2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu – Episode 12 [Final Impressions]

Welp, I knew this was coming and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. We finally get to see who took the victory and whose dreams come to a screeching halt. And despite the outcome, I’m glad that they were able to fully wrap up and give our characters some next steps in how to move forward with volleyball.

I have mixed feelings of us seeing end of the game from Haijima’s perspective with the team calling him over. Rather, I really would have appreciated just silence sweeping the court after the ball came down for the final time – Seiin’s disbelief that they had won the game, and Fukuho’s shock over the loss. It didn’t need to be long, but it would have carried a lot of weight. Instead, we caught the tail end of it, with the teams thanking each other and Haijima eventually collapsing. I understand that they wanted to move towards the future as this game is only a steppingstone but taking this victory should have really felt much more joyous, more “against all odds we defeated a hard boss”. But at least for Seiin, it felt like the win didn’t mean much to them in the end.

But on the flipside, while we didn’t see anyone absolutely breakdown on the court, this loss was hard for Fukuho. And I really appreciated how they framed it. It was much more of a “I’m sorry I couldn’t do this for you.” And for me, that was really impactful. I’m glad they got good cries out of it! Subaru and Ochi had their moment alone in the locker room, and they all were able to let out their feelings in the end. There was never any disdain towards Seiin and that was nice to see. And if I’m completely honest, Fukuho letting out all their feelings was the best part of this episode for me. I think they deserved that much in the end. It’s also really nice that Subaru is able to move on from the weight that he had been carrying and can establish new goals. I appreciated that he was able to reiterate that he was going to get surgery, go through PT, and still comeback to Volleyball. Even if there isn’t another season, it really does feel like there is still a future for him.

Quite frankly, this ending did a really good job of showing that there is still a future for all of them. Though I definitely felt it more in the third years on both teams. I so desperately wanted Oda and Aoki to get more development in previous episodes, but of all the characters on Seiin, they were the ones I was most fond of. So, I’m glad to see that Oda wants to continue playing in college, and while Aoki is really only doing this for fun, that request to continue playing together really made me smile. As for the rest of the team, we didn’t really get to explore their futures aside from the next tournament and that… honestly makes sense because everyone else still has another year to play before they’ll leave the team. But hey! At least they all have something to look forward to!

As for the ending, I’m glad that Subaru and Haijima were able to talk to each other, though I am kind of bummed that there wasn’t more closure with them. I’m glad that Haijima was able to see Subaru in crutches, I think that made an impact even though very little words were shared about it. And I’m interested to know if Haijima’s lack of satisfaction is something that would carry through if the series were to continue. That sentiment is pretty interesting to explore considering the lingering words of his old teammate. What happens if he can no longer be satisfied by Volleyball and something feels like it’s missing. In some ways it puts into that perspective, that losing can really push your passion further. But heck, at least he was able to identify a new dream by making it to the youth team and I’m super happy that Haijima was able to say the words “We can play with Subaru”, which at the very least indicates that there is some respect between the two even if Haijima is not the best with conveying those feelings.

So, I hope that they are able to meet in the future and play on the same team together! Without Subaru I don’t think that Seiin would have been as good as they are today. Sure, they still have even tougher opponents that they will face off against, but at least they were able to grow pretty significantly with this final match. If they decide to pursue a second season, all I ask is that Subaru and Fukuho make a return!


Final Impressions

Ahhh…. So, we’re finally at the end and I really don’t know how I feel about this anime. Initially, I was really hyped up from the trailer, but all of that excitement seemed to disappear with each new episode and only started to build up again once we hit the ending. Which is really not an ideal situation to be in. I think 2.43 definitely had a lot of things going for it, there were a lot of interesting concepts and side stories! But they definitely suffered from lack of development in both the characters and the story.

And while that sounds rather harsh, that pretty accurately sums up my feelings of my whole experience. This anime had an uphill battle debuting the immediately after the newest Haikyuu!! season finished. And at the same time, I feel like it came out at just the right time because it could immediately follow that hype and provide a different perspective from the sport. At the end of the day, that’s what we got! Our core set of characters have very different personalities and while yes Volleyball is what drives both stories, one seems to be much more of a team effort, whereas another really does seem like one person is shouldering all the work even if it would benefit from spreading the love.

Unfortunately, that’s one of the biggest areas where 2.43 really fell short for me. In my first impressions of the series, I mentioned that I was worried that they would introduce us to a handful of interesting characters and not have enough time to develop them. And that worry tragically came to fruition. I’ll start with the Seiin team because surprisingly they are the focus of the series. All of the second years tended to blend together as the series went on, there wasn’t a whole lot that separated them out. They were just members of the team and occasionally, they existed to fight Haijima on his ideas, and then to immediately turn around and support him. Of the second years, we get the most information about Kanno, but at the end of the day I couldn’t tell you very much about him! Uchimura has his chance while having to deal with potentially covering for Oda, but they never give him the chance to show what he’s made of, or how hard he works to be able to fill their shoes. And then there’s the blond boy who came from the rugby team. He just one day showed up and was on the team and since then is role was just,  the sports guy. I can’t even remember his name without looking it up because he just fell into the background (It’s Okuma, btw). For the third years, I really, really hoped that we would get more Oda moments especially after he recruited Haijima to the team. I admired his dedication to the sport despite his height. I really wanted to cheer him on, but unfortunately while he did get growth, we never got to see him work through it. Just brief glimpses every few episodes. I really wish we could have seen him putting in the hours even after Haijima and Kuroba left to make sure he could stand on strongly on the court. And then there is Aoki, who really is the brains behind the whole team. He’s mischievous and is totally willing to let chaos fall into the group. I was glad that he was able to have the conversation in the bath about how he wasn’t going to make the sport a career…. I just really wish there were more moments like that.

