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“If you’re going to hit it, hit it until it breaks!”– Oikawa Tooru
The most famous quote when it comes to identifying the one and only setter it belongs to: Oikawa Tooru.
A quote he repeated several times to himself and told Kageyama Tobio in middle-school explaining indirectly what it means.
But what is behind his famous quote?
It’s important to remember that this time, there are three possible meanings to the quote which we will analyse all in depth.
Two of them will take reference from the anime while the last one is going to be a look at the manga translation of the quote.
Firstly, “if you’re going to hit it”.
Meaning obviously that when you take action or do a specific task, in this case he says going to hit.
It doesn’t presume that someone will take action but a possibility that an action can take place, so if that action takes place something has to result from it,
The result comes in the following, “hit it until it breaks!”
Now this part is a bit tricky and here comes the split in meanings.
If we consider that we are talking about a general action taking place, then we have to generalize the meaning of breaking and look more into Oikawa’s personality in addition.
Oikawa is a very hard-working person and a perfectionist, meaning that if he will go for a goal he will surely do that at all costs.
What does that mean for the quote?
Now the quote can be viewed in a whole different light, basically telling Kageyama or anyone else that if you’re going to do something then do that something properly.
Here properly means even if it breaks yourself, go through with it which would make sense if we consider Oikawa’s destructive overworking attitude to become better and training like crazy to perfect his techniques like the killer serve.
But that meaning is very specific if you only look at how Oikawa does things, so what does it mean if we overly generalize the quote fitting any other person?
The second meaning taken literally has a more confident message behind it.
Connecting it close to the aspect of athletes here, Oikawa could mean that if you do something (let’s take here serving), make sure that you do it with no hesitation and become unstoppable through it.
Why is it applicable to more people than Oikawa himself?
Because Kageyama and Ushijima are possible candidates, Kageyama with his tosses and Ushijima with his unstoppable spikes.
Oikawa is someone who is known especially for his powerful and unstoppable serves, which are the perfect implementation of his personal motto and the quote.
If you’re going to serve, serve until it breaks!
Seen literally every time he serves and makes his opponents stare in awe.
The last meaning that we are going to derive from the manga translation is a bit more specific than the other two, since the quote is a little altered from the anime translation.
In manga chapter 52 the quote is translated as, “If you’re going to attack, then keep it up until your opponent breaks.”
Hit is replaced by attack here which shows the quote is really meant literal and focuses on volleyball here.
The latter part of the sentence is almost completely different.
Keep it up means to stay and go through with your attack, emphasizing consistency and patience. Your Opponent which was it in the former anime translation, clearly talks about the people on the other side of the court.
So Oikawa literally says that if you’re going to attack make sure to go through with it and don’t leave your opponent a chance, causing him to suffer from several losses until the opponent breaks.
Breaking here could mean physical exhaustion or mental stability, the latter being about to give up or feeling dejected and doubt your own skills.
The best implementation in the manga for the last meaning is the case where Oikawa tried to break Tanaka’s spirit by purposely targeting his serves and making him lose points on Karasuno’s side.
He waited for him to break under the immense pressure of not being able to receive the balls and being targeted on top.
Concluding, whatever meaning you may choose for yourself the outcome all goes into the same direction: if you are going to do something, do it with all you have!