1. Hinata and Kageyama. In which we all were Yachi Hitoka. One of the things that always comes to mind when I think about this fight is her eyes full of tears seeing Hinata talking about Kageyama, calling him his partner despite having just been through the ultimate breaking point in their relationship. It was hard and heartbreaking but still it’s my favorite fight of all, because it finally made them (and all the team with them) realize the extent of their relationship and how much they need each other to play, to be happy, and to grow.
2. Asahi and Nishinoya. Angst is the way to my heart and their fight made episode 9 my overall favorite of the first season. We never saw any of them as furious as they were during this fight, and the most heartbreaking thing is that they both thought they failed the other and their entire team, that they were not good enough. And none of them can stand it. We know this affected Asahi way more than Noya, but, even if it seems the exacts opposite, this fight showed how unbreakable their bond is, how loyal they are to the other, so much that Noya decided to never win a match without him. Ever. He’d give up his talent and his future because of him. And every time I think about it I die.
3. Oikawa and Iwaizumi. A fight that changed Oikawa’s way of thinking forever and showed us that sometimes Iwa truly has to use the hard ways to make that obsessive mind that’s Oikawa Tooru understand an easy but still life chancing concept that’s “the team with the better six is stronger”. The aftermath of this brief fight is amazing, with Oikawa saying: “I suddenly feel invincible” and Iwa being all concern of having hit him too strong. This is…the most iwaoi thing they have ever done.
4. Tsukishima and Yamaguchi. When they fight I’m ALWAYS rooting for Yams like hell. You tell him boy! You know it’s not my top, but still no one gets a grip of Tsukki like Yamaguchi does, especially from season 2 on. I love how, even if he respects him a lot, he’s not afraid to take him by the shirt and yell in his face the always iconic “What else do we need besides pride?”, hitting like a hammer in Tsukishima’s already cracked wall. This fight made all Tsukki’s limits crumble, it lit the flame inside him, it brushed all the pain his brother cause him in the past, but mostly it showed us how very very cool Yamaguchi really is. A+
5. Yahaba abd Kyoutani. This is more of a confrontation that a fight but still (I have realized that there aren’t so many fights ??? HOW ???). This is a softer version of the iwaoi fight, in which Yahaba only needed a slam against a wall and some cutting words to make Kyoutani understand what means to be a true part of the team. Yes, this is Yahaba letting out his “future captain” side, but you know, it’s the first fight that creates the bond…and I sense that these two will have a lot to entertain us with next year…
So I decided to make “Danielle’s favorite anime men” hunger games and…this happened. Oikawa is out for blood. (I also died the first day because Soryu was trying to shoot Mamoru with a bow and arrow and hit me instead. 🙃)
How grounded it is. There are no freak moves, no flashy abilities … there’s nothing that a normal player in real life can’t do.
Even their hair colors are normal.
And the scenes we get outside the court are brilliant, showcasing each character as a person, not just a player, and that’s so, so important in any anime–to get to know the characters, establish their personalities.
And how it’s important to fail at the beginning–and keep failing, as you train–to become stronger, as was the case in the Training Camp arc. How many dives did they have to do at the beginning? How many? They lost every single time, all the time, in those first few days.
You get to care for each and every single character, opposing team or not.
Characters have to deal with real, personal issues that we can relate to, and that makes us connect with and care for them that much more.
Females don’t take the back seat.
Coaches don’t take the back seat.
Meaningful, complex relationships between setters and captains that are built upon mutual trust, respect, and loyalty.
Relationships between players are free of fan-service. No blushing, no intimate close-ups … everything is conveyed through either a single, meaningful look or gesture. And that makes it that much more powerful.
Each team is a family. Each and every team. It’s conveyed and felt so deeply that it’s impossible not to cheer them on.
Superb, gradual, slow-burning character development.
Characters are not confined to tropes. The stoic will beat himself up for missing a point; the king practices till his fingers are blistered; the anti-social gamer is the backbone of the team.
Gorgeous, fluid animation.
Find me boys more willing to toss aside everything to win.