Bokuto the Simpleton:
This training camp arc has had plenty of fantastic moments, developing many of our characters and shining a light on why they all play volleyball in the first place, but if there’s one thing I think many are grateful for with this arc, it would be the introduction of Bokuto. He’s such a contagious, adorable, hilarious simpleton, and you can’t help but smile whenever he does anything. His interactions with Tsukki and Hinata have been brilliant, but the aftermath of his “emo mode” is perhaps the funniest he’s ever been. I couldn’t help but laugh whenever Fukurodani went on with the game while Bokuto made this face, watching and feeling sorry for himself. What’s even better is the fact that his teammates are so used to this that they time his return to the game perfectly, and know when to encourage him, like he’s a child or a puppy (or an owl). Last week I spoke of the closeness between Kuroo and Kenma in their short scene, but this week it’s evident how much Akaashi and the other players enjoy having Bokuto on their team, even if it comes with its emotional highs and lows.
It only took a few minutes before Fukurodani seals the deal and spike their way to victory. Part of me hates seeing Karasuno lose, but I’m glad that Haikyuu!! sticks with it what it does best, and shows that predictable victory isn’t all it’s meant out to be. Yet, winning and losing isn’t everything. Karasuno have lost many, many more matches in this training camp than they’ve won, but it’s clear how far they’ve come since they arrived a week ago. The aftermath of the game is rather interesting as well, as Asahi recognises his failures and is encouraged for it, and Suga wants to try hitting the ball. Suga is one of the most popular characters of the series (he came 3rd in the first popularity poll, and 2nd in the second), yet he doesn’t do much, does he? I suppose it goes back to how kind and likeable he is, watching from the sidelines as his final year flashes by. He’s one character that deserves more screentime and development, because at least we know his time (along with Suwamura, Asahi, and Kiyoko) is running out.
A Wonderful, Glorious, Delicious Barbecue:
With the match over, it’s time for the promised barbecue! And, oh boy, what a barbecue it was. I loved everything about it – and I’m not just talking about the food. Haikyuu!!’s strong point, for me, has always been its characters. I like to think that you can pick any two at random, throw them in a scene together, and you could watch them do their thing for a solid 10 minutes without getting bored, and that’s just what we got this episode. While this was a celebration of the teams’ efforts throughout the camp, this felt more like a celebration of Haikyuu!! Near every single character got a moment to show off their personality, bounce off one another, making me smile from start to finish.
Some highlights would have to be: Fukurodani’s first year manager gobbling up a riceball and making an adorably odd face; Noya, Tanaka, and Yamamoto doing their circle dance, making the most hilarious faces whenever anyone tries to get close their goddess; Hinata being an energetic fanboy around Bokuto and an eager beaver when paired with Lev; Kenma playing on his phone throughout the whole thing, perfectly fitting to his character; and Yachi’s seriously hilarious delusions when she was surrounded by an army of volleyball giants (or titans). Attack on Yachi, I’m going to call it. Oh my god, I love this girl so, so much. Everything she does or says makes me howl with laughter. When she blurted out, “It tastes like life,” after eating a charred piece of meat, I had to pause to regain my composure. Yachi, I love you. Keep being you.
I loved everything about this barbecue, and it really it all comes down to one thing: no series captures the silliness of teenage boys (and girls) quite like Haikyuu!! Whether on or off the court, it’s impossible not to love all of these goofballs. It’s great to see friends and rivals gathering together, laughing, eating, joking away, and having fun. It’s fun to watch them have fun, and that’s why I love this series!
Miyagi Prefecture Prelims Begin!:
After all that joy and celebration, we’re now heading for the main action that we’ve all been anticipating. We got a mention of the top 3 aces in all of Japan, which is a hint into the future, should Karasuno ever get to a national level. But for the time being, they’ve got the prefectural prelims to focus on. The last part of this episode showed everybody gearing up for the games, as Yamaguchi practices his float serve, and Hinata and Kageyama go back to their famous old coach to show him how far they’d come. But the most striking scene of all would have to be the reunion of the Kei brothers.
It’s no mistake that I love Tsukki, especially after his development this season, but in truth, this is just the beginning of his character arc. His interactions with his brother were both awkward yet completely natural; I totally buy that they’re brothers who rarely speak after what happened, but that smile Tsukishima gave is perhaps the most telling moment of all; he might now seek out that “moment” that Bokuto mentioned, and that his brother felt in Junior High, so that he can understand why everyone around him loves volleyball so much.
We also got a glimpse of Karasuno’s rivals in this upcoming matches. We see familiar faces, like Ushijima training hard, the boys of Aobajosei commenting on something going on with Oikawa, Aone being the ever silent giant to keep his teammates from fighting, and a few new faces, including a cocky boy with a tongue piercing and an dyed undercut. We also get a brief mention of a certain player from Kakugawa High that’s bound to play an important part in the upcoming games. There’s only one crux to all of this: the episode ends far too quickly, and we now have to wait another week before the matches begin…
Overview – What’s Next?:
We’re almost half way through the second season, and the training is all complete. The Karasuno boys have done everything they can to get the cogs turning, and they’ve now got a real chance at progressing to nationals. They’ve got plenty of games ahead of them if they wish to make their final tournament count, but I don’t think any of us will be complaining about that. It’s all intense volleyball action from here on out, so buckle up!
Full-length images: 14.