You know, I thought there would be more chill chapters before the fated Battle at the Trash Heap/Garbage Dump. Or at least I think I hoped because even if I’m waiting for this, now that it’s coming, I feel like I’m not ready yet. No matter what the result would be, my heart will surely break! But, of course, I won’t be able to let this pass. It took me days to get myself together. So, here’s my post for chapter 293, The Promised Place.
This chapter gives us a backstory of when and how Grandpa Ukai and Coach Nekomata met and developed a relationship with each other. They met in middle school. We’ve already observed from their training camp together that Coach Nekomata is observant of others and, apparently, he has always been. He was observing middle schooler-Grandpa Ukai during a game.
They got to play each other then and Coach Nekomata was able to defeat him by saving his spikes. Coach Nekomata is somehow like Kuroo in that he provoked Grandpa Ukai by saying Grandpa made him look cool because he got to save those “easy” spikes. But he’s also like Kenma because he was also slouching and it sounds like he’s not really gifted physically, but he used his brains to counter their opponents.
Grandpa Ukai lost to Coach Nekomata the first time so he told him he won’t be beaten again the next. They crossed paths for a lot of times after that during practice matches and district preliminaries. But by the last tournament of their middle school years, Coach Nekomata transferred to Tokyo. We can only imagine just how much disappointment and frustration Grandpa Ukai must have felt then.
He was left alone, but we know that he worked so hard because their team got to enter the Nationals during his second year. And he finally met Coach Nekomata again! Too bad that they weren’t able to face each other, though, because both their teams — Nekoma and Karasuno — were eliminated early on the tournament.
Grandpa Ukai told Coach Nekomata that he would defeat him next time. I think this speaks of how much of a high regard he has on him because even when Coach Nekomata’s team was also beaten, it was still Grandpa Ukai’s goal to defeat them.
Sadly, they never got to stand on that stage again as players.
Good thing, they discovered that they were both coaching their alma mater’s teams, so they got to organize practice matches. Years and years passed by with them swearing to each other that it’d be the year that they will meet at the Nationals. But came the time that they both retired. Imagine just how sad and frustrating that must have been for them! But it’s still amazing how such a beautiful friendship formed between them. Imagine having Kageyama’s and Hinata’s children having the same kind of rivalry as they have now!
And then, five years after those retirement, the light of hope ignited again through the life of Takeda Ittetsu. Knowing the two coaches’ past, we can appreciate more just how much of a valuable action Takeda did as he is the one who paved a way for the two to finally see the fulfilment of their promise.
And so, we come back to the present, to the third day of the Spring Interhigh, to the day of the much-anticipated match of the crows and the cats.
We got these panels of the backs of these six guys — of Karasuno: Daichi, Noya, and Tanaka; of Nekoma: Kuroo, Yaku, and Taketora. We got the captains, the libero, and the passionate wing spikers (one the ace while the other the “shadow ace”). We know that Daichi and Kuroo have this intense relationship as they’re both captains taking pride of their teams. We know that Yaku and Noya both acknowledges the skills of the other. We know that Tanaka and Taketora became friends as they hit it off with each other because of their personalities and admiration of Kyoko. I wonder if this is a foreshadowing of who we’ll be able to see much of for this game?
If it’s just based on who they got to get along more, then, I think it would be Suga who would be in the panel as Suga and Yaku got along more (as they’re the teams’ mothers). But it’s pitting the guys of the same position, so, this game may give lots of exposures to these guys.
Look! Look, just how much pleased Coach Nekomata is! Truly, it’s not just about him and Grandpa Ukai’s promise anymore. There are a lot more people now looking forward to this match. And I guess it’s a big impact to the fulfilment of the promise. Not to say that the previous generations weren’t looking forward to such a match because I bet that with all those practice matches, the players also got to build relationships with one another. However, it’s just happened that this time, the players for both teams are both eager for it and are capable of making the promise come true, what with all those skills the current players have.
Then, we see that Grandpa Ukai is in the hospital, watching a livestream of the event. I was so sad that he wasn’t able to be in there live, but I was consoled by what he would say later.
