Going into the third season of Haikyuu, there was a potential issue I saw coming up within the story. I didn’t see any character development that was left for them to do. Kageyama and Hinata had gone through their arcs. They had even finished them off with the final match of last season with them facing off against Mai Waifu Oikawa again and prevailing using techniques they had built up over the course of the season. The match used for season 3 felt like it had been bolted onto the end of the main story, like a shounen action movie where none of the events really matter as none of them are considered canon. However I had forgotten about Tsukishima.
Tsukishima had undergone a certain amount of development, learning to not take his abilities from granted and things like that. None of it had ever really endeared him to me mind you. He wasn’t my least favourite character on the team, but I didn’t care for him nor his story. This season though changed that. It made Tsuki care. The moment where, following rally after rally where he tried to out think the opposing ace, he made the correct move and shut down his spike completely to win them the round was fantastic. However what truly elevated it was what happened after that. A quick little batch of flashbacks to excited other volleyball players, trying to gee up his enthusiasm and explain to him where their thrill for volleyball came from.
And then Tsuki let out the best animated scream of joy ever in anime history. His arms shook, the sweat bounced off his body, his jaw trembled as he yelled as loud as he could in a way he never could before. For the first time in the whole series, Tsuki genuinely cared about the outcome of a match. His development was complete.