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"The Ultimate Challengers" (Japanese: 最強 (さいきょう) 挑戦者 (ちょうせんしゃ) Saikyō no Chōsensha) is the nineteenth episode (and the sixth episode of the second cours) of Haikyū!! To The Top, season four of the anime based on Haikyū!! by Haruichi Furudate. The episode premiered on November 6, 2020[1].

The opening theme of this episode is Toppakō by SUPER BEAVER and the ending theme is One Day by SPYAIR

Overview

In the continuation of the match between Karasuno and Inarizaki, Nishinoya starts to struggle as he is repeatedly targeted by Atsumu's serves. As Inarizaki continues to widen the gap with their variety of attacks, Karasuno begins to target one of Inarizaki's players with the hope of turning things around.

Plot

With Inarizaki in the lead at 14-7, Atsumu serves once more. The float serves goes directly to Nishinoya but he is unable to save it, thus resulting in Atsumu scoring a service ace. From this interaction, Takinoue and Shimada figure out that Atsumu has purposely been targeting Nishinoya since the start of the second set. Daichi also comes to the same conclusion from seeing that all of Inarizaki's servers have tried to avoid Nishinoya except for Atsumu.

During a time-out, Nishinoya asks Ennoshita to tape his fingers as Tanaka questions if his fingers were sprained during his last receive attempt. Mika is impressed by Atsumu's serves but is surprised to hear Suguru say that Atsumu is deliberately targeting Nishinoya despite that the libero is the team's best defender. He states that Atsumu is most likely doing this because it will cause the rest of the team to become uneasy with receives if their best receiver is left useless. Doing this is surely causing pressure to build for Karasuno. Atsumu himself feels empowered that he was able to get a service ace off Nishinoya but several of his teammates are not impressed, with Suna stating that Atsumu's lack of thought can be surprising.

Nishinoya s4-e19-2.png

As the teams head back onto the court, Yachi wishes good luck onto Nishinoya. Atsumu paces four steps, signaling he will be doing a jump float again. He again targets Nishinoya who attempts to make an underhand receive but fails. Watching in the bleachers, Lev voices how he felt certain that Nishinoya would be able to make the receive until Shibayama explains that the surface area of where a ball can be received is narrow but can change the path of the ball if hit the wrong way.

Before the next serve, Asahi remembers how Nishinoya has always been there to help him stay positive and now wonders how he can do the same for the libero but is unsure of what to say. Just as Tanaka is about to try to help, Nishinoya suddenly begins doing finger push-ups that Kinoshita recognizes is Nishinoya's self-punishment and his way of trying to calm his emotions. Atsumu serves against and Nishinoya notices the ball shift to the side. He is able to dive and receive but feels that it was a poor dig. Tanaka sends Asahi the last hit but Asahi right away sees that he will not be able to hit a powerful spike from it. Although he is able to get past a double block, Atsumu was able to receive the spike. Because Atsumu made the first touch, Osamu hurries to make the set. Suguru shows great admiration that Osamu was able to make a c-pass off a counter despite not being the setter. As Suna is about to his the ball, Tsukishima appears before him. The Miya twins are surprised to see Tsukishima already in front of Suna and Lev feels confident that the middle blocker will succeed only for Suna to still make it past Tsukishima to score. Suna mockingly tells Tsukishima that he is a great blocker but Tsukishima simply shakes off his words.

With Inarizaki ahead by ten points, some of the Inarizaki fans question how Suna was able to get the ball past Tsukishima. One fan in particular is familiar with Suna being a slow starter at first but is highly skilled in manipulating the opposing blockers and has a wider point of contact with the ball than most other spikers due to his technique of using his entire upper body. It allows for Suna to get past the blockers without losing power for his spikes. Atsumu serves another jump float but Nishinoya calls it to land out, though Osamu questions why Nishinoya would be upset at his enemies mistake.

Suna and Tsukishima s4-e19-1.png

With Karasuno now having the chance to regain points, Asahi delivers a powerful serve. Though Aran is able to receive it, the power behind the serve causes the ball to head back to Karasuno's side. Osamu gives chase but the ball lands out before he can reach it. Asahi serves again but Aran is able to receive it properly. Osamu and Suna make an approach but Tsukishima is able to see that Suna will get the set. Kageyama joins in the block but Suna surprises everyone when he is able to once more get past the block by visibly using his core to lean further to one side. According to Atsumu, Suna has an easier time getting past blockers the more talented they are. Kenma and Kuroo are able to see how Suna's form gave the appearance that he would hit a cross shot but had to change this when Tsukishima jumped to block and Kageyama tried to support him. Kuroo is able to surmise that Suna used his approach and form as a ploy to get the blockers where he wanted which made it possible for him to get past them. Daichi tries to encourage the players to get Inarizaki off their game in order to make their comeback.

