Were you on the edge of your seat during “Monsters’ Ball”? I was. And I’ve read the manga, so I knew what was coming! That doesn’t make the events of this episode any less tense or exciting. It was everything a penultimate episode should be, and only serves to remind me that we only have one week of Haikyuu! left before we face a hiatus of unknown length.
Now, hopefully, this upcoming hiatus won’t be as long as the previous one, as the manga has finished, so they don’t need to wait for more chapters. (The chapter adapted in this episode only came out in 2018.) And after “Monsters’ Ball”, I can’t handle another four-year gap, because this is exactly what I want out of a Haikyuu! episode. My heart was racing, my fingers were shaking… I had to go back and watch some scenes a couple of times because I just had to see them again.
When an episode opens by going straight into the OP, you know something major is coming. And “Monsters’ Ball” was 100% hype. Tsukishima blocking Suna and being absolutely certain that Hinata would be there to pick up the receive, Sawamura being there to help Tsukishima save that last point, Kageyama’s dump to get them to match point, Asahi timing his spike to the block, and of course, Hinata and Kageyama being right there to block the Miya brothers’ minus tempo back attack.
I loved how the edges of the screen got darker as Karasuno went faster and faster, showing how their focus was narrowing and they were getting tunnel vision. I loved the throwback to the Miyagi first year training camp with Hinata’s receive slowing down the tempo of the game. I loved the parallel to the Aoba Josai match in season 1 (only this time with Kageyama and Hinata doing the blocking). I loved Yahaba, in particular, cheering so hard for Karasuno. I loved how excited Atsumu seemed by his opponents scoring a point. I loved the reflection of the ball hitting the line in Kita’s eyes. I loved a lot of this episode.
I’m a little surprised that they had the final point in this episode; in seasons 2 and 3, the final point happened in the last episode. But then, those points were able to stand on their own; this point needed all the build-up. We needed to see the team’s speed pick up and Hinata’s “take our time” pass. We needed to see the volley and the last-minute saves leading up to that final block.
I am so unbelievably proud of this team and everything they’ve accomplished. They have clawed their way up through the ranks and have now beaten the number two ranked team in the country.
But really, let’s talk about Hinata. The training camp arc was so important for Hinata’s development, and this match was the perfect way to showcase what he learned. And remember, he learned this all as a ball boy – someone who wasn’t even allowed to fully participate in the camp. As Sugawara tearfully recollects, when Hinata first joined the team, he was all about spiking; he just wanted a toss, any toss. And he’s still like that – we even see that in this game when he tells Kageyama to give him the next toss, even after Kageyama “botched” it – but he’s now learned the importance of other aspects of the game. His perfect receive a couple of episodes ago, followed up by his slow-the-pace-down receive in “Monsters’ Ball”, help highlight his growth.
That final block, though, is what seals the game, and that has less to do with Hinata’s growth as a player and more to do with him and Kageyama recognizing kindred spirits in the Miya twins. They knew that attack was coming because it’s the same thing they would have done. And so while the rest of the team scrambled, they were already there, the same way they attack before anyone realizes. No one understands that attack more than they do.
What’s really great about this match, and honestly this episode, in particular, is that Karasuno is known for being an offensive team, yet consistently throughout this match it was their defense that saved them. Karasuno has never won a match on a block like that. They’ve gotten points off of blocks, but not that many. They’re not a team known for their blocking. So it was really fitting that the first time that happens, it’s Hinata and Kageyama blocking a minus tempo quick.
And with the Inarizaki game over and Karasuno victorious, that means that next season will be the Battle of the Garbage Dump. That was something that couldn’t not happen. They’ve been building it up since Nekoma was introduced in season 1, and after the Nekoma-centric episodes earlier this season (and the not-so-subtle foreshadowing of a crow and a cat looking at each other in the ED), it seemed like it was obvious.
That doesn’t make Karasuno’s match against Inarizaki any less exciting, as “Monsters’ Ball” proves. Even when you suspect the outcome, it’s the journey that makes it interesting.
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.
Read our before commenting.
Do not copy our content in whole to other websites. Linkbacks are encouraged.
Copyright © The Geekiary