Haikyuu 4×23 Review: “The Birth of the Serene King”

The Birth of the Serene King Haikyuu

If there’s one thing Haikyuu!! is good at, it’s building the hype. We’re fast approaching the end of the match, and I thought for sure it would end on this episode. But of course, it didn’t! That’s not Haikyuu‘s style. Instead, “The Birth of the Serene King” ends just after Karasuno has taken the lead – again – on what may potentially be the game-winning point.

While it doesn’t have the emotional high points that have been peppered throughout the season, “The Birth of the Serene King” is a solid episode. If anything, it emphasizes the importance of teamwork, determination, and hard work. This is one of the great things about sports anime; there are a lot of motivational speeches, and there is some amazingly good advice to be found.

In an anime like Haikyuu!!, where a lot of the moves are possible (unlike, say, Kuroko’s Basketball, where people had almost supernatural abilities), I tend to feel better after watching an episode just because of the positivity the characters radiate. Even when things aren’t going their way, even when it looks like they’re going to lose, they still keep fighting.

A lot of the focus in “The Birth of the Serene King” is on Kageyama and Atsumu, talking about their talent and their genius, but as Kita points out, “genius” is something they’ve been working at for years. They weren’t born good at volleyball; they wanted it and they worked at it, and their attitude towards the sport is completely different from someone like Kita’s. It’s clear that Kita loves volleyball, but not enough to devote his life to it. And to become a “genius” like Kageyama or Atsumu, it has to be the very air that you breathe.

The Birth of the Serene King Haikyuu
Guess who’s back?

However, I think this idea – that if you want it enough and work hard enough, you will achieve great things – is nicely contrasted by the reappearance of Oikawa. Oikawa, as we know, is just as skilled as Kageyama and Atsumu (there’s a reason Kageyama has always looked up to his senpai), but he has never been able to break through.

Of course, Oikawa’s brief scene highlights an important mindset. His high school volleyball career is over; he has no way of knowing if he’ll ever face Kageyama again, but his success still motivates him to work. I mean, most of Oikawa seems to be composed of spite, and I’m not sure if that’s all that healthy, but who cares what your motivation is as long as it leads to you bettering yourself?

Nearly every member of Karasuno has a moment in this episode. They don’t have the focus that some of the moments had earlier in the match, but they are no less epic. Asahi’s unbelievable service ace, Tanaka’s insane straight shot, Hinata catching the ball with his foot, Sawamura’s unexpected back attack… But there are also things like Tsukishima coming back after a flubbed quick to hit the next one with no issues, or Nishinoya just consistently doing his thing.

The Birth of the Serene King Haikyuu

The thing about Karasuno is they have incredible adaptability. And now they have a setter who is doing more than just giving them what they’re comfortable with; he’s pushing them to be better with every set.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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