Training Camp, Day 4 Onwards:
After focusing on Tsukishima these past few episodes, we seamlessly transition back to our main characters, who still aren’t talking on talking terms. Interestingly enough, some parts of this episode are from Yachi’s point of view, as if she’s writing home to her mother, updating her on their week-long training camp. It’s funny to think that Yachi was only introduced in this season, and hasn’t been around the entire time. Can you remember a time when Yachi wasn’t around, being cute as white chocolate buttons? She never fails to make me smile (or laugh), and her reaction faces never get old. But more importantly, she’s grown used to the Karasuno boys, knows their habits and quirks, and is able to tell when they’re improving.
However, there’s still trouble in paradise when it comes to Hinata and Kageyama, who are still shouting at one another when things don’t work as they’d like (though technically, it’s Hinata who does the shouting this time). What this does is show just much Kageyama has developed since their first scuffle: instead of getting aggressive in the moment, he steps back, and goes off to practice by himself for a few days. He can’t quite get the knack for his new setting technique, but he’s persistent (with the help of Yachi’s throws) and finally manages to visualise the different distances where Hinata could be. We don’t see it in action just yet, but it’s nice to see that Kageyama admits that he was the one unprepared for their combo, and he took it upon himself to train even harder. He’s grown so much!
Back to Hinata:
Aside from Kageyama’s nightly tosses, it’s Hinata who gets most of the spotlight once again. While everyone else is training their techniques, Hinata feels he’s the only one who hasn’t grown, which leads him into joining Tsukki’s new training group, with Levi tagging along as well. All six of these characters are awesome, and each has their distinct traits and ways of playing. It’s nice to see the camaraderie between them – as Tsukki questions – despite them being fated rivals, should they ever face of against one another. Of course, these three will end up together at some point; it may not be for a while, but these hilarious and adrenaline-pumping moments will make their eventual reunion on the court feel even more epic when it comes around.
As for the time being, I’m fine with them acting like goofballs and trying to figure out how to best one another. It may have been a short match they played, but I wouldn’t have minded an entire episode dedicated to it. Hinata, Bokuto, and Akaashi were a brilliant team (even if they had the height disadvantage), and Bokuto proved why he’s a fan favourite despite only being introduced a few episodes prior. There’s something about him that gets you hyped up, but he’s enough of an idiot that you can’t help but laugh at his antics from time to time. Haikyuu!! always get that perfect balance with its characters; even the more stoic players like Tsukishima or Kageyama get their moments of goofiness – it’s that spot-on portrayal of the silliness of teenage boys that Haikyuu!! gets right every single time.
An Abundance of Character Development!:
Although Hinata and Kageyama had their time to develop some more, we also got a reminder of how far everyone has come in this training camp arc. It’s gone on for a while, but I loved every minute of it. Sure, it would be nice to get to the actual matches, but it’s rewarding to put this time aside to develop the Karasuno boys, and learn more about them as they strive to improve.
Of course, Tsukishima has got the most growth since we started this arc, after learning his full backstory, to the point where – as I said last week – he feels like the most fully realised and realistic character of the bunch. Yamaguchi is practicing his floating serves, and got his “cool” moment when it comes to screaming in Tsukki’s face. Noya is managing to become a more versatile libero, Asahi has been inspired by the first-years to take fully embrace his role as ace while he can, and everyone else has had their moments on the court (whether good or bad). It’s no surprise that Karasuno lost nearly every one of their matches in this training camp (3 wins to 61 losses) compared to the dominating Fukurodani (51 wins to 14 losses); but over the past few weeks the scores have been getting closer, as Karasuno have embraced their penalties and improved in spite of their defeats. They’ve certainly developed as a team, but not so much that it feels unrealistic; they still got overwhelmed by most of the others, but this has allowed them all to reflect on where they stand right now, and how they can become even better going forward.
Overview – What’s Next?:
By the looks of it, it appears there’s only one episode of this training camp left. We’re bound to focus on the final match between Karasuno and Fukurodani before they enjoy their well-deserved barbecue. If this one scene is anything to by, then we be treated to some Shokugeki no Soma levels of deliciousness. All in all, this was a steadily paced episode that managed to bring the focus back to our main characters, while proving that everyone on the team has had the opportunity to evolve before they dive head first into the prelims for final tournament of the year.
Full-length images: 05.