OP2: 「Ah Yeah!!」 by スキマスイッチ (Sukima Switch)
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It’s always easy to get fired up about an underdog team that enters a tournament and surprises everyone with how much they’ve improved, but Haikyuu seems to go about that in the perfect way, striking all the right “teenage youth” chords within me. It’s almost inexplicable in a sense, but when I’m watching it, I know it’s doing it right. Just take this episode for example; it was only about the the build-up towards the inter-high preliminaries and a minor glimpse of Karasuno’s first match against Tokonami, yet it was difficult to contain the excitement when Hinata shocked the crowd–both players and spectators alike–with his 51 hit down the middle. Karasuno’s “dark ages” have come to pass and their revival is in full swing–so much so that even Oikawa and the rest of Aoba Jousai couldn’t help but feel excited for them. The only thing that everyone could do was look in awe at Hinata and Kageyama’s absolutely ridiculous and unrealistic yet anime-appropriate awesome play–the best reaction of which came from Datekou’s star middle, Aone Takanobu (Matsukawa Hiroki), a man of few words when he keys on other teams’ ace hitter but whose facial expression spoke volumes at the end.
It probably goes without saying that Hinata’s blind quick will play an integral part in Karasuno’s next match against Datekou, especially when there’s little doubt that they will move on to the second round after beating Tokonami, but I fully expect that play to reach its limits against the infamous “Datekou Iron Wall” before long. Simply put, their match wouldn’t be very interesting from an “anime” perspective if everything just went according to plan, so it’s only natural to anticipate hurdles that they need to overcome as their inevitable match goes on. As for how to address it, I presume it’ll entail Hinata and Kageyama finally connecting on a “normal” open-eyed quick hit where our future “Little Giant” can see the block and hit around it, while still utilizing him as the ultimate fake to open up hitting lanes for Asahi, Daichi, and Ryuunosuke (which is one of the primarily roles of a middle hitter). At this point, it’s their most probable progression as a team, given both recent developments in Karasuno’s practice match against Nekoma and the backstory where Asahi needs to overcome his Datekou Wall inner demons. As for how it’ll actually play out, that’s where most of my personal anticipation lies. The rest of my anticipation is with seeing how I suspect things will play out and with the possibility that I could be completely wrong and the series surprises me with a radically different development–both of which are fun and entertaining in their own way.
Speculation-aside, I thoroughly enjoyed how this episode highlighted not only the nervousness that players tend to feel before a big tournament and the adrenaline-rushing excitement that they do once they get into it, but also the high school wish of all athletes to be perceived as superstars and have pretty girls flocking around them outside the stadium (lol). Kudos to Oikawa for that, whom I find it almost impossible to perceive as the big bad “Great King” that Kageyama has to overcome simply because of his hilarious playboy ways. Watching him get pulled back down to Earth by Aoba Jousai’s ace hitter Iwaizumi Hajime (Yoshino Hiroyuki) provides me with almost as much amusement as watching Daichi and Sugawara shoot down all of Asahi’s attempts to sound cool and melodramatic. Both comedic acts are great material and I can’t get enough of either of them, which only reiterates how Haikyuu’s depiction of character interactions is second to none.
Looking ahead, I’m actually quite curious to see how Daichi and Ikejiri’s post-game conversation will go. I’m guessing it will only be a quick congrats from Ikejiri, but when there’s been as much focus on their middle school subplot as there has been, I imagine that they’ll wrap it up meaningfully. Other than that, it looks like Yui and the rest of Karasuno’s girl’s team will get some focus as well. Mmm, sporty and athletic girls are always a plus in my book.
Note: As I mentioned in my last post, “Ah Yeah!!” by Sukima Switch is actually the second opening theme, which we see here with a new sequence. The new ending theme on the other hand is “LEO” by tacica and features a sequence all about Kageyama. A big plus for his female fans I suppose.
ED3: 「LEO」 by tacica
Watch the 3rd ED!: Streaming ▼