強敵たち – Formidable Opponents
It is the episode before the Inter-high preliminaries, which means prep work prep work and more prep work! Everyone is hyped up for the preliminaries and their fighting spirit was practically tangible. This was such a beautifully sweet episode and I am just so excited to watch them finally play in the Inter-high!
With the Inter-high just around the corner, we were introduced to the four heavy weights of the tournament. There is Wakutani Minami, which has superior defence and coordination; Date Kogyou, known as the Iron Wall and also the ones who stopped every single one of Asahi’s spikes; Aoba Johsai who was in the top four the previous year, and is also home to the ‘Great King’ Oikawa Touru; and the defending champions, Shiratorizawa.
When faced with the prospect of such formidable opponents, very often teams tend to neglect the (smaller/weaker) opponent that is right in front them. That however, is a very risky thing to do. As coach Ukai told the Karasuno boys, “if you look up instead of straight ahead, you will lose your footing. There is no team that enters a tournament to lose. All of them enter to win”. Concentrate on what is in front of you and worry about the big ones to come when the time comes. The boys have to remember that they should never ever underestimate their opponent because very ften, complacency can prove to be fatal for a team. So coach Ukai’s words of wisdom are indeed very much appreciated.
For this review, I would like to take a moment to give special mention to two characters that do not get as much screen time as I think they should. One of them is obviously the volleyball team’s token female, manager Shimizu, whose beauty has rendered many of the male characters weak and/or speechless. As the manager, she supports the team behind the scenes. What I really like about her though, is how sweet and shy she actually is that despite her icy exterior. Just the way she struggled to say “ganbatte” was enough to make my heart melt~ and her actions, although subtle, had a massive impact on the boys. That scene was GOLD.
The other character would be Yamaguchi (aka Tsukki’s friend). As the only first year player who is not in the starting line-up, he is obviously feeling neglected as well. The poor boy does not get as much attention as I would like for him to get, so it was nice to see the writers give him a good minute of screen time. It really pulled at the heartstrings when he confessed to not wanting to be the only first year who does not get to play in an official match. I do hope you master the jump float serve soon Yamaguchi! By the way, the voice actor behind Yamaguchi happens to be Saitou Souma, who plays the oh so very fascinating Hisami Touji/Twelve in this season’s must-watch Zankyou no Terror.
This episode was a nice lead up to what is sure to be the Inter-high matches next episode. Kiseki will definitely be following the tournament and supporting Karasuno all the way~ Fight-o!