And so, while the entirety of Seiin’s supporting cast could have benefitted from development, I do want to touch upon our main duo, Haijima and Kuroba. They are a clunky pair with lots of things to work out in their support of each other. And that’s fine. I wasn’t expecting everything to flowers and rainbows between them the whole time. But I really feel like I missed a pivotal shift in their relationship. For a while they seemed to be going back and forth of whether or not they actually liked each other and then suddenly it was “I want to be your ace”. It felt really sudden. And it doesn’t really help that I wasn’t a fan of either character. And that’s fine! There have been many series where I haven’t particularly enjoyed the main characters, but I still thoroughly appreciate what they experience and bring to the table. They were both interesting, it’s just… they’re both so selfish. Haijima, no matter how many times he said that he was doing this for the team really centered it around his own feelings and Kuroba. We never really got to see him grow closer to the team or work to… take into consideration everyone else. It always just seemed liked one moment they were frustrated with him and the next they would follow him into war. But Kuroba? Oh man, oh man, I cut him a lot of slack in the beginning episodes because he was just a Middle Schooler making dumb decisions. Even the pressure and inability to perform well on the court seemed to be something interesting to explore… but it just seemed like *poof* he’s all good now. I just really believe there was so much more they could do and show with these characters.

But Fukuho?? I am so sorry to everyone who was following my weekly posts because it was basically just me rooting for Subaru to take his team to the center court. Just all around I found them to be much more convincing. And since they were the opposing team, I suppose that I didn’t have as much critical eye on the whole team being developed, but I cared about that team a lot. Subaru, Ochi, and Kohei,  they were like a family supporting each other. I was really rooting for them. And, I think for a good while, Fukuho was carrying the series for a bit because they were the ones getting developed. We learned about Subaru’s knees, and Ochi’s backstory. They weren’t just some opponents; they were the opponent. If anything, they really put us in the position of everyone in the stands that was rooting for them to win. Gah!!! If there is a season two, I just want more of them!!

Now, that I’ve gone on about characters and their general lack of development, another worry that I mentioned in my first impressions was the anime falling into excessive drama and glossing over significant events. And… again I think my worry came to fruition. Prior to Fukuho being introduced, it seemed like every episode ended on a dramatic moment to get us all to come back and see what had happened, but at the end of the day most of these dramatic moments didn’t have a significant impact, it felt like drama for the sake of drama. Or they often showed up as “remember when Subaru and Aoki bonked knees? Yeah, turns out Subaru was in excruciating pain, but we didn’t show any of that!” or “Yori? The cousin? Yeah, he was getting beat up, but don’t worry he won’t come back again, so everything is good!” or even just the whole thing with Haijima’s Middle School!! I am still not over the suicide portion of Haijima’s story. That’s a traumatizing event and it impacted him significantly as a person. But to have it all turn out to be a prank??? and then never addressed again aside from a brief “it was my out”, that really upset me. Genuinely, I believe if they were going to go that route, there were so many other ways they could have done it. It just left a really bad taste in my mouth.

I don’t want to end my thoughts on a negative note, because I do think that there were some positives from the series. For one, I thought a lot of the character interactions were really nice. They had good moment interacting with each other and I think that was one of the places that they really shined. That’s really where we learned the most out from these characters; where we really learned about what drove them and why they are still willing to stand on the court and still play. Plus, a lot of their ambitions were admirable to watch! By the end, I really didn’t know who to root for (but I still stand by, that Fukuho should have won, and Seiin should have spent the next year really honing in on their cohesiveness. Let! The! Characters! Connect!!!!). And another positive! The opening was great! I really enjoyed ! It’s definitely my favorite of the one’s I’ve covered this season!

And so, with all of that said and done, if I had to rate this anime… I’d probably give it a 5.95 /10. I really can’t bring myself to bring it up to a solid six, but this anime at the end of the day with all of its drama and potential is pretty darn average! I don’t feel like it really brought anything new to the table that we haven’t seen before. The storytelling struggled as so many things got swept up in the whirlwind, but never managed to settle and become fully filled out. And unfortunately, the same is true of the characters. There was so much potential for a lot of these characters, but they just didn’t get the time to become fully fleshed out. I actually feel bad giving it the score that I did, because I really did want to like this anime! I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but there was so much potential in so many areas that just wasn’t met. I’m not upset with this series; I just feel little bit let down.

With all that said, I do think it’s worth watching. At the end of the day, I didn’t dread coming back to watch.  I think that there’s something in here that a lot of watchers could enjoy. For me, it’s straight up just Subaru and his drive to play the game to win for all those counting on him. For a while there, I was really coming back for him. I wanted to see him succeed. But I do feel like there was a golden nugget that came out of every episode even if I felt the overarching story was not the strongest. Thank you all for following me and this series and best of luck to Seiin at the National Tournament!!

Quietcupcake

I live up to my username, but I hope we can be friends!

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