Haikyuu!!: Episode 18

背中の護り – Guarding Your Back

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With the end of the second match, Karasuno got their revenge. And there ain’t no victory sweeter than that mixed with the saccharine flavour that is revenge~ However, revenge was not the only thing to be had, because with this victory, the Karasuno boys gained experience, growth, faith (in their teammates), confidence (in their own abilities) and above all, an insatiable hunger for more victories – because with more victories, comes more matches played, and in turn even more to be gained.

Not a lot happened in this episode. And yet, too much went on all the same. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, three characters really stood out. And so, this review shall be a tribute to the three who really made this episode. Here’s a shout out to Asahi, Noya and Sugawara.

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The Ace. Every team needs an ace. The ace is the pillar of support. The ace is the one dubbed as the ‘last resort’. When things go awry, the team counts on the ace to score. That is easier said than done, because as we have seen, Karasuno’s ace was kind of going through a rather rocky phase. Given the amount of emotional damage he had undertaken, Asahi sure bounced back pretty well. Considering that this is the same guy who felt so lost he was intent on giving up volleyball just a number of episodes earlier, he deserves a hearty pat on the back for pulling through when the situation demanded. And I do think that Asahi has definitely grown over the past episodes. He is still ever the huggable teddy bear, but he really has the makings of an ace – encouraging the team; ensuring them that he will do his part as the ace – Asahi has really stepped into his ace shoes and it is such a delight hearing Hosoya in all his leader-like glory.

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The Guardian. Noyaa~~~ Noyaaaaa~~~~ he is so cool! I’d feel safe if I had someone guarding my back the way he did! I have so much admiration for this character! He is one that just DOES NOT GIVE UP. Even when he thought that he would not make it in time, he did not give up! And instead of doing things the conventional way, he saved the ball with his foot! Kyaaa~~ Noya, you are amaaazing. And let’s not forget that Noya was one of the main reasons why Asahi has managed to get his confidence back. Noya is such an assuring character, such a reliable teammate.. Just, Noya is so cool~~

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The vice-captain. Oh Sugawara.. He is such an underrated character and really does not get the praise he deserves. He might not be a starting player, but he is sure as important as any of the other starting members. For starters, he was the one who shared with Kageyama the kind of toss that Asahi spikes best – high and slightly away from the net. That was not just any other toss; it was the toss that secured Karasuno’s victory. He also came up with the unnoticeable signs which enabled Hinata and Kageyama to execute their freak toss & spike so effectively. AND he is always there cheering them on! Suga has as important a role to play even though he is not a starting member, and that is impressive in itself! He is the one who leads the team in his own subtle and gentle way. And oh Irino Miyu, your gentle voice is so soothing and calming.. I can’t NOT feel safe when I hear you speak.

Before ending this review, I just have to have one more shout out to yet another underrated character. Yes, looking at you Tsukki. Although still as nonchalant as ever (actually, that’s one of the reasons why I like Tsukki so much), I am really glad that Tsukki had more scenes this episode. Tsukki might not shine like Hinata, but he is still as important. As Asahi so wisely said, everyone has a part to play. Even though the team relies on the Hinata&Kageyama offence, everyone does his part to magnify the effectiveness of that offence. And Tsukki most definitely plays a pivotal role in that – He is the one who keeps any trouble from happening while Hinata is at the back row. Tsukki~~~ That said, Uchiyama Kouki is doing so brilliant in this role, and hearing his voice as Tsukki puts a smile on my face every single time. Love the snarkiness~

So to wrap things up.. I guess Karasuno’s win was expected, because there is absolutely no way that our main team would fall at this juncture. It is far too early in the game for our boys to be kicked out of the competition. However, even with their definite victory in mind, this episode still had its gasp inducing moments. With the most gasp inducing at the end! Oh 大王様, it’s been quite a while since you last graced our screens with that smirk of yours. Looking forward to hearing more of you soon Namikawa Daisuke ^^

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