Coach Nekomata and Grandpa Ukai didn’t tell the guys about their history. Some, probably most, of them just know that the Battle at the Trash Heap has been long overdue, that the old coaches were looking forward to making it happen. I remember Kuroo telling Tsukki that he’s giving them blocking advices because, ultimately, he wants to fulfil their coach’s desire to have an official match against Karasuno. And we’ve long knew that Coach Ukai seriously wants his Gramps to watch it happen.
But yeah. Coach Nekomata knows that the guys on the teams have their own history. They have their own reasons of wanting to stand on the same stage with them and to play against them.
Anyway, the referee calls the captains and Kuroo starts provoking Daichi as usual, saying Karasuno is a pro at flying falls. It’s amusing how during their handshake, Kuroo is apparently in pain because of Daichi’s firm hold on his hand.
Meanwhile, we also see Takinoue and Shimada talking about Arisa, who they saw at the hotel Nekoma was staying in. I’m so excited to see how these two cheering squads will support their teams. It’s cute how Akane is so supportive of her brother’s team, even being the cheer leader at the young age of 14! And, of course, we also have Saeko who’s being an ever-supportive sister, too. I hope we’ll get to see Akiteru during this match also!
Then, we finally get our beloved crows introduced, each with their own compliments. I’m so frustrated that I forgot that Tsukki is finally 190cm tall. I was surprised when I saw it! Then, I had to go back to chapter 206 to check and that’s when they confirmed he’s 190.1cm tall.
Anyway, of course, Takeda and Coach Ukai are introduced, too, and we got a Grandpa Ukai looking so proud of his grandson. I think it’s touching because we used to watch Coach Ukai being thrown or kicked by his Gramps. And wow. They really look alike!
Next up is the cats. I’m so excited to see more of them! We know they are all good players, judging from their games with Fukurodani, Nohebi, and . Karasuno has never beaten them during their practice matches but the team has been steadily improving. It’ll be fun to see certain, if not all, of their players get more focus! I’m particularly interested with Fukunaga’s “phatasmal ball trajectories”. I wonder how those will affect the game.
Anyway, we also get this wonderful panels of the old coaches Nekomata and Ukai. It’s cute that the kids who Grandpa Ukai trains know about Coach Nekomata being his rival! This means that there had been times in the past when he relayed their old stories. It’s cute how one of them thought Coach Nekomata’s name is Bakeneko, knowing that that’s the name Grandpa Ukai called him when they saw each other again during their Nationals back in their days.
And they mentioned that “I accept your challenge” line again!
Oikawa-lookalike kid brought up Grandpa Ukai wanting to be in the tournament venue, but he tells him that it’s not necessary as his disciples and his blood are already there. He is well-represented.
And then, we get this another spread containing a wonderful montage of panels to appreciate the people that made that match possible and meaningful. It all started with Coach Nekomata and Grandpa Ukai. The promise has become an important one even for the younger generation. Takeda plays a significant role in re-connecting the teams, too. Without these men, the players wouldn’t have such a relationship that makes the game not just any other. Seriously, I hope Grandpa Ukai, Coach Nekomata, and the players will enjoy the match.
The game is about to start as the players already lined up to greet each other. We have Taketora telling them that they will stop the oddball combo then Yaku supporting that it’ll be troublesome if their blocks would be scattered. Then, Kenma says that he doesn’t know.
Kenma, who usually knows if a match is still fine or not based on his observations, doesn’t have any idea how it will all go. I think it’s nice that Kenma doesn’t always know, even if he analyze and analyze things. He’s also human, after all. This also shows how much of a terrifying improvements the crows undergo every time. I’d like to see how Kenma and the team will counter Karasuno.
The chapter goes to a a full circle as these panels speak of how Coach Nekomata is looking at Karasuno. He is a veteran with a lot of wisdom and, really, Karasuno needs to watch out for how he will handle Nekoma!
I have this goal of posting these posts at most three days after the release of the scanlations, but I had so much feels for this chapter, especially because of Grandpa Ukai and Coach Nekomata’s friendship, that I wasn’t able to finish early. There was even a time I was re-reading it and I found myself almost crying because of everything happening. (Yeah, yeah. Call me overacting or whatever.) IT’S THE BATTLE AT THE TRASH HEAP FINALLY! I’VE BEEN ON THIS FOR WEEKS NOW BUT I JUST CAN’T GET OVER IT. PLEASE SOMEONE HOLD ME.