Ginjima serves next. Nishinoya makes a receive and Kageyama sets to Tsukishima though Suna is able to get a one touch on the spike. Although he is faced with a triple block, Aran is given the last set and but the ball goes up when it hits the blockers. Aran tries to slam the ball down but Kageyama beats him to it though Akagi is able to dig the ball. Aran makes another approach and is once more faced with three blockers trying to stop him. Aran is able to hit the ball past the block with great force. The ball slams into Asahi but still goes up and back toward the net. Aran is able to spike the ball down before Kageyama can stop him. As Aran is showered with cheers and praise, Takeda prepares to call a time-out but Ukai stops him; stating that the players know their mistake well enough not to be told. More importantly, Ukai states that they cannot allow Aran to rest even for a few seconds. At the same time, Saeko says that Aran reminds her of Ushijima. Shimada says that she is not wrong but the biggest difference between Aran and Ushijima is that Aran takes part in serve receives. Because of this, the players of Karasuno are able to target Aran which has resulted in a few service aces off him. Topped off with having to spike from a few off receives and facing so many blocks, Aran is surely feeling the stress build.

When Ginjima's next serve is received, Tanaka is able to score with a cross shot. At this time, Sugawara is sent in when Tsukishima is up to serve. To Nishinoya's annoyance, Sugawara promises to avenge the libero. Ennoshita figures that because Sugawara is being sent in it means that Kinoshita will not have a chance to go in. At this time, he notices that Kinoshita appears to be in deep concentration. As a form of mental preparation, Kinoshita is imagining himself making his twenty-fifth service ace in a row. In an attempt to get his team fired-up, Sugawara reminds them that they were able to win the first set and therefore should do the same with the second set; the statement putting him under the watchful eye of the Inarizaki team. Remembering how they discussed in their meeting about putting pressure on Aran, Sugawara aims his serve to go directly to the Inarizaki ace. He is successful in getting Aran down to both knees. Hinata gets a one-touch on Osamu's spike and Sugawara is able to make an amazing receive to keep the ball in play. Kageyama sends the last hit over and forces Aran to make the first touch. As Atsumu gets in place to set, Aran calls for the last hit.

Aran spikes the ball but is blocked by Tanaka and Kageyama. However, the ball lands out and gives Inarizaki the point. Coach Kurosu shouts at Aran to keep calm while Sugawara is subbed out. At the same time, Inarizaki is subbing in first year pinch-server Heisuke Riseki and bringing Suna out. As he goes onto the court, Riseki reveals that he was never a regular player during his time in middle school and the only time he had been sent in to serve he was unable to make the serve count. Determined not to let history repeat itself, Riseki serves and gets the ball over to Karasuno. Asahi is able to receive and allow Hinata and Kageyama to perform the quick and score. As Hinata celebrates, he suddenly hears harsh criticism but sees that it's all directed to Riseki as he is being subbed off the court. Suguru tells Mika that he's heard that the cheer squad will give as much grief to their own team if they make a bad play. Mika thinks this is harsh for the player considering he's just a high school student and not a professional athlete. Riseki returns to the other awaiting Inarizaki players and finds comfort from team captain Kita.

Kageyama serves next and lands a clean service ace. The power and speed behind the serve surprises many. Hinata immediately realizes that Kageyama has become what he refers to as 'Kalm Kageyama'. Upon Tanaka's questioning, Hinata explains that Kageyama has entered a calming state in which he is performing at his very best and mostly happens when he is playing against a powerful opponent; though he adds that Kageyama's expression is the only thing about Kageyama that is calm. Before Kageyama can serve again, Inarizaki calls for a time-out. After brief pep-talks from the coaches, the teams are back on the court and Kageyama serves. He lands another service ace when Osamu is unable to pick up the receive. At the next serve, Ginjima is able to receive and Aran goes to spike. With another triple block before him, Aran does a cross shot that lands out due to the amount of power behind it caused by frustration building through the game. Akagi is able to get Kageyama's next serve up but it goes back to Karasuno. Hinata and Kageyama right away attempt a quick attack and get past Osamu and Ōmimi but Atsumu is able to receive with the determination of breaking their confidence. Aran is then able to counter and score.

