Haikyuu!!: To the Top ep.19 – Pressure

I have way better than most of my readers. I know that. Still, I’m not sure I can take another close battle and waiting for a week to find out who won. Is this in bad taste? Probably. Blame this week’s Haikyuu! It was an emotional rollercoaster at a point where I am not ready to handle it.

I say that but I was pumped after watching the episode. Turns out it was also exactly what I needed this Saturday morning. Haikyuu is my adult Saturday morning cartoons and I am loving it! I need to do this every season. Pick a show I’m into to watch on Saturday mornings. It’s just so nostalgic! I also need to buy an extra sugary cereal to go with it and eat it only once a week.

Right off the bat, I was a bit miffed to see the same Karasuno vs Inarizaki matchup. I do want to see the game and they need to finish their 2 out of 3. If this follows classic rules, everything will be decided in game 3 after a crushing Karasuno loss so that our heroes can make a grand come back right at the season’s end!

It’s just that I was hoping for a little filler episode before we jump right into another match. Haikyuu To the Top’s fillers have been delightful. I don’t know how often anime fans ask for more filler but there you have it. I would have loved to see the boys chatting together over coffee as one of them goes off on his own to get his shoes fixed or something. It’s a compliment to the series that even the calm inconsequential moments have got me clamouring for more.

However, all these thoughts got pushed out right away when Atsumu’s strategy was revealed. Like in the first 30 seconds. You know it’s one thing to have a team targeting my precious little Kenma. But if you’re going to target Noya, we gotta problem! I liked you well enough Miya twins but now I am rooting for your demise. To heck with Sports! anime conventions, I want these guys to lose right now!

This match was all about pressure. Which, like I said, is something I don’t need right now. Both of these teams are very good. I suppose it is to be expected during the national competition. However, it goes beyond that. They are good in a sort of complimentary way. Neither has a specific strength that can give them an advantage over the other in an obvious way. Or something particular to overcome.

Karasuno is framed as eternal underdogs. Not only that but because Inarizaki is the new team we need to get to know better, the season has been spending much more time telling us about their team and how amazing it is. So it’s easy to think that Karasuno is at a disadvantage here. But they aren’t really.

Midpost eyecatch interruption!

Karasuno players bring their own specific sort of pressure. They are hardly a loser team anymore and the fact that they made it through that gives them n edge. Kageyama is formidable no matter how you look at it. Shoyo is a wildcard that would throw anyone off. Noya isn’t likely to be broken by such weak efforts.

And then there’s Suga. He hasn’t been on the court in a while but Suga is an ultimate secret weapon. He’s a gentle type of pressure that has no equal. Hime being around makes everyone else better and there’s no accounting for that. He may have been out there for a few minutes but that was enough for a point and to change the flow of the game. It also made me super happy to see him play!

My friend Scott over at Mechanical Anime has been tweeting about Haikyuu for a while. If you don’t follow Scott on Twitter you should. In fact, a good way to cut down on all the toxic atmosphere that can accumulate in social media is to only follow Scott on Twitter. You’ll get some good One Piece manga takes!

As I was saying, Scott has been reading and really enjoying the Haikyuu manga. He mentioned not getting into the anime much but getting completely absorbed by the manga. It made me wonder if I should switch to it instead. This season has shut the impulse down completely.

Once again, the animation was impressive throughout the episode. I was particularly taken by Kageyama’s serves. The way the camera did a subtle swerve and the framerate went nuts. It was a work of art. But there were several noteworthy moments. And some slightly derpy ones. What were those sideway frames of Suna? I get that they were trying to illustrate that Suna completely changes direction in mid-air but ‘cmon, you can do way better than that cheap trick. It was super funny though. So I guess I’ll forgive them.

Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% buying the entire manga series, especially now that it has concluded. Haikyuu is just in of those series I don’t get tired of and I will relish enjoying it all over again in manga form as I did Natsume. Sadly there are no box sets available but if any of you are willing to sell me a bunch of yours, I’m willing to buy them at a generous price for the convenience!

This review went all sorts of places. I liked the episode, big surprise! Can’t wait until next Saturday!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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6 Responses

  1. Jerome says:

    Haikyuu fillers to be fair do a lot for the show. I’m not sure if you would count the matches between rival schools not involving Karasuno as a filler but they could do that so that we know a bit more about future potential opponents. Moreover, what makes sports anime great is that you can route for both teams as you often know how much they both worked hard

  2. Scott says:

    I wasn’t expecting to get a shout out on one of your posts. Thanks so much.

    And yeah, I realize that my Haikyuu opinions are wild and unruly. At the same time, there has just been something about how the anime paces each moment that feels so off to me.

    I keep thinking that it might be because I’ve watched enough real life volleyball that this show just feels so off, but I’m not sure that’s it either.

  3. Dawnstorm says:

    Remember how I didn’t find the last Karasuno opponent very interesting? I was worrying that they’re running out, or that I suffer from diminishing returns. But I really like Inarizaki. So now I have a new theory: There’s a correlation between the animals and the teams, whether I’m being subliminally influenced, or whether the author and I have similar takes on the animals in question. Because, you see, I prefer foxes to monkeys. (And I also like, say, corws and cats.)

    This is my new theory.

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