are shown. I thought the bond between Tendo and Ushijima is strengthened with this.
Moreover, there is one of my favorite Tsukki moments. It is when he had that look of frustration when he was injured terribly that he had to be subbed out. Though episode 4 already showed how Tsukki fell deep into volleyball, that scene amplifies his dedication to the sport.
Their struggles to keep up with Shiratorizawa during Tsukki’s absence is covered on the eight episode. The tension is high especially that they are on their last set and Karasuno is on a pinch. One of the highlights here for me is the part when the cheer from Karasuno crowd became loud at the time Keishin was having a difficult time finding the right words to say, followed by the Shiratorizawa crowd singing their school hymn.
Yamaguchi was able to rack up points for Karasuno here. It was also great to see Kinoshita scoring even with his first time matching up with Kageyama’s setup.
Another highlighted scene for me here more than those, though, is this scene with Goshiki and Ushijima. Goshiki is a self-proclaimed ace though he had a lot more to improve when compared with Ushijima. He is acknowledged by his team mates as the next ace, though. This frame shows both of their confidence of themselves and of each other.
On this episode, part of Washijo, Shiratorizawa’s coach, is shown, too. It shows the reason why he banks on the strengths of the players he gathers. This battle of principles between the teams is evident from the start of the match.
Admittedly influenced by emotions, for me the top highlight of this episode is this scene when Keishin shouted this line as encouragement for the team when they cannot call for a time-out anymore. Actually, it was on episode 9 when I realized that the voice actor is not the same anymore. (I knew Kazunari Tanaka passed away, but I didn’t know until what episode he was able to voice Keishin.) In any case, I loved this scene even when I first read the manga. When I re-watched this after watching episode 9, I teared up and ended up loving this scene even more. I’m glad that Kazunari Tanaka was able to say this line (this seiyuu’s last line here!) of encouragement at their pivotal moment.
Episode 8 ends with Tsukki coming back from having his pinky treated. Of course, it is much anticipated, so it effectively leaves the viewer waiting for the next episode.
The ninth episode contains Tsukki’s glorious return on the court and the team following whatever instruction that precious baby crow gave to each of them. The mood of the show felt heavy by the second half of the episode as the team struggled attacking because their legs already felt heavy. Noya was there to keep them up, however.
Oh, and there are some treats for me here. There are some flashbacks of when Tsukki was with Kuroo and friends back in the training camp. The last few minutes had a flashback of Tsukki and Lev talking about read blocking and being interfered by Kuroo. In addition to those, there is also this scene with Oikawa and Iwaizumi when Iwaizumi insults Oikawa. Iwaizumi asks Oikawa to choose between “kuso yarō” and “unko yarō” and Oikawa chooses the latter. This scene is not included in the manga so it’s a delight to see.
The episode ends with Hinata hitting the ball and the screen blacks out.
The final episode starts with the OP and followed by the few moments before the last scene of the previous episode. The volley just keep going and the intensity keep increasing as they draw near to the end of the game. (Can we just appreciate how Tanaka gets a lot of those kinds of shot like on the right?)
Then, there’s the wonderfully animated scene of the image of Ushijima stopping Tsukki and Hinata from standing up. This shows how much Ushijima’s strength is too much for these two baby crows to handle. But, of course, this image is to illustrate how volleyball is played.
After a little while, it is exemplified that their upperclassmen are there to support the team. I loved how each of the three — Daichi, Asahi, and Tanaka — have solo shots of their parts in the game along with closeup shots of these scenes where they all try to overthrow Ushijima. It shows that they cannot defeat Ushijima alone, but with six members on the court, it is not impossible.
Again and again, the essence of being a team is presented in each of the teams of this series. Karasuno shows that each of them fill what the others are lacking. With Nekoma, the brain and the blood should continue working together and in harmony with each other, then it will all be well. Others’ strengths can pull the weakness of one, as shown by Fukurodani. Aoba Johsai has emphasis on six strong players being strong (as the line itself came from Iwaizumi). Date Tech, Johzenji, Wakunan, and all the other schools they played with also have different ways of showing what it is to be a team. Not saying that Shiratorizawa does not have much team spirit, but it just happen that the odds are on Karasuno. After all, Yamagata was able to receive the ball but it bounced off the court and no one was there to return it.
After it is announced that Karasuno won, of course, there is a great contrast between the two teams. I, myself, am torn between two feels. There’s, of course, happiness because finally — finally! — their hard work paid off. With all the training and hardships each of Karasuno members went through the two seasons prior to this one, it’s just satisfying to see them victorious over a formidable opponent that even Aoba Johsai had difficulty defeating. Joy overflows with the thought that the third years are finally able to reach their dream — to step on the orange court. It makes their choice of continuing with club activities all worth it.
On the other hand, I cannot help but feel sad for Shiratorizawa babies. I mean, just look at these babies. My sweet, sweet little bean Goshiki is crying so much. I bet he was thinking about the plays he could have perfected, the balls he could have better received.
Then, there is Tendo and his farewell to his paradise. Stories of letting go of one’s passion never fail to make me tear up. And Tendo is definitely passionate about volleyball. Because of volleyball, he met friends who did not ignore him because he is peculiar.
After this, of course, is Yamaguchi telling off Tsukki for being negative, the awarding ceremony, and some moments after the day of the match. It included parts of chapter 207 (which is actually a huge jump because the match ends on chapter 189), the one when they were getting measurements. There were some moments I would love to see which weren’t shown. Like these:
The part when they were measuring their height was not shown. Too bad because they were so cute talking seriously and proudly about their height development. The other is that part when the guys from basketball team said something about scouting. Daichi’s reaction is just priceless. It’s like he’s imposing the message that Hinata is off limits.
The episode ends with Takeda’s big news for Kageyama. Such a cliffhanger. (SPOILER: [highlight to read] Not to mention that it seems misleading because that cut make it look like there is a lot to see of Kageyama the next time we see him. Of course, yes, it is a big deal that he got chosen for the All-Japan Youth Intensive Training Camp, but after that, the focus will be more on Hinata. I just feel like the cut gives false hopes.) Anyway, it is going to take a long while before another season comes up, I believe, because it’s almost caught up with the manga. Only Nekoma vs. Fukurodani, Nekoma vs. Nohebi, and the training camps part were not animated. The current arc has just started a few updates ago.
Ah, in the end I couldn’t stop myself comparing the anime and the manga. Not that there are a lot of differences, but I guess I just enjoy the series more by doing this. Either way, it’s fun to watch and to read the two mediums.