So we get resolutions to both Tsukishima and Nishinoya’s situations. And while Tsukishima’s was… a little anticlimactic, it does show some character growth on his part as he is starting to think about his blocks as a team effort rather than a one-on-one fight. I honestly thought that Tsukki was going to have to try something new to try and stop Suna’s weird spikes. And while that wasn’t necessarily wrong, he just did it in a way I hadn’t expected. He was actually missing his blocks semi-on purpose to try and get the guys behind him to get used to Suna’s attacks. But once they were able to get used to it, Tsukki was able to lead Suna into the direction he wanted rather than vice versa. But man, it’s always amusing to see Tsukki use sarcastic kindness to get under the other players’ skins.
It was interesting to see Nishinoya and Kinoshita’s character arcs kind of come together at the end and I do like how they changed up how Kinoshita was able to contribute to the team. Sure, it was sad that he wasn’t able to make a Yamaguchi comeback with his serves, but if he had, I feel like it would have been too repetitive and it would have just made Kinoshita Yamaguchi 2.0. And I don’t think it’d be fair to him as a character to just be another Yamaguchi. So I was glad to see that his contribution didn’t necessarily have him be the hero on the court, but someone who was able to be a hero to another. Especially since Kinoshita was the one to work with Nishinoya the most. And while he didn’t get the recognition from all the people in the stands (or even most of his team for that matter), Nishinoya was still able to acknowledge it and was genuinely grateful for his help.
Nishinoya was never one of my favorite characters, but I appreciate him. Especially with how he’s always willing to go all out for his team and how honest he is about things. We get to learn a little more about Nishinoya and how he came to be who he is seems to mostly stem from his grandfather. And yeah… I can definitely see where he got his borderline obsession with girls from. Anyways, we learn that Nishinoya was actually a very timid kid at first until his grandfather got him to grow out of it. Though it was funny to see that Asahi didn’t quite believe Nishinoya was ever shy or timid. But man, smol timid Nishinoya is freaking adorable and I just love seeing his hair down. He looks so much better with his hair down… a shame really. However, I do think that his grandfather’s quote “It’s a wast of time to be scared” is something very powerful and I feel like even I need to take that to heart. And just like what we learned from Tanaka, even if you take it to heart, it’s still difficult to overcome or there will be times you kind of unintentionally fall back into that mindset. However, his grandfather adds that if he does fall back into being scared, there will be others to help him out of his fear, just like what Kinoshita did for him, officially breaking the cycle of Atsumu’s serves getting the best of Nishinoya.
It seems like Karasuno is slowly getting used to the weird attacks Inarizaki is throwing at them and for the time being are holding onto their lead. But Inarizaki is known for pulling out new attacks on the fly, making them a dangerous force to go up against. I admit it felt a little strange for the episode to be broken up into two halves where the first half was dedicated to Karasuno’s players, while the second half was dedicated to the twins (and a little bit of Aran). Though it was amusing to see Aran just be super indifferent with whatever the twins did or said.
We get to see how the Miya twins started out and developed in volleyball and boy are they a couple of dumb boys. But that really isn’t anything new. Atsumu continues to amuse me and I enjoy his character a lot, even if he can get a little harsh at times. But that’s probably because he expects the best out of everyone or wants everyone up to his standards, even if they are a bit unreasonable at times. I think it just shows just how much he cares about the sport and it’s what happens when people get really passionate and intense over it. It was also nice to see what made Atsumu change his mind to becoming a setter rather than a spiker. It was something so simple of just watching someone help someone spike, but I like the simplicity of it because there are a lot of things people chase after over really simple things. Not everyone needs a life changing situation to help them see what they want to go after. But can we also take a moment to talk about that set he did at the end. I hardly know anything about volleyball, but even I could tell that what he did was amazing. To be able to get into position at that height and make a perfect set when everything is moving at high speeds, that’s freaking amazing. No wonder he’s the #1 setter.
It was also interesting to see the twins’ relationship change over time and while it was a little sad to see them kind of drift a part in a way, that drift is probably a very real thing between most siblings. Especially when they start developing their own individual personalities. The two often clashed out of sibling rivalry and it probably helped them drive to get better having someone around them to always challenge them. And while Atsumu was needlessly harsh with Osumu when he was off his game, I feel like that’s just how siblings are with each other and if anything, Osumu immediately snapped out of his funk to fight with Atsumu. The two of them fighting seems to be the norm as the other students gathered around laughing that they’re fighting again. Siblings will be siblings, am I right? But in the end, while they have vastly different personalities and fight a lot, in the end, they still love one another as siblings do.
Watching Atsumu in action must have lit a fire under Kageyama. He states he’s glad he came to nationals and I’m sure he’s going to try and compete with Atsumu as a fellow setter if he wasn’t already. In any case, this match seems like it’s neck and neck with each team getting used to the others’ attacks.