Okay so before the new episode airs I want to talk about how important Tsukki’s character development in this last episode really is.
First of all, we know Tsukki doesn’t really get excited about anything, but we do see Tsukki either caring about stuff, or getting excited/smiling at things when he’s younger:
He steps in and laughs at Yama’s bullies, calling them lame.
He’s happy talking to Akiteru/playing volleyball with him.
He’s excited about Akiteru playing.
When he finds out Akiteru lied about his true status on the team, it doesn’t turn him off of volleyball, it just makes him stop caring about stuff altogether:
He doesn’t smile anymore unless he’s making fun of someone, because caring about stuff is lame.
He specifically makes fun of people like Tanaka, Noya, Hinata, and Kageyama the most because they care so much, and caring is lame.
Ultimately, he’s seen first hand that caring about anything too much is pointless, and will only leave you heartbroken.
As viewers, we can see that he actually does still care about stuff, even if he doesn’t show it. Mostly, we see this through Yamaguchi.
He walks home with Yama, and clearly listens to what he has to say (even if he does tell him to shut up afterwards.) A great example of this is when Hinata and Kageyama ask him to help them study.
His immediate reaction is “Why on earth would I do that?” but as soon as Tadashi encourages Kei to help, he reluctantly agrees. He cares, at the very least, about what Tadashi thinks of him.
He still plays volleyball. He still actively tries, when he could have quit a long time ago.
We see him get pissed off when stuff doesn’t go his way, and we see him thinking/analyzing/coming up with a solution to the problem, even before the Shiratorizawa match.
When he starts to lose steam, Yama kicks his but into gear with the whole ‘Pride’ speech.
Most of this character development is from Season 2, so this is all stuff we already know, but stay with me for a moment so I can talk a little more about things from Akiteru’s perspective.
Think about how hard this must be for Akiteru.
Yeah, initially he must have lied at least partially for his own sake, to protect his pride.
Ultimately though, he wanted his brother to be proud of him, and when he saw his brother’s excitement for volleyball and didn’t want to ruin that by telling him that no matter how hard he worked it ended up being pointless.
That’s the exact opposite of what Akiteru wanted: for his brother to stop caring, stop trying, because it doesn’t matter anyway. And yet, that’s exactly what ended up happening.
Flash forward to the match with Shiratorizawa:
Akiteru sees Kei thinking, trying, actually caring.
And when Kei succeeds at what everyone assumes is impossible, he sees Kei actually, outwardly care about the result.
As an older sibling myself, this moment gets to me because what Akiteru must be feeling is more than pride.
It’s more than ‘My little brother did something and I’m really proud of him, I always believed in him, etc. etc.’
It’s the feeling of ‘Even though I fucked up, I didn’t ruin everything. He turned out okay. He did what even I couldn’t do.’
And god if that isn’t what he wanted all along, just to do right by him, just for Kei to be excited about something, regardless of whether or not he succeeds.
Because it’s not about the success, it’s not about the fact that he did it. It’s the fact that he cares about succeeding, that he actually tried, that he’s hooked on volleyball, that he’s got something to be passionate about.
This moment is really, really important, because it’s not the moment Kei begins to care about something, it’s the moment he actually shows it.
I think yamaguchi would def be the type to just start screaming out of frustration. Not screaming at anything, just a steady aaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH that slowly gets louder when he’s studying or something. And the first few times tsukishima was all concerned like wtf? What’s the happening? What is it? After like the sixth time it happened he just gave up. After the fourteenth, he started joining in. I mean, if u can’t beat them join them. But ofc he does it in his dry, quiet deadpan. So while yams is steadily increasing in volume and urgency, tsukki’s just going “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” quietly in the background. And neither of them even bother looking up. Imagine akiteru walks in on them doing this one day and is like ??? What? Is this what is cool with the kids nowadays?