“Direct Sunlight”


「直射日光」 (Chokusha Nikkou)

Very Little Volleyball Action, Still Awesome:

It’s Saturday again! I thought this past week would drag on, but it only feels like yesterday that Haikyuu!! came back and the clouds parted and the sun came out to shine. Saturday will now be known as Haikyuuday (for me at least). And as expected, this one was just as great as last week’s, though it couldn’t have been more different.

Episodes like this prove that even though Haikyuu!! excels when you’re head deep in the well-choreographed and wonderfully animated matches, it’s still just as enjoyable when you’re taken off the court. The reason why is simple: the characters. I’ll probably say the same thing every now and then, but I think it’s worth repeating that nearly every character in Haikyuu!! is great fun. They’ve all got their quirks that make them stand out, and having an episode with almost zero volleyball action proves that these characters are enough to make any episode and an enjoyable experience.

Four Bakas & Studying for Exams:

I’d say at least 80% of this episode was comedy – ridiculously funny reaction shots from almost every member of the castand it’s all good fun. After last week’s cliffhanger the four bakas of Karasuno (Kageyama, Hinata, Noya, Tanaka) have to study their butts off if they’re to make it to the Tokyo training camp. Kageyama may seem like the intellectual type, but when you think about it it’d make sense that all that boy thinks about is volleyball (and by extension: setting signals). Tanaka and Noya are still the hilarious senpai duo, and seeing Tanaka’s college age sister, Tanaka Saeko, make her appearance was a real treat. She’s a welcomed addition to the cast, and every bit goofy and headstrong as her younger brother. Also, it may just be me but I suspect Noya has a thing for her, whether it be admiration or love, he couldn’t stop blushing from the moment she entered Tanaka’s room, could he?

Hinata and Kageyama asking (begging) Tsukishima to tutor them was hilarious and oh so satisfying. His “What? No.” reaction was everything you’d expect, but you just can’t help but love his arrogance (or at least I can’t). It’s always nice to see him interact with the other members of the team, so their moments together in this episode were among my favourites – unfortunately, due to the appearance of another new character, everything else was shadowed in comparison.

The New Manager – Enter Yachi!:

Yachi! Ah, I’ve been waiting for the moment all year – to finally see Yachi Hitoka (Morohoshi Sumire) animated! Ever since her introduction in the manga a few years back, I’ve been anticipating this moment. For the whole second half of the episode I was grinning uncontrollably, laughing and loving the cuteness and hilarity that is Yachi. Last week I said one my favourite characters (scratch that she is my favourite of the whole damn series – this episode has cemented that!) would be introduced this week, and if you haven’t guessed… it’s Yachi! She’s such a brilliant character that I don’t quite know whether to begin.

First off there’s how funny she is. The most recurring gag being her various screams of horror when encountering the volleyball boys who knew these idiots could be so terrifying? This episode saw her getting flustered, tumbling over her words, and basically serving as the female Hinata. Why settle for one bundle of joy protagonist when you can have two? Saying that, I do think there’s more to Yachi than her being a gender swapped version of Hinata, though I can see why you might think that from this episode.

Her adoration for Shimizu is also charming and sweet, and adds another layer to her character. Her being starstruck by this sexy, gorgeous, beautiful third year may be played for laughs, but I seriously do think Yachi swings for her own team (though Yachi and Hinata do make for a cute pairing as well) and every scene she has with Shimizu this episode makes that all the more obvious. Other than that, Yachi is basically just sunshine embodied in a person. She’s a bundle of joy, and seeing her overreacting to the silliest interactions never fails to put a smile on her face.

Other than comedy (and potential romance – let the debate begin: Hinata/Yachi or Shimizu/Yachi?), Yachi proved that she’s already a worthy member of the team by helping Hinata and Kageyama get through their exam troubles. She’s in one of the advanced classes and her notes are all colour coded and well-organised, the reason being because her mother works in graphic design and her skills have rubbed off on her. These little moments are the foundation for her behind-the-scenes family life and her own personal character arc, along with her experiencing Hinata’s volleyball passion face-to-face. She’s getting wrapped up in the world of volleyball, and I suspect just like us, she’s not going to be able to escape it until the final curtain is drawn.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Yachi is here! I’m over the moon. This episode had very little sports action, but it wasn’t any less enjoyable than last week’s. Whilst Karasuno’s new trainee manager’s introduction is everything the series needed (it just didn’t know it yet), it serves as another reminder of the inevitable departure of the third years. Thankfully, we’ve still a training camp and another tournament to get through before that… that’s is if our four fools can actually pass their exams.

Full-length images: 14, 19.

 

Preview

12 Comments

    1. Tsukki may go back up there in a few episodes times… that’s all I’ll say. I’ve been waiting to see Yachi in the anime, so as of this episode she’s definitely up there. (Tsukki/Hinata/Yachi are still my fav trio though, don’t worry~).

      Samu
  1. I agree with you about the characters Samu. Watchers identify themselves with the character, not with the story. So even if the story has its issues, if the characters are compelling and not 100% cliches, you can watch it nonetheless. (That is why Code Geass was awesome, eventhough people are bashing it for the plot)

    Pharaoman
    1. I actually haven’t watched Code Geass (which is quite bad, isn’t it?) but the characters of HQ!! are one of its many strengths, so having an episode like this that just lets them run loose is just as good as those amazingly intense matches.

      Samu

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