Kita s4-e19-1.png

With his brother up to serve, Atsumu quickly yells at Osamu to finish the set with his serves and that he is behind in the number of service aces. Annoyed at his twin, Osamu serves but put too much strength in and causes the ball to fly past the court and hit the scoreboard that Yachi was standing next to. Atsumu right away begins to ridicule Osamu for the serve until Aran silences him. Through another play, Ginjima's spike is shut down with a block but Asahi is pointed out to have touched the net in the process. The Inarizaki team soon become surprised when a substitution is being made and they see none other than their captain being sent in.

Appearances

Characters

Locations

Episode Notes

Trivia

Errors

  • When Kageyama hits his first service ace, Aran is seen with the number 2 on his jersey.

Difference between Anime and Manga

  • Manga: Just after Nekoma arrives from their game against Sarukawa Tech, Aran is shown deflecting a spike off Tsukishima. Inuoka and Shibayama are also shown taking notice of Inarizaki's band and Atsumu's signal to silence the band during his serve. Kai and Yaku are also shown reacting to Nishinoya not being able to receive Atsumu's jump float serve. Anime: This is not shown. Kai and Yaku do not make an appearance in the episode.
  • Manga: After Nishinoya misses receiving the jump float, Atsumu is shown to notice that Daichi and Nishinoya are the team's best receivers and that Nishinoya is unable to make proper overhand receives. Anime: This is not shown.
  • Manga: When Shibayama is explaining to Lev how the ball can be received poorly, the Nekoma team is standing in the sideline area. Yaku also comments that Lev probably did not understand Shibayama's explanation. Anime: The team is sitting in the bleachers and Yaku does not appear.
  • Manga: Before Nishinoya begins his push-ups, Hinata comments how the game is now Atsumu vs Nishinoya, the best server vs the best defender. Anima: This is not shown.
  • Manga: During Asahi's spike, Yamamoto notices that the ace is targeting Atsumu to make the first touch and to notice that Osamu cover the set. Anime: Yamamoto does not appear in the episode and Suguru notices Osamu making the set.
  • Manga: When Suna was able to spike past Tsukishima, Kuroo also notices. Anime: Kuroo is not shown reacting.

OSTs Used

Crunchyroll

  • Inarizaki's Cheer ② (Japanese: 稲荷崎応援曲② Inarizaki Ōen Kyoku②) 0:00 - 0:09
  • "Brain" (Japanese: "脳" "Nō") 0:18 - 0:45
  • - OP -
  • Inarizaki's Cheer ① (Japanese: 稲荷崎応援曲① Inarizaki Ōen Kyoku①) 2:15 - 3:01
  • Inarizaki's Cheer ② (Japanese: 稲荷崎応援曲② Inarizaki Ōen Kyoku②) 3:27 - 3:44
  • A Bad Feeling (Japanese: カンジワルイ Kanjiwarui) 4:07 - 5:39
  • Initiative (Japanese: 主導権 Shudō-ken) 5:46 - 6:37
  • Huddle Up (Japanese: 作戦会議 Sakusen kaigi) 6:49 - 8:17
  • It Doesn't Work (Japanese: うまくいかない Umaku Ika nai) 9:10 - 9:49
  • - eyecatch B-
  • - eyecatch A-
  • An Annoying Guy (Japanese: 嫌な男 Iyana Otoko) 10:24 - 11:10
  • The Road to the 'Final Boss' (Japanese: “ラスボス"への道 "Rasubosu" E no Michi) 11:17 - 13:27
  • The Battle Without Willpower (Japanese: 根性無しの戦い Konjōnashi no Tatakai) 14:35 - 15:23
  • Fellows (Japanese: Tomogara) 17:34 - 18:28
  • The Strongest Challengers (Japanese: 最強の挑戦者 Saikyō no Chōsen-sha) 18:58 - 20:32
  • Kageyama vs Tsukishima (Japanese: 影山対月島 Kageyama tai Tsukishima) 21:36 - 22:20
  • - ED -

References

  1. ON AIR - Haikyū!! anime - haikyu.jp (Japanese) (retrieved September 28, 2020)

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