Four chapters in and there’s so much I’m loving about this match. Though this certainly comes from someone who loves both teams. First, let me just say that I love the title spread so much and I’m so stoked to see some more of them in the future chapters! (Surely there will be because they got at least two for the chapters covering matches against Seijoh, Shiratorizawa, and Inarizaki.) And I also love who the title “Teacher and Student” refers to.
To start the chapter, we see a lead color page of Akiteru arriving to see the match and the first thing he asks about is the score. The ever-so-beautiful Saeko tells him it’s just starting and she receives a compliment from him! This is the first time he’s seeing her wearing those clothes for the cheer team since he wasn’t able to watch the Inarizaki match the previous day. (And here I am shipping these two.) Oh, and it’s cute how he wanted to watch the warm-ups, too! I think it speaks of how passionate Akiteru is. And the relationship of these wonderful senpaitachi are all so beautiful!
Akiteru being here is a guarantee that Tsukki will be able to pull off something amazing or have a development during the game. Or both. I’m sure he will also be able to provide important insights about the game, too.
Then, they get surprised seeing Nekoma doing a first tempo synchronized attack. Kenma sets the ball and he gets surprised by Tsukki being in a good position to block the ball. Kai spikes but Tsukki gets a one touch. (Akaashi and Bokuto’s reactions are so precious!) I love how Hinata is the one who got to cover the ball. I bet he expected that Tsukki would be able to at least touch the ball, so he got to be in the right position to receive it.
Then, Karasuno charges with a synchronized attack with all of them — aside from Kageyama, of course — in it. Daichi gets to spike the ball, but Kuroo manages to block it successfully, earning Nekoma a point. (By the way, Hinata’s look there is hilarious! Hahaha!)
Kuroo’s full grin look is so precious! I also love how Kageyama looks so displeased there. We all know that more than getting his spikes blocked, he hates having the balls he set up to be blocked.
I love how different these two panels are. One is Grandpa Ukai complimenting what Kuroo did while the others have these men, shocked, with Akiteru obviously not amused. It shows the difference of the way they are looking at the game. These young men are Karasuno supporters who are biased toward the team. Of course, they won’t be too happy with the opponents scoring. Meanwhile, even if I’m sure Grandpa Ukai wants Karasuno to win — he’s been waiting for it for years! — he’s still a coach who values players’ abilities, so he acknowledges Kuroo’s play there.
Then, we get to see Bokuto and Akaashi again! Bokuto’s confident look and his comment being like that makes the panel funny to me. He looks so amused and I bet he wants to play volleyball now, too! Akaashi, on the other hand, is not going to deny Kuroo the recognition he deserves. Anyhow, with Bokuto saying it’s a fluke, I now want to see how Kuroo will do with the other succeeding synchronized attacks that Karasuno will do. It’s one of the moves that they’ve been doing in order to gain points. While read blocking is only 70% successful, it’s still a huge percentage. Kuroo is a great blocker and Karasuno will surely have trouble scoring because of him in the following chapters.
It’s a treat to see these two precious Nekoma supporters, too! Akane’s reaction toward Karasuno’s synchronized attack makes me wonder if Shinzen leaves at least one person to follow through in case the ball gets block. I’m quite sure that not everyone in the Nekoma court now attacked because it’s only Fukunaga, Kuroo, Kai, and Taketora who are shown to do the attack. Yaku’s present in the court, so there was someone to save the ball.
Anyway, I love how Akane tells Alisa that she can look at anyone on the court, even those who haven’t touched the ball yet; that there’s no boring player on the court. It’s amazing how at the young age of 14, Akane already has such a view about a volleyball game. I think this is why she is knowledgeable about Nekoma as well as the teams they got to play with. She observes not only those who are able to attack, but even those who are preparing to receive the ball at any moment.
On the other side, Shinzen-Ubugawa guys comments on Nekoma’s synchronized attack, how it’s unusual for the cats to prioritze attack. It’s funny how Goura just so coolly corrects Ogano when he said that cats and crows are equally omnivorous! Goura is also the one who called Ogano “brocolli” first, too! I’d love to see more of these two guys’ interactions! I’d love to know their backstories!
Back on the court — or side — Suga is not amused with Kuroo completely blocking the ball when it’s their first time doing a 5-man attack against Nekoma. Though this also speaks of how amazing Tsukki did when he got a one touch earlier when Nekoma did a synchronized attack for the first time. The outcome of the two instances being like that speaks of how different Kuroo and Tsukki’s skills are. Truly a teacher and student! I wonder if Tsukki will be able to surpass his teacher after this game? (Hinata’s look while saying that to Suga is amusing!)
Then, we get these panels! Oh, so lovely! I really enjoy watching/looking at their interactions always. From the very start, when Kuroo told Tsukki that he should be a bit wild for a high school student, I knew that these two will be interesting to see interacting. I love this exchange between them! Kuroo loves to rile up people — Kenma, Lev, Daichi, for some — but his provocations for Tsukki will never cease to entertain me. I love it when Tsukki, who’s usually so forward and savage with words especially toward Hinata and Kageyama, gets irritated because he failed to have the last words.
Bokuto’s been doing that gesture and I’d like to see it animated! And I love how Akaashi’s on point there. They got to practice a lot that he already knows Kuroo’s tendency to irritate Tsukki intentionally.
The game continues with Asahi spiking the ball and Yaku successfully receiving it. Fukunaga follows up and scores, tying the score of the teams. Then, we get to see Kuroo’s abilities acknowledged! He’s a truly valuable player and I honestly want to know what will happen if Kuroo gets injured or something. (But I don’t want him hurt now during this game.) Even if all the other members of the team are good at receives — except maybe for Lev? — Kuroo’s undoubtedly the best blocker of the team.
Daishou realizes that the reason why he doesn’t like Tsukki’s vibe is because he’s like Kuroo and I think it’s amazing how he thought of that without knowing that Tsukki actually really received some coaching from Kuroo. Someday, I’d like to see Tsukki thanking Kuroo for the things he taught him. Even if it’s just to rile up his senior.
Then, Hinata spikes but Fukunaga receives it. Meanwhile, Daishou talks about how Nekoma’s on fire.
Daishou expounds on what Ogano and Goura were talking about earlier — about Nekoma prioritizing attacks which is unusual for them. So, we now know that Nekoma’s strategy is that they won’t let Karasuno have the field day by letting them rack up points from the very start. I think Nekoma knows that it’s going to be trouble because Karasuno can be unpredictable on the later parts of games.
Then, we back to the court, we see Hinata score as Taketora failed to receive the ball properly. His look there is amusing. I can’t understand if it’s a grin or a grimace or what. With Hinata’s look of surprised as he was to serve, I thought he was looking at Noya at first. So, I thought he was reminded of something to do. How wrong I was!
Tsukki, then, comes back to the court and I just love how supportive Suga is. And Kuroo calling him “Suga-chan” is amusing, too! I love how Tsukki turned back to say that it’s impossible to not lose to Kuroo and Suga’s reaction is priceless! And Hinata saying that he knew he’d say that means that he now knows Tsukki enough to guess what he’s thinking or how he’ll respond. They have such an odd friendship and I love it!
Seriously, the last spread page gave me goosebumps! I already love Tsukki so much and I’m loving him even more! See, before, during the Shiratorizawa match, he was so frustrated that he only got to block one spike that Ushijima did. The previous game during Inarizaki, that’s when he learned that it’s not 1 vs 1 or 1 vs 3, but it’s always 1 vs 6. Now, he’s saying he can’t win alone. With Yamaguchi at the background on top of it! This is not to say that Tsukki used to think that the game rides on his shoulders. It’s just that he became more dependent on his teammates now. This makes things even more interesting to see!
I’m also very excited to see what Yamaguchi will be able to do! With this chapter ending like this, I’m expecting him to have at least one service ace! He can’t be brought in to be replaced immediately, especially with this chapter hyping it all up. Yamaguchi has come a long way from being a coward to being someone more confident. It would be amazing if Yamaguchi will be able to serve without looking at any ‘reset’ points here. Go get them, baby!