The Cogs are Turning:
The cogs are slotting into place, and it feels so good to see the Karasuno boys proving their worth on the court. It may have taken ten episodes, but we’re just now getting our first ‘real’ match of the season. I’ve seen some comments about how people were missing the intense and immersive volleyball games, so I expect this was episode was just what they wanted. Although I think this episode wouldn’t have been as good as it was if weren’t for the training arc before it. Nearly every character has got the spotlight at some point, and this match against Fukurodani was the opportunity to put all their accumulated skills to the test.
There were plenty of fist-pumping moments of hype scattered throughout the episode, whether it be Noya nearly acing his libero toss, or Tsukki attempting to make some plays (before getting blocked), or Tanaka getting his first major spike in a while. I appreciate that Haikyuu!! never makes it easy for the Karasuno boys; there are plenty of other sport series (especially Weekly Shonen Jump ones) where victory comes easy, but as we’ve seen with their grand total of three wins during the entire training camp, they’ve still got some growing to do, especially against a powerhouse team. That being said, the one ‘wow’ moment of this episode had to be Kageyama and Hinata’s new technique in action. After much build up and failed attempts, they finally nailed it, and it felt awesome. The moment when Hinata’s whisper struck Kageyama as he considered shying away was one to give you goosebumps.
There’s immense satisfaction from seeing Hinata land his spike after so many episodes of him struggling and finding to difficult to evolve. And it’s nice to see our main duo returning to their usual selves; this time, however, Hinata’s excessive compliments made for a hilarious turn, as Kageyama clearly didn’t know how to take them. I suppose Kageyama being as awkward as ever goes to show that some things never change.
Not Just Karasuno Gets to Shine:
As wonderful as it was to see everyone put their newly acquired skills to the test, it was also a treat to see characters from the opposing teams getting their own little moments. Bokuto was arguably the star of the show this week, proving yet again why he’s so loveable. As is said, he’s the type of player that you can’t help but root for, even if he’s on the opposing side. Although capable of landing some deadly spikes and bursting through Karasuno’s defence, there’s nothing malicious or dishonest about him. He’s an open book, whether he’s screaming about how awesome he is, or going into his ‘emo mode‘ when he loses his mojo. Clearly, his teammates are used to it by now, but I can’t imagine we, the audience, will never tire of his fluctuating personality.
However, I think my favourite moment of the episode might be the exchange between Kuroo and Kenma. I’ve always enjoyed them as a pair, if only because of how remarkably different they are from each other. I imagine them as the school bully befriending the nerdy kid in the back of the class, although Kuroo’s appearance is the only intimidating thing about him; he’s yet another goofball, like everyone else in this series. I’d argue that these two are the closest friends of the entire cast, as Kuroo brings up Kenma’s change in expression whenever he watches Hinata play, and then moments later when they have their “You do.” “I don’t.” “You do.” “I don’t.” made even better when they walk off-screen and Kuroo says “You do.” one last time. It’s the little moments like that that go a long way to show how tight these characters are, and why it’s so fun to watch them on-screen, whether on the court or off it.
Overview – What’s Next?:
So how would I describe this episode? Quintessential Haikyuu!! If you were to take the whole series and squeeze it into one action-packed episode, this would be it. It’s all epic spikes, hilariously likeable characters, typical Haikyuu!! silly faces, and the promise of more hype yet to come. It’s rare for a series to have so many loveable characters, but that’s exactly the case here. We may not exactly want to see Bokuto and Fukurodani lose, but there would be some satisfaction if Karasuno do pull this out of the bag in the last few minutes. Either way, this is our first proper match of the season, and there’s many more to come after it. Get hyped!