Stability vs Progress:
It was brought up at the end of last week’s episode that now would be the time for Hinata to evolve as a player. His partnership with Kageyama has mostly been turbulent, but they’ve managed to create a reliable combo that’s earned them plenty of points in all their matches. Still, is it enough? As the Nekoma coach pointed out, Hinata wants more – like Lev, he wants to be the ace. Throughout the first season you could feel that Hinata was not the strongest player on the team; some may argue that he’s getting there, but I’d have to disagree. Of course, there’s his height working against him, but he’s never been treated as the sole reason for their victories. The team has players that specialise in different roles and are able to work together against whoever they’re facing. Sometimes Hinata’s spikes blow people out the water, but not all the time; sometimes Asahi or Tanaka or Tsukki or Noya have to step forward to do what Hinata can’t. It’s a nice balance, but from what we see this episode, it may not be what Hinata wants.
I find it interesting that Hinata’s attempt to take the ball from Asahi wasn’t frowned upon by Nekoma’s coach. If anything, he wants Hinata to evolve, as we all should. But still, the time and the place is questionable. I wouldn’t say what he did was selfish, because he clearly was just caught up in the moment and before he knew it he was slammed to the ground by his giant ace. He apologised and didn’t make much of a fuss afterwards, yet as is pointed out, the team was left reeling from what happened. Hinata wants to be Karasuno’s ace, and they all know it. Asahi sums it up perfectly when he thinks that Hinata is about to consume him and his role. On one hand it’s a good thing because seeing Hinata develop and advance towards his goal is rewarding to watch, but the whole situation feels off and the drama that follows makes perfect sense given how it’s all happening.
At the end of the day, it’s a question of stability vs progress. The end-game should of course be progress, otherwise the team is going to reach a ceiling and not be able to defeat teams stronger than them (as is happening with the current training camp), but at the same time, what Hinata wants to improve on isn’t something so easy. He’s always struggled with keeping his eyes open during his spikes, so I can see why the team was opposed to him trying out new things on the day. Still, you can’t help but feel for Hinata. He puts of a brave, happy face, but you can tell he’s disappointed with himself now that he knows he doesn’t stand a chance against Lev, Kenma, and all the other star players.
Hinata vs Kageyama:
It turns out there’s trouble in paradise with our prodigy duo. It’s good to have an episode that focuses almost entirely on our two main characters (and Yachi, who I’d argue deserves the title of third main character). Hinata and Kageyama have always had a prickly relationship, but their fight this week took that to a whole other level. It was bound to happen, but it’s surprising how aggressive and heated it became. Yachi was left standing in the sidelines as they charged at one another, flipped each other over, grabbed each other’s faces, and screamed about how what they wanted to do was the better option.
I can see both sides of their argument. Hinata obviously proritises his own ability and evolution above everything else. After the first training camp he’s come out realising he needs to adapt if he’s to make it in the big leagues. He wants to change his approach to spiking, even if he’s currently awful at it. But he’s desperate to improve, and you can tell he’s determined enough to stick with it. On the other hand, Kageyama believes they should focus on improving what they already know rather than starting from scratch on techniques that may never work out. He’s not the most patient setter in the world, so it only takes a few failed attempts before he goes off on one. They’re both convinced that their ways are better, and that’s how it all kicks off. It was wonderfully animated, the music was great, and it really felt like a moment. Yet it’s a sad thing in the end as you see both Yachi and Hinata shedding tears over the ordeal.
Ah, character development. It always comes at a cost.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Another impressive episode, this time focusing mainly on Hinata and Kageyama. They’re not peas in a pod quite yet – will they ever be? – but we can only hope they get through this and come out stronger because of it. I do like that there’s no simple answer to all of this. Everyone will have to find their own solutions and come together by the end of it. These Haikyuu!! training arcs are so great because they force the characters to figure out who they are as a player and what they can do to improve before we get into the thick of the intense tournament matches. Right now we’re focusing on Hinata and Kageyama, but we’re bound to see other members of Karasuno go through similar developments in order to keep up with the competition.
Full-length images